Several camera manufacturers have given “smart cameras” a serious thought at some point in time, but it seems like Nikon is the first company to make smart camera a reality. Nikon Corporation, a Japanese multinational corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, specializing in optics and imaging, requires no introduction.
Previously, there were rumors that Nikon was working on releasing a new Coolpix camera that would be launched by end of the month. Apart from its 28-200mm f/2.4 lens, none of the other specs were known and it was speculated to be P7200, the successor of P7100, however, a recent filing with the Indonesian Communication Agency has revealed Coolpix S800, and the good news is that it is an Android powered camera. The Coolpix S800 houses a 25-250mm lens, along with built-in GPS and WiFi modules. The camera boots Android 2.3 Gingerbread as choice of its operating system, and the user can interact with the system using a 3.5-inch OLED screen. It is indeed an interesting device from Nikon, and a smart camera totally makes sense at this point in time where we have Android powered watches and kitchen devices.
It’s not the first time some company has come ahead with smart camera like Nikon Coolpix S800. Previously, Polaroid had taken camera followers by surprise back at CES by revealing SC1630. Polaroid SC1630 closely resembles a cellphone, but in reality, it is essentially a digital camera. The device boasts a healthy 16 megapixel sensor, 3x optical zoom, 3.2 inch touchscreen and exploits Android for the social networking integration and file uploading capabilities and onboard image editing tools it has.
In March, Panasonic and Samsung were looking into possibility of using Android on a smart camera, however, the company representative cited app compatibility as a major concern. If Android is used as an operating system for the camera, it opens up the camera to the world of Android Play Store and other apps, and these apps are a major concern because there’s no guarantee it would play nice with the various optics and technology packed into the camera.
“It’s one option for the future, but we have to be mindful of the consumer and the warranty that we offer. If we open up the platform to third parties, then we lose control of the warranty that we could offer the customer, because you never know what you’re downloading.” – said Barney Sykes, a represenative from Panasonic UK.
In the meantime, Samsung has gone ahead and filed a trademark for the name Samsung Galaxy Camera in the US recently. The trademark is categorized under “cameras and camcorders”, even though Galaxy name has always been restricted to smartphones and tablets, which indicates Samsung’s strong interest in launching a smart camera in the future. It could also mean that Samsung will is planning to launch a Galaxy mobile device that is focused on photography, which would be a great addition to existing army of Galaxy smartphones, tablets and media players. Samsung Galaxy S III has a 8 megapixel camera that is accommodated in a 7 mm thick casing, however, we’re sure camera lovers wouldn’t mind the extra bulk if they’re gaining a lot of capability on the camera front.
Smart Cameras open up interesting avenues, not just creatively, but also financially. The camera device from Polaroid that was seen at CES also had a SIM card slot, which gave it the cellular – data-only – connectivity, apart from WiFi and Bluetooth.
Android on a camera is a great idea. The device will be basically a smartphone with added capabilities in the camera department. Having Android would also mean access to Android Play Store and various other apps, and we already know what these apps are capable of. If Nikon can tie the camera software to Android correctly, users should be able to forward the photos straight into apps like Instagram and Facebook so that they can share their pictures with relative ease on the go using various connectivity options it provides. The camera may also give optional geo tagging capability using the inbuilt GPS module. What’s more? You can keep yourself entertained with web, music, videos and even games!
Other hardware details of Coolpix S800 is unknown as of now, but it surely opens up the possibility of the company choosing to boot Android on other devices in its lineup, in fact we can also expect Android powered DSLR cameras from Nikon, which could revolutionize the photography world. Imagine the photo editing capabilities that Android would bring on board these cameras.
The Coolpix S800 is anticipated to be announced on the 22nd of August. What are your thoughts on Smart Cameras? Would it transform the photography world? Have your say using the comment form below.
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