No one can deny the profound effect social media has had on the world of photography, enabling constant and real-time sharing. This has combined with the huge advancements in smartphone technology, putting quality point-and-shoot camera power in our pockets at all times. With demands for better quality photos and more online and social integration pulling from both ends, a few camera companies are making their first attempts to bridge the gap. This led camera makers to start including WiFi in some models and then releasing smartphone apps to compliment them. Now we’re seeing the first wave of fully Android-powered phones hitting the market this holiday season. Now let’s take a look at the two initial offerings from Nikon and Samsung.
Nikon CoolPix S800c
|A look at Nikon Coolpix-S800c|
Nikon was the first out the gate with a completely Android powered camera with this new addition to their S series. One side looks like a S series camera, the back a smartphone-style 3.5-inch OLED touch screen. Booting up the camera you’ll be greeted with an Android skinned for Nikon and geared for photography. The worrying part is it’s running on the ancient Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS from 2011. Being used to Android 4.0 ICS, I wouldn’t like the step back and lag has been mentioned in several reviews already. I hope that Nikon is quick to release an update and get up to speed. It will still allow you to connect with WiFi to do anything a normal Android device would do (except make calls). So you have access to the full Google Play app market, not just photography apps. You can install all the email, cloud storage or social media apps you’d have on your phone for instant sharing and uploading, along with GPS tagging. You can also install photo editing apps to touch up filter your photos on-the-fly.
|Nikon Coolpix S800c-Front side|
|Nikon Coolpix S800c-Back side|
Samsung Galaxy Camera
|A look at Samsung Galaxy Camera|
Samsung steps ups with the second android-powered phone on the market under their Galaxy name. The features and specs on this overshadow Nikon’s recent release, but now we’re looking at an even bigger price tag at $500. Unlike Nikon who specializes in only cameras, Samsung’s success in all types of electronics shines through with a nicer looking mashup of camera and smartphone. On the back you’ll find a large 4.8 inch HD Super Clear LCD screen (the same size as a Galaxy S3). On the front you’ll find a popup flash 16-megapixel BSI CMOS and a 21x optical zoom.
|Samsung Galaxy Camera-Front side|
Samsung’s experience with Android ensures they aren’t lagging like Nikon and include the new Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box. It uses WiFi and GPS like the S800c, but the Galaxy Camera goes fully mobile with 3G/4G/HSPA+ capabilities. So to take advantage of it, you’ll have to shell out for an AT&T data plan. If you’re already on AT&T with an Android smartphone, you can take advantage of their new Mobile Share plans between your devices. AT&T subscribers will also get 5 gigs of free cloud storage through their AT&T Locker service. And while they are just a step away from full phone functions, this Galaxy can’t make calls. But with a data plan, VoIP or Skype is always an option. On top of full access to the Google Play apps market, this cameras uses Samsung’s new range of branded apps to sync and share between Samsung smartphones, tablets and Smart TVs.
|Samsung Galaxy Camera-Back side|
So it looks like Samsung has Nikon beat, thanks to their all-round experience with both cameras and Android devices producing an more polished release to a new category (especially until Nikon updates their Android OS). But then the Coolpix S800c is a good chunk cheaper at $350 to the Galaxy Camera at $500. Which one would you pick if you wanted an Android-powered camera? And while there is a growing demand for both quality cameras and wifi/mobile connectivity, do you think these Android cameras satisfy both? With both new to the market, will have to see how they do and what the second generation will look like.
Liz is an amateur photographer, bit of a gadget geek and blogger for social photography site ViewBug.com, where you can compete in photo contests and share your shots with their growing community.