nokia lumia 800, windows phone 7

In praise of older smartphones – unlike Skype, Gotya continues to support Windows Phone 7

Microsoft recently announced that Windows Phone 7 users will no longer be able to use Skype  “within the next few weeks”.  Not just discontinuing updates, bug fixes, or support, but terminating use altogether – not allowing sign-ins from Windows Phone 7 devices.

According to data from AdDuplex published on WMPoweruser, there are still 8-10 million active Windows Phone 7 users out there.

In contrast to the Skype decision, we here at Gotya are all about supporting older smartphones by enabling consumers to turn them into connected motion detection cameras for a near-free, portable DIY security and surveillance system.

Gotya supports and will continue to support Windows Phone 7. If you’re a WP7 user or  if you have upgraded to WP 8/8.1 and have your old WP7 device (like a Lumia 800, the first-ever WP7 Nokia Lumia from November, 2011)  lying around doing nothing, turn it into a near-free motion detection camera with remote snapshots and alerts with Gotya. And, you can use your current WP8/8.1 device as a remote control for your Gotya WP7 motion detection camera!

WP7 users and device owners, we got your back.

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lumia 900 windows phone

7 Things You Can Do With Your Old Smartphone

Consumers have several options for what to do with their old phone when they upgrade to a new one,  something that is happening more often than ever with programs like T-Mobile JUMP!  that encourages customers to upgrade their smartphone as often as every six months with a credit for up to half of the old phone’s original cost.  The other big mobile operators in the U.S. have similar programs having followed T-Mobile’s lead.

  1. Sell it to an end user consumer on EbaySwappa, or other used phone websites/marketplaces. If your phone is still in good condition,  fully functional with a clean ESN and ready for activation you can get a decent price. For a Nokia Lumia 900, if your phone meets all their selling criteria, the avg selling price on Swappa for June is listed at $55. If your phone is damaged or broken, you can try and salvage something by selling it on the Swappa Boneyard.
  2. Sell it to a used phone dealer/business. Trade it in at a mobile operator store or operator website  for a promotion card good for buying more stuff from the operator,  or get a credit to your mobile phone bill. Or sell it to Gazelle. You’re going to get a lot less money this way. See the screenshots below.
  3. Pass it on to a (junior) family member
  4. Destroy  it with a hammer or back over it with a car (or whatever your preferred demolition method) so that it’s unusable/won’t power on, and then take it to an electronics recycler. It’s better to destroy it before recycling to ensure that your personal data on the device won’t fall into the wrong hands.
  5. Throw it in the trash. But that wouldn’t be very environmentally friendly now would it.
  6. Put it in a drawer and forget about it.
  7. Extend its useful life with a utility/tools type app, such as a security camera, music player, or a flashlight.

With options 1-2 there is the risk of not properly wiping your phone (specifically, doing a factory reset which you would think would be enough but isn’t – on Android devices, you also need to turn on encryption) and thus leaving your data (pictures, emails, text messages, address book, and so on) vulnerable to hacking.  With option 2. there is also the question of how much money you’ll get. In the case of the Lumia 900 according to the AT&T Device Trade-In Appraisal tool, the absolute most it’s worth in good/normal use condition is $10 in the form of store or website credit. At Verizon, their maximum price is $11.

used smartphone, lumia 900

Used Lumia 900 maximum price AT&T will pay

At Gazelle, it’s worth $0 with a cracked screen (as shown in the featured image at the top of this blog post). On the plus side, they do provide a link to recycling resources.

Lumia, Windows Phone, motion detection camera

Lumia 900 w/cracked screen worth nothing to Gazelle

 

If you’re not comfortable with the data vulnerability issue or can’t get the price you want via 1. or 2. and don’t have a suitable family member to give your old phone to, option 7. is not a bad one. Certainly better than 4., 5., or  6., one would think.  Especially if it’s got a cracked screen, a not uncommon ailment of used phones.

See the cracked-screen Lumia 900 reborn as a Gotya security camera! Even though the screen is cracked, it functions perfectly well as a motion detection camera.

motion detection camera, lumia 900, windows phone

Lumia 900 w/cracked screen gets new lease on life as a motion detection camera

If you’ve recently upgraded your phone, let us know in the comments what you’ve done or plan to do with your old one.

Gotya reviewed on WPCentral

We’re fortunate enough today to have the good folks at Windows Phone Central do a thorough hands-on review of Gotya for Windows Phone.

We’ve studied the review and appreciate the positives and the negatives as it will help us improve the Gotya app and Cloud Service.

We also really like the cool pic of the annoying leaping squirrel that was taken by Gotya running on a Lumia 520.

Thanks to George Ponder at WPCentral for the well-written review.

Get Your Own Barking Watchdog While You’re Away On Vacation

Summer vacation season is in full swing and lots of people will be away from their homes at their favorite vacation spots. Here in the U.S. this 4th of July weekend, the AAA estimates more than 41 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more.

People away from their homes on vacation can get peace of mind by using a home monitoring/surveillance system app on the smartphones and tablets they have with them  to see what’s happening at their homes, get photo or video records of movement, and get alerts when motion is detected so they can respond accordingly.

Gotya is a low-cost way to monitor your house or apartment while you’re away enjoying your vacation and to automatically take pictures of moving objects. Set up Gotya cameras at the points of entry or approach to your home – pathways, doorways, gates, and windows  – and if anything moves in those areas,  Gotya will automatically take pictures and send you email, picture, and sound alerts so you always know what’s going on.

You can set your Gotya camera to play an alert sound as a warning to trespassers or potential  intruders that they’re being watched. Crank up the volume on your device to full blast or even hook it up to external speakers to blast the Gotya warning sound whenever they move to make them think twice! This is the next best thing to having a barking watchdog dog at your place while you’re away!

motion detection camera

Turn on alert sound to warn potential intruders

 

In addition to the Gotya alert sound, you can also fire the camera’s flash as a visual warning to potential intruders. When something moves, Gotya fires the camera’s flash, blasts the alert sound,  takes a picture, and sends you an alert. With Gotya taking multiple pictures per second, the intruder will see a series of flashes and hear a repeating alarm sound.  With today’s bright LED and super bright Xenon flash on devices like the Nokia Lumia, it’s sure to catch the interloper’s eye, make them nervous, and think seriously about leaving, fast.  It’s like having a Cujo-like dog with flashing eyes watching your home while you’re away!

motion detection camera

Turn on Flash to fire as a warning when motion is detected

 

motion detection camera

Lumia 822 Gotya camera watching front pathway with Flash set to on

 

motion detection camera

This is what it looks like to somebody moving in front of the camera

 

Let us know in the comments how you’re using Gotya to watch your home while you’re away on vacation. Have a good one!

Featured image courtesy of http://blog.ricardoarturocabral.com/

high frame rate, motion detection

High Frame Rate (fps) Motion Detection and Picture Capture

While video surveillance/security/monitoring apps capture video at 30 frames per second (fps), Gotya photo surveillance can capture up to 15 fps when set to high-speed motion detection. This means that you will not miss anything and be able to capture a detailed record of a motion triggered event, while realizing the benefits of photo survellance namely low upstream bandwidth usage, ability to operate on slower speed mobile data networks (2.5/3G) or slower WiFi, if high-speed WiFi is not available or is too costly, and capturing only the frames that contain motion.

And as mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) track Moore’s Law and continuously get faster CPUs, more RAM, and faster network chips,  Gotya leverages that into ever faster picture capture frame rates – 15 fps may not be the maximum.

To illustrate Gotya in high-speed (high frame rate / fps)  motion detection mode, we used a Nokia Lumia 820 Windows Phone 8 which is a 1 year and 8 months old device (began shipping in September 2012). This device has a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 CPU (Dual-core 1.5 GHz ) and 1024 MB RAM. One of Gotya’s core benefits is enabling consumers to use their old smartphones and tablets as motion detection cameras.  A 20-month old device is representative of a real world use case, where smartphones are typically updated after 18-24 months (and often times even  faster with upgrade programs like T-Mobile JUMP).

To set Gotya for high-speed motion detection, go into Camera->Advanced Settings and set Object motion all the way to fast (20) as shown below.

motion detection speed

Object motion set to 20 (fast)

Then aim and calibrate the Gotya motion detection camera as usual – the setup for this example is shown below. The important thing to note about calibration and how it affects motion detection / frame capture speed is that the smaller the active window, the faster the motion detection gets. In this example, we’ve set the active window to about 80% of the camera viewfinder to cover the path to detect anyone walking on it and to ignore motion outside of the active window. If the active window was say 50%, motion detection speed would increase proportionally.

motion detection camera calibration

Active windows size (orange frame) ~ 80% of viewfinder

The GIF  below shows 32 frames captured in 4 seconds by Gotya with the above settings.  Included below the GIF are the first and last picture in the sequence from the Gotya Web Gallery, with timestamp in the top left corner. The first timestamp is 11:16:38 and the last timestamp is 11:16:42 = total of 4 seconds.

This means Gotya running in fast motion detection mode on a 20-month old device captured 8 frames/second.

motion detection app, fps, photo surveillance app

32 frames captured in 4 seconds on an 20-month old smartphone (Lumia 820)

 

motion detection app

Frame 1 of 32

motion detection camera app

Frame 32 of 32

 

In a future post when Gotya for Android is released (in the coming weeks), we’ll compare the frame rate capture of the 18-month old Lumia 820 to a Google-Asus Nexus 7 (2013) Android tablet which is 10 months old as of the date of this post, and has a quad-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU and 2GB RAM. After that we’ll benchmark a  a current device that started shipping in 2014. This will illustrate the effect of Moore’s law on Gotya’s maximum frame rate capture and we expect to be approaching or exceeding 15 fps as claimed at the top of this post.

(Featured Image courtesy of www.empirecinemas.co.uk )

symbian

Why 186M Symbian smartphones make perfect low cost photo surveillance cameras

One of the main reasons we developed Gotya was to enable people all around the world, even where Internet access is expensive and/or slow,  to use their old unused smartphones as low-cost and low-bandwidth security/surveillance cameras.

In a region such as North America with high disposable income and affordable and ubiquitous high-speed Internet access, video surveillance apps with their expensive video cameras and constant high bandwidth upstream usage (typically on a user’s home WiFi) are popular because people can afford it there. This is not necessarily the case in emerging markets such as BRIIC (Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China) and it’s for those markets that Gotya was designed for. These markets were always strong Symbian markets, until Symbian was “Osborned” (had it’s end of life announced in advance)  in February 2011, when Nokia announced their intention to switch to Windows Phone. Nokia shipped the last Symbian device (the 808 Purview)  in mid-2012.

When we started developing Gotya in early 2013, we knew there were “lots” of Symbian devices that could be used as Gotya cameras – both still in active use and “retired” (no longer used).  Let’s take a look at exactly how many “lots” is.

First of all, Gotya runs on Symbian touch devices – S60 5.0 (aka S50 5th Edition) and Symbian^3 to be precise. The first of these devices was the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic device released in Q4 2008.

So if we take a look at Symbian shipments from 2009-2012 (starting with the first full quarter when Symbian touch devices were available and ending when Symbian device shipments were trending toward zero (2M in Q412, down from 18M in Q411 and 31M in Q410), according to Canalys Symbian device shipments are as follows:

2009 – 81M

2010 – 112M

2011 – 80M

2012 – 23M

By Q412, Nokia Lumia Windows Phone sales had surpassed Symbian (4M vs 2M) and Symbian sales were effectively trending toward zero / rounding error. (In Q113, Symbian sales fell to 0.5M).

We also know from Canalys that in 2009, 27% of Symbian sales were touch. Assuming that in 2010 that had increased to 60%,  by 2011 80% and by 2012 100%, this means that the total number of Symbian touch devices sold by Nokia between 2009 and 2012 is 22M + 67M + 64M +23M = 186 million Symbian touch devices.

Even the oldest of the Symbian touch devices (the 5-year old 5800) has a 3MP camera that can capture 1 VGA picture per second, perfectly useful as a motion detection and photo surveillance camera. The best selling Symbian^3 device, the N8 released in Q410 (over 3 years old now), has an 8MP camera and much faster processor than the 5800 and can capture 2-3 VGA pictures per second.

If  you’re one of those 186M Symbian touch device owners  and you’ve got your device sitting in a drawer gathering dust, Gotya is a great way to extend the useful life of those devices by turning them into low cost photo surveillance, motion detection, and security cameras. You can download Gotya and Gotya Cloud for Symbian touch devices from the Nokia Store. Gotya cameras running on Symbian touch devices can be remote controlled from the Web and from the Gotya for Windows Phone app.