The camera has been an integral part of the mobile phone for many years. All phones today, smart or not, include a camera as it has become an expected tool when communicating with others – not to mention Tweeting and posting to Facebook. However, even as good as the cameras are in mobile phones, they have serious limitations and will always pale in comparison to digital cameras specifically designed for taking photos.
Digital cameras, on the other hand, have the limitation of needing some other computing device to be able to do anything with the pictures they take. How many vacation photos or family outings have been locked away for months, just waiting to be loaded onto the computer so they could see the light of day. Soon, that will be just a thing of the past. Both Nikon and Samsung have launched cameras that use the Android operating system and now can take advantage of being a bonafide computing device unto themselves. Polaroid previewed a smart camera back in January at CES that would also run the Android OS, but no further details have been made available.
Besides a large, lovely touch screen, cameras running Android have the ability to connect to a WiFi network, tether with your phone (or connect on their own if they have 3G/4G built-in), and download photo sharing applications directly onto the camera. So, once you snap those adorable pictures of the family enjoying an afternoon in the park, they can go directly to Facebook for all your friends and family to enjoy. Other benefits of using a camera with Android OS is the built in GPS for geotagging and ability to edit images directly on the camera. Using a platform like Android also opens up other exciting possibilities such as integration with Dropbox, which was just announced.
Currently two manufacturers have announced cameras with the Android OS, the Nikon Coolpix S800c, and the Samsung Galaxy camera. In addition to all the standard Android OS functionality, the Samsung model also boosts voice control for camera functions such as zooming, setting the timer, or taking the picture.
The Nikon camera is slated to be available in September for $349.95. The Samsung Galaxy camera will start shipping in October, but the price is yet to be announced. Both models should be available in plenty time for giving and enjoying over the holidays.