“Weird” doesn’t really do justice to Samsung’s latest extension of its popular Galaxy range. “Bonkers” is probably a better fit. Guy Daniels reports.
Fitting a camera to a mobile phone was a genius idea. Whether it was the Swedes or Japanese who came up with it first is open to debate, but it paved the way for the ubiquitous smartphones of today. So imagine if you had to brainstorm a new “big idea” and come up with a killer device that would change the world forever. What would you suggest? Phones in fridges? Messaging t-shirts? Texting cows? All already done, sorry.
“Wait a minute!” you say, “I’ve got it! Instead of a camera in a phone, how about a phone in a camera?” The seconds pass by in stunned silence… Somebody passes you a cardboard box of your personal belongings and escorts you to the exit.
Except not in Samsung. Because they bought the idea and have indeed released a phone-camera. The “Samsung Galaxy Camera” goes on sale in the UK today at 5pm. Start queuing outside Samsung stores now to avoid disappointment.
Forgive the sarcasm (it comes so easily), but I’m having to slap myself about the head to grasp this concept. The “connected camera” was first seen in Berlin at the IFA exhibition in August.
Simon Stanford, VP of Telecommunications and Networks Division with Samsung UK and Ireland, says that I’m in the minority as he believes there is a significant market for this device:
“The initial response to the Galaxy Camera has been amazing and we are really looking forward to offering our customers a completely new type of digital photography device. The Galaxy Camera is a fantastic example of our continued passion for innovation and we are excited to be evolving our Galaxy range even further.”
The Samsung Galaxy Camera features a 16MP sensor, 21x optical zoom lens, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and 3G connectivity. It runs on a 1.4GHz quad-core processor and supports 4G, HSPA+ and wi-fi connectivity. It has 8GB of memory expandable with micro SD cards. And yes, it does indeed look like a compact camera with a smartphone bolted onto the back.
Study the market research and you’ll see that we’re approaching the likely end of the compact camera – the photography sector is polarising with phone-based cameras at the low end (point and shoot) and increasingly powerful DSLRs at the high end. Compacts are being squeezed out.
So why the need for the “Galaxy Camera”? What does it have that a Galaxy SIII doesn’t? Probably just the optical zoom lens. Is that enough to justify its purchase? How about a useful optical viewfinder? No, doesn’t have one, you have to use the rear touchscreen for that, as you would a phone. Samsung’s press release describes its main benefits as:
“It’s possible to go online and share photos with friends and family anytime anywhere. Plus photographs and videos can be edited and shared easily and spontaneously wherever you are.”
Er, and you can’t do that with a cameraphone? You can take superb photos and video with the SIII, edit them, then upload them, “spontaneously wherever you are”. All on your phone. But unlike the SIII, there’s no cellular voice support… So we await the sales numbers of the £399 Galaxy Camera with great interest… US consumers can buy it from AT&T later this year.
File under “bonkers”.
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Samsung Galaxy Camera