By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
Samsung may have had it’s legal clock cleaned when it comes to its line of smartphones and tablets, but it’s not stopping its own quest to take Android into more and differenty types gadgets. Talk around the interwebs is that the South Korean electronics giant is turning to photography in the hopes of following Nikon’s lead to incorporate Android into digital cameras, making a kind of ‘smart camera.’
But the interesting thing is, how remarkably similar their Galaxy S camera looks to the Nikon S800C. Yeah sure, you can say that the lens of the Nikon is juxtaposed to the lens on the Galaxy S. But since we now live in a world of patented rounded corners and atheistic design, it’s hard to not see the obvious similarities between the two.
Comparing the two, we see that the Galaxy S will have a 16-megapixel sensor, 10x optical zoom, a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display and be powered by Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), which will bring along with it both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity in two separate models.
The S800C, by contrast, will have the same 16-megapixel sensor, the same 10x optical zoom, and WiFi capability. But that’s where the similarities end. The S800C will rely on a much smaller 3.5-inch, WVGA OLED touchscreen display, and will run Android 2.3 Gingerbread (what’s up with that?).
So what’s up with the smart camera? Do you really need an Android OS to fire a shutter and determine aperture and ISO settings? Well, no, but the ability to do in camera editing on the fly with custom apps suddenly makes it quite interesting. Also, I like the idea of a 3G connectivity when on vacation to upload images (though dear God, please not another data plan). Course, some are saying that a camera with optical zoom and that huge 4.5″ LCD screen would kill battery life, and sure, it would. If it was using a standard point and shoot camera battery. But larger screen space buys you larger camera space and that means a larger battery. Besides, this may lead to something else ….
This could be the next step in incorporating optical zoom technology into smartphones and just merging the two technologies for good. Polaroid was the first to a showcase an Android smartphone with a 3x optical zoom at CES last January. But sadly, it was meet with a collective yawn. And if Samsung can get the thickness down for smartphones, they could have a pretty slick opportunity to take smartphones to the next level. Honestly, that’s the main thing that leaves me flat about shooting digital stills and video on a smartphone – it’s all digital zoom.
But you toss in a 10x optical zoom, and it’s only 20mm thick? That would be the iron clad ticket and would put the shoe on the other foot at Apple in trying hard to once again play catch-up. Let’s face it, smartphones can get faster, sure. But if they’re all ending up at 4G/LTE, what’s the next “fin” to get people to buy a smartphone? Not a larger screen? Sure, those phablets like the Galaxy Note are kitschy, but it’s not like they’re outselling the Galaxy S III or the iPhone. I’m thinking that optical zoom for your smartphone camera is the next frontier.