Google's Android is a pretty versatile
operating system. Though designed mainly for smartphones, companies
and users alike have also installed the OS onto things like smart
wristwatches, car stereos, TVs, refrigerators and, of course,
tablets. So it may seem fairly logical that Android would eventually
find its way to point-and-shoot cameras. Indeed, Samsung's new Galaxy
Camera does just that, pairing the guts of a powerful smartphone
running Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean” with a fairly respectable
point-and-shoot camera chassis, complete with 21x zoom lens.
Camera's 1/2.3” CMOS sensor boasts a 16.3-megapixel resolution
and measures 6.17mm by 4.55mm. The highly elusive flash, not visible
even in any of Samsung's own photos, pops up from the top of the
unit. The company boasts 1080p and 480p video recording at 30 and 120
frames per second, respectively, and handling processing duties is
the powerful quad-core Exynos 4412 SoC running at 1.4Ghz. Flip the
unit over and you'll find, instead of physical buttons, a 4.77”
touchscreen display with a 1280x720-pixel resolution. Onboard storage
is 8GB, with a microSDXC slot available for future expansion.
Being an Android device with access to
the Google Play store, the Galaxy Camera is naturally compatible with
all of those apps available for download (Instagram, anyone?) and
Samsung bundles a few of their own. Smart PRO Mode is your typical
multi-profile shot enhancer, while Slow Motion Video works in tandem
with the 480p 120fps video recording capability mentioned earlier.
Voice Control allows you to, predictably enough, tell the device
directly to zoom in, zoom out, or take a picture.
The Galaxy Camera offers 802.11n WiFi,
Bluetooth 4.0 and 3G/4G cellular networking, allowing, among others,
a function that “automatically saves your precious family photos
into the cloud the instant you take them,” as Samsung puts it.
There is no mention of NFC support, which is a little bit
disappointing. Simply tapping the Galaxy Camera against someone
else's smartphone to share a photo would be hilariously cool. Samsung
redeems itself a bit with Wi-Fi Direct, however, which automatically
and instantly sends a freshly captured photo to up to eight other
registered devices at the same time.
Despite the cellular connectivity, the
Samsung Galaxy Camera will apparently not include phone
functionality. Whether this is a glaring omission or not depends on
the consumer, and personally I would prefer the device to include the
capability. In any case, expect to find the Galaxy Camera in stores
sometime during the next month or so. (Via AnandTech)
Postscript: Now available at Amazon.com, as well as various other retailers.