Samsung Galaxy Camera Appears on Samsung PH Website, Previewed at IFA 2012
Samsung is certainly one of the biggest newsmakers at IFA 2012, not only because of its much-anticipated unveiling of the Galaxy Note II, but also because of its other products, including the ATIV Smart PC, Smart PC Pro, and the ATIV S, all of which are powered by Microsoft’s upcoming platform. But aside from these new wonders, Samsung also captured the attention of observers when it unveiled the Android-based Galaxy Camera. In the past months, it seemed that we had a premonition about Samsung’s direction for its compact cameras that is associated with Android.
Looking back at some of the company’s Smart camera models (MV800, DV300F, and WB150F) the user interface (UI) running on these units presents a layout similar to that of Android, being customizable and equipped with some ‘apps’ for image enhancement and creative photography. Although the Galaxy Camera is the first Android camera from Samsung, it is not the first in the world of technology. At the beginning of this year at CES, Polaroid showed off its SC1630 Android camera. In the middle of 2012, reports about Panasonic’s and Samsung’s plans of releasing their own Android cameras surfaced. The previously-rumored S800C, Nikon’s Android camera, is now official.
Our colleagues in HardwareZone Singapore were lucky enough to be part of IFA 2012 and shared with us their hands-on experience with the Samsung Galaxy Camera. Meanwhile, our recent visit at Samsung Philippines’ portal showed us that the Galaxy Camera is now up, hinting at the approaching release of this new hot item. When and at what price? We do not know at the moment. Let us wait for the next chapter.
From the Galaxy Comes an Android Camera
What does Samsung, Nikon, and Polaroid have in common? An Android-powered digital camera, that’s what. In Berlin, Germany, Samsung announced the Galaxy Camera. On paper, this looks like a mighty impressive camera. It has a 16.3-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor, an incredibly far 21x optical zoom lens (for a 35mm focal length equivalent of 23-483mm) with an F2.8 aperture at the widest end, and a high density (308ppi, to be exact) 4.8-inch LCD touchscreen. Wait, who actually quotes a camera display’s pixel density? Isn’t that a spec typically used on a smartphone or tablet display? Well, Samsung does. And when you delve deeper into the specs sheet of the Galaxy Camera, you may begin to wonder if you’re reading the specs sheet of a Galaxy smartphone. For one, the Galaxy Camera runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Secondly, it’s equipped with a quad-core 1.4GHz processor. Besides Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS support, Samsung has added cellular connectivity (3G and 4G) to the camera. This is the first Android camera we know that does 3G/4G. And guess what? The camera listens to you too. You can control the lens and the shutter release using just your voice, by giving commands like ‘zoom in’ and ‘shoot’.
To take advantage of the quad-core processor, there are software features aplenty on the Galaxy Camera. For example, there’s a Smart Pro feature which basically consists of 10 preset scene modes, with very descriptive names like Macro, Rich Tone, Waterfall Trace, Beautiful Sunset, and Vivid Fireworks. Then, there's the Photo Wizard with 35 photo editing tools. The Galaxy Camera shoots full HD 1,920 x 1,080-pixel videos at 30fps, and in-camera edits can be performed using the Photo Wizard. A Smart Content Manager helps you create folders and tag faces, and may even suggest photos to delete. The Smart Camera comes with 8GB of internal memory, and this is supplemented by a microSD card slot that accepts microSDXC cards up to 64GB in capacity. But since the camera has Internet connectivity, you can choose to have photos backed up onto the cloud by way of Samsung’s AllShare content sharing service. And with Share Shot, photos can be shared at the same time as you shoot.
Of course, running on Android means that the Galaxy Camera can operate beyond a photo capturing or a Web browsing device. Apps can be downloaded from app stores and marketplaces like Google Play and Samsung Apps. Want to upload your photo to Instagram immediately after you shot it, or fancy a round of Angry Birds while your phone is charging? All these can be done on the Galaxy Camera.
There's no word on the Philippine pricing of the Galaxy Camera. But we've heard that in the U.S., it'd be priced around US$500. Looking at the high-end specs, we wouldn't be surprised if it ends up more expensive than that when it finally reaches our shores.