Berlin, Germany — Your photo conundrum: Do you use your smartphone to take photos so you can instantly share your shots, or shoot higher-quality snaps with a standalone digital camera and then wait until you get home to share them? You guessed it: you don't need to make that choice now.
Samsung has solved this modern photographic dilemma when it announced its Android-powered camera, the smartly-named Galaxy Camera, which will include not only Wi-Fi but 3G and 4G (HSPA+) connectivity for instant sharing, on the eve of the annual IFA electronics show this evening in Berlin.
Essentially a small Android tablet with a big lens, the Galaxy Camera is equipped with a 4.8-inch LCD 308 pixel-per-inch touchscreen. It runs Android's next-gen OS Jelly Bean 4.1, sports a 23mm wide-angle lens with 21x optical zoom and captures images with a 16 MP backside-illuminated CMOS chip.
When it becomes available this fall in either white or black (is there something about Android that limits the color range?) you'll be able to buy it from your local cellular carrier and a data plan — hopefully adding it to the bucket of multi-device/multi-user minute plans many carriers are now offering. Samsung didn't cite a price, but indicated it wouldn't be any more expensive than existing digital cameras.
Thanks to the larger screen and Android, accessing Wi-Fi and networks is much easier than cameras with 3-inch screens and a limited interface. Just like a tablet or smartphone, you get a list of available networks and a large QWERTY virtual keyboard to punch in a password. You also can use QWERTY to search for photos — which can be stored in folders — by name, location or time.
Android and the larger screen also makes it easier to touch navigate the phone's menus. For instance, the scene modes are presented in a carousel with an icon illustrating each mode along with a text explanation of each.
You also get 35 editing features and even voice command, hopefully to make self-shooting easier. I'm looking forward to yelling at the camera from across a hall to snap a photo of myself. Photos also can be automatically streamed to a safe cloud storage site, or transferred to/from a Galaxy smartphone via a direct Wi-Fi connection.
But the camera operates just like an Android tablet or Galaxy smartphone, capable of running the full raft of Android apps.
Posted on location at IFA 2012 in Berlin. All images by Stewart Wolpin for DVICE.