Digital Camera meets Android

It’s not difficult to see why people have been embracing smartphones with cameras over simple point and shoot digital cameras. Firstly the cameras in smartphones have been getting better and better, secondly why would you want to take out two digital items when you go out (a camera and a phone) when you could have two in one? Thirdly… connectivity. You take a digital picture on your phone. You want to send it to a friend, or put it on a social media site. You’ve got to hitch your camera up to a PC, Lap-top, with bandwidth issues, gateways, passwords and the like. Wouldn’t it be nice to have Wi-Fi in a camera? The wait is over (well, nearly- they aren’t yet on general sale).

There are three main contenders vying for position in what may be the last chance and the last hurray for the non-professional camera. Samsung, Polaroid and Nikon; all pictured above. Will either of these be the saviour of the point and shoot camera and put back “proper” cameras to the place where they should be?

As the world’s most prolific smartphone maker, Samsung is of course known for its smartphones and invested. Consequently the new Samsung Galaxy Camera will have Wi-Fi and a Micro SIM and the icing on the cake- it has Android. But will Android equipped cameras be the future, and be emulated by other camera manufacturers, making it a must-have new minimum standard for anything other than an entry level camera?

Android cameras need big screens to show off apps, and with lots of decent high-end specs, battery life may take a hit. It’s very exciting, yes, but if the price is too high, that enthusiasm will be seriously curbed! I wonder whether professional media photographers will be attracted by Android cameras, because they will be able to shoot, edit and send their images to the press room in less than a few minutes after taking them – no running off to the nearest Internet café, or back to the hotel room to connect up with the lap-top.

Turning to the Nikon, this is more of a point and shoot camera than the Samsung. The new Nikon Coolpix will have Android apps that may really be pushing the envelope of what point-and-shoot cameras are capable of. Nikon is also releasing a new photo sharing site in response to this new technology- that looks like it’s going to be well useful!

The GALAXY Camera boasts a 21x super long zoom lens and a super-bright 16M BSI CMOS sensor. The device also features ‘Smart Pro’ technology, a series of modes that make professional-looking photography easy for anyone to achieve. But of course what truly revolutionizes this photography experience is Android™ 4.1 Jelly Bean and wireless connectivity, which opens up the device to applications for photo-editing, sharing, and much more. Many of the features will, of course, be familiar to Samsung smartphone fans. The GALAXY Camera also features something called a ‘Smart Content Manager’, an on-device organization tool which intelligently creates folders, tags faces, and even suggests which pictures to delete when they don’t come out as desired. That could be really useful if you are a happy zappy snapper!

The Galaxy’s ‘Auto Cloud Backup’ feature will automatically save photos into the cloud via Samsung’s AllShare the instant they are taken. The new device enables connection to 3G or 4G, allowing photo sharing and browsing anywhere. The GALAXY Camera also functions on Wi-Fi with Dual Band and Channel Bonding for extra speed. Connectivity is supported by a quad-core processor that enables fast web-browsing and multi-tasking, as well as high-speed image processing. Phew!

So, in a nutshell, the Galaxy Camera is more sophisticated and is heavier, while the Nikon is more a point and shoot with bells and whistles. But the whole industry will be watching to see if the meeting of digital camera and Android OS is a match made in heaven, and will bridge the two different markets, camera and smartphone, and be the start of a new revolution. Visit the Panasonic website for more digital camera reviews.

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