If I had more time, I would be writing a blog called ‘Connected Cameras’ unfortunately I don’t but today’s news about the new Android-powered Nikon S800C makes me wonder if I could create the time needed for this important, game-changing product category of connected and smart cameras. For the time being I’ll continue here though, it’s about the only thing I write about here anyway so maybe I’ll just re-name this blog!
Back to the Nikon S800C – It’s a camera, with Wifi, and and Android back! It’s not a phone (no 3G that I can see either) but it’s a very significant step towards a truly flexible connected camera. One could argue that the Nokia 808 Pureview is primarily a connected camera but it’s not, it’s a connected cameraphone which puts very specific design limits in place. The Nikon S800C is a camera, with optical zoom, and Android 2.3. At last.
I’ve been waiting for this for years. Google Plus was made for this sort of hardware
How would it affect my 3-device ideal though? The Nikon [I wrote Nokin there!] doesn’t replace anything in my phone, tablet and laptop set-up. It can’t compete with the Panasonic Lumix FZ150 that I’m so happy with either so where does it fit into a mobile device set-up? For me, it’s an additional device which is a shame because I want to be more mobile, not less mobile.
My Nokia N8 still stuns me with it’s ability to produce awesome images. Only last week I was using the Xenon flash for daylight fill-in purposes thinking – it still rocks. Who needs tone mapping when you can use the flash! Web and apps suck, but it works fantastically well as a phone, MP3 player, in-car navi and entertainment unit and of course, camera-in-the-pocket. I have a small tablet for the rest.
Without 3G or even Bluetooth the Nikon [I wrote Nokin again!] isn’t even a mobile connected device. I’d have to turn on Wi-Fi sharing on the tablet to go mobile with this and while that’s better for instant uploads than the Nokia, it’s not a clean mobile solution.
The Nokia PureView is still in a unique position, a strong position for connect camera lovers who generally, are away from a Wi-Fi hotspot. The 10x zoom is something that excites me but really, if I’ve got to put my Android tablet between the camera and the Internet to make it ‘connected’ why don’t I consider the Samsung WiFi-enabled solutions?
Connected cameras are forming into three distinct groups.
1 – WiFi enabled cameras. (Connected cameras)
2 – WiFi (and potentially 3G) cameras (Smart Connected Cameras) with common operating systems (personally I think Apple could storm this part of the market with an IOS camera)
3 – High-end cameraphones – the mobile,smart, connected cameras.
WiFi-enabled cameras are at risk from the other two categories in my opinion. The appeal of a known mobile OS brand and the sharing and apps that come with it are too attractive. The real fight will be between the phones and the smart connected cameras. if Nokia and Microsoft get PureView into their new range of Windows 8 phones and if Apple keep on improving the iPhone camera experience then the Smart Connected Cameras will have a tough time in the mainstream market. What they need to do is move into the same market as bridge cameras that offer ‘do it all’ experiences that can be used by professionals. Journalists will never let go of their DSLRs but they know the value of a connected camera and something like the FZ150 with an Android back would be extremely interesting and command a high price. It wouldn’t cross-over other segments as much either. I truly believe that Apple have an opportunity with a $600 iCamera product here too.
This Nikon announcement is just the start. I’m expecting to see more connected and smart cameras at IFA in just over a week. In the meantime, I better get this blog looking more like a connected camera blog! Whos’ with me?