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While much of the buzz leading up to last Wednesday’s Samsung Mobile Unpacked event focused on the Galaxy Note 2, it could be argued that the real star of the show was the Galaxy Camera, Sammy’s new Android-powered point-and-shoot. Sure, the Note 2 is an impressive piece of kit, but it is essentially an incremental upgrade of a device we already know. The Galaxy Camera, on the other hand, could represent the future of point-and-shoots, or an entirely new class of product altogether.

There’s been much talk of Samsung the copycat over the past month or so, but the Galaxy Camera is an example of the Korean manufacturer using its experience in multiple product categories to introduce something really new. Like the original Galaxy Note, it’s a new spin on an existing category of device that’s just crazy enough to succeed. And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Read on to find out why.

It’s easy to forget that Samsung is about more than just smartphones and tablets. Though the company dominates the smart device landscape, it’s also involved in a wide range of other markets. At the IFA 2012 show in Berlin, much of its main booth was populated by glistening LED TVs, and it even had a second hall in another building, where it showcased everything from cleaning robots to refrigerators. Somewhere in the middle of all that is the company’s point-and-shoot camera range.

At last year’s IFA, Samsung debuted a range of Wifi-enabled compact cameras, and like most devices in this category, they were running their own non-expandable proprietary software. As mobile devices in general become more connected and app-friendly, it makes less and less sense to develop these kinds of products in a bubble. Presumably, that’s an idea that presented itself to Samsung’s camera team over the past twelve months, when the decision was made to bring smartphone hardware and software into a point-and-shoot camera.

Samsung already produces all the individual components required to make a compelling connected, smart point-and-shoot. The company already makes touchscreens and chips for Android-powered mobile devices, as well as software to enable features like on-device sharing, video and photo-editing. It already produces and sources lenses and image sensors for its standalone camera line-up. The parts are all there, waiting to be assembled into a next-gen compact camera.

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With other manufacturers pushing towards connected cameras with ever-expanding functionality, it makes sense for Samsung to combine its strengths into a product like the Galaxy Camera, and attempt to leapfrog the competition. Most point-and-shoots still run janky proprietary software that’s neither intuitive nor powerful. And though TouchWiz isn’t the prettiest Android skin around, compared to the average point-and-shoot UI, it’s an oasis of usability.

In terms of software in particular, Samsung has already done most of the hard work. TouchWiz on the Galaxy S3 boasts video and photo editing out of the box, as well as a wealth of sharing options through bundled apps like YouTube and AllShare, and other apps via Android sharing intents. And if it’s half as developer-friendly as Samsung’s line-up of smartphones and tablets, you can bet we’ll see no end of extra functionality hacked onto the camera within days of release.

The inclusion of Instagram on the device, in addition to features like Wifi direct sharing, shows that Samsung’s keen to position the device as a social camera. But for content creators, the Galaxy Camera is an even more tantalizing prospect.

Take Android Central as an example -- when we visit a large trade show like CES, MWC or IFA, we need to handle a huge amount of photo and video content, and get it turned around within a short space of time. Traditionally, liveblog photos need to be uploaded through a combination of a DSLR connected to a laptop over USB, using PC or Mac apps like Photoshop and Chrome to crunch them down to size and upload. The use of a Galaxy Camera could reduce this tedious process to the press of a single button within our liveblog provider’s Android app.

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Similarly, for quick hands-on videos on the show floor, we’d be able to record content directly on the camera, patch in audio from an external source, add intro and outro segments and upload to YouTube, all without pulling out a laptop. Needless to say, we expect to see more than a few tech journalists rocking Galaxy Cameras at next year’s CES in Las Vegas.

Sure, this is a niche use case, but even the simple task of taking and sharing vacation snaps could be made considerably easier with an Android-powered camera. Having an easy way to catalog, edit and share photos on a dedicated imaging device is going to be extremely useful to a lot of people. It’s true that you could do most of those things on a Galaxy S3 or HTC One X, but not everyone is inclined to pick up a high-end smartphone with a high-quality image sensor if they already have a point-and-shoot. And besides, there’s currently no smartphone that offers a 16MP sensor or 21X optical zoom.

On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy Camera isn’t going to replace your DSLR. It’s a point-and-shoot camera, and we’d expect image quality to be comparable to other high-end cameras in that category. There are also concerns about how much the Galaxy Camera will cost, as Samsung has so far remained quiet on pricing. Price it too high, and many of the benefits become irrelevant.

For us, the Samsung Galaxy Camera is an exciting product, and an example of something we always like to see -- Android being applied to new and interesting device categories. Sure, it’ll be a long while before smartphone tech finds its way into the majority of point-and-shoot cameras. But based on what we’ve seen of the Galaxy Camera and its benefits, we’re confident that we’ll soon be wondering how we ever got by with cameras that just took pictures. After all, it wasn’t long ago that a mobile phone was just a phone.

More: Samsung Galaxy Camera hands-on, Samsung Galaxy Camera - camera app preview

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Reader comments

Why the Samsung Galaxy Camera makes perfect sense


I agree, but i think it has 2 problems. First.. Price point, It needs to be cheap enough that its not compared to DSLR devices, because it will lose (a camera is ultimately about the pictures), but not so cheap that it makes tablets and phones look over priced. That is something thats already a problem and will continue to be as more android device variations come out.
The Galaxy Camera is basically a Galaxy Player with a moderately decent point and shoot camera attached, if its cheaper or only slightly more it would make you wonder why the Player is so much, after all it actually contains less hardware..

The other problem is the number of people who dont seem to understand what it is. Reading some of the comments on here makes it very clear that some people think its a phone with a better camera, that cant makes calls (!), or a tablet with a zoom lens. I dont understand the confusion, but its there.

I couldn't agree more about the masses not know what it is. Some of it has to do with the crappy headlines and context that AC used during the initial unveiling, but most of it has to do with Samsung not having any thing to go by on how to market this (After all Apple doesn't have this product, so they aren't sure what to do yet.)

The pictures I've seen with this are pretty disappointing. Either the person who took them sucked, or the camera sucked. Or both. The images were grainy, near distorted and it didn't perform well in lowish light.

Really this is a nice idea, but I dont see it taking off.

This, exactly this. The camera on this thing simply isn't that good, and that's the whole point of it. It will require a data plan if subsidized, and it will be overpriced - probably cost similar to most smartphones by virtue of the [very arguably] better optics in it. The camera sensors on devices like the GS2, iPhone 4S, HTC One Series, and some of Sony's Android handsets take quite decent pictures. This camera didn't seem all that much better than those.

All Samsung has to do is produce a smartphone that isn't focused on being AS THING AS POSSIBLE and put better Optics in it. Nokia knows this. Everyone does, except the Android manufacturers. If you want the best optics in your devices, they have to be a little thicker than perhaps you'd like.

There are a few smartphones that take better pictures than this thing. It's pretty much DoA as far as I'm concerned. At least to me.

1. Why would I want to carry another device to take pictures with a camera that is barely better than what I have?

2. Why would I want to pay the price they'll charge off-contract for it, and if subsidized, why would I want the carriers to Molest this device with bloatware and delayed updates?

3. Why can't they just create a thicker phone with better optics in it instead, that way we can still carry only one device that does everything without the added bulk?

Wow! Just really?
It has 16MP dedicated lens, optical zoom, plus BSI sensor for low-light.
While the quality of the lens can't be improved over time, the software for producing (or reproducing) pictures could be improved a hell lot.
I saw the news about Nikon point and shoot camera with Android the other day, and one thing that been bugging me is the non 3G data capabilities.
At my place, and same with every other countries non-US/Europe, Wi-Fi isn't widely accessible. And for journalist or reporter, this will be great to send pictures or video as fast as you can.
To put such a statement without knowing how much this thing cost is.. just...

Oh well..

I don't really care how many MP it has since even a 5MP cam is more than enough for almost all consumers. The pictures lack sharpness and have a lot of noise in them. It doesn't take a genius to take a decent photo. I can point my skyrocket at something and take an image in auto mode that's at least on par with what was posted from this thing. The Vivid I had would have blown it away. Most recent smart phones have BSI sensors in them, as well...

My issue is more of.convenience and quality disparity than close. Even at $100 I'd never buy this unless it absolutely blew my smartphone away in picture/video quality. Its yet another device to carry and I actually use my phone as a phone. The pictures posted do not justify giving this thing any thought. It will likely be at least $449 off contract here.

Good idea. Poor execution. Especially putting a cell radio in it. All it needs is wifi and GPS. Carriers will molest this.

I'm not sure why anyone would want to pay for a monthly data service on a camera that's limited to only that device? If you need internet access everywhere then get a mobile hotspot.

The BEST camera in a phone takes snapshots, if you want a photograph you MUST HAVE a dedicated camera, the quality of the photograph involves MUCH more than the optics alone, much more, a phone is great for those that cant tell the diference between a phone picture and a camera picture but for those of us that can a phone camera just doesnt cut it.

If we're looking at the same sample gallery, they look fine to me considering who took them. My sister and I own the same point and shoot Fujis. People think she has a crap camera and I have an amazing one because I understand photography and she doesn't have the first clue.

The camera itself is basically the Samsung WB850F, a unit that has gotten good reviews so far, and CAN take decent pictures (look for reviews of that camera, not of the Androided version...) Like you pointed out, the user has a lot to do with whether or not the picture is going to be any good. The Android "professional" reviewers I have seen (every single one of them) are just absolutely horrible at taking pictures, from any device. They will take a picture of their own horrific unshaven face, half-lit by fluorescent tubes, and call it a review. It's disgusting. I will wait for DPreview to fully review the camera before making a buy decision, but I guarantee you their sample shots will be 100x better than any phone reviewers are.

Exactly. The only way this camera can really and truly fail is if it has no manual overrides whatsoever. Granted, no one will be shooting professional wedding, event, sport, etc photos with it but no self-respecting professional does that with any P&S.

The camera is awesome in every way except the one that matters - photo quality - Unfortunately it takes absolute rubbish photos.

If we're looking at the same sample gallery, they look fine to me considering who took them. My sister and I own the same point and shoot Fujis. People think she has a crap camera and I have an amazing one because I understand photography and she doesn't have the first clue.

There isn't a camera on this planet that can save someone from his own ignorance 100% of the time. Crappy photos are almost always the fault of the button pusher, not the button.

This whole time I thought Samsung was trying to push the social aspect of photo taking when they decided to show off a pre-production device... Oh wait, they were.

I'm a photo hobbiest and I enjoy my GSIII, but I have to say this camera falls more on the side of "neat gadget" than it does anywhere close to "game changer."


I would rather say Proof of Concept. Imagine a good DSLR with android, photoshop, perfectly clear and Gmail Google Drive...

anyone that even considers themselves a decent photographer with a brain would never get a dslr with this type of function. that would be marketed towards the wannabe photographers.

give me a camera with good optics and a large sensor(among other core things) and i would take it in a heartbeat over this toy.

Says the photo hobbiest. Once people start preferring Instagram wedding photos tagged to their facebook timeline - live, as opposed to 'professional photography', you'll see where you were wrong.

Choices. Take an excellent photo with a professional grade camera, and have the bride groom wait a few weeks to obtain the results; or take a crappy photo with a point and shoot and try and sell those for hundreds of dollars to a bride and groom (or worse yet, try and sell them to the mother of the bride).

The relatives and the friends can take the crappy photos with this, or any other point and shoot, and get them uploaded to facebook or any other asinine website in a few hours.

If people think a magazine editor is hard to work for, try a bride, groom or the mothers of both!

Or you can take great photos with a real DSLT/DSLR *and* upload and/or distribute them quickly. There is no rule saying good photos have to wait for weeks before they are obtainable.

Indeed. I like the idea of uploading the proofs as they're taken, and/or "live" teasers to facebook. Right now I can only transfer to the tablet/laptop as they're taken and upload to the website later...and my only control over what is transferred and what isn't transferred is the lock function.

Granted, I can set up a convoluted system for live teasers to facebook and/or proofs if I have a connected laptop/tablet but it's a mess. Doing it right from the back of the dSLR would be a lot sexier and I could actually do it while shooting rather than taking time out later or praying I don't accidentally lock a photo that I didn't mean to lock.

My friend, that trend has been going on for a couple years now. Heck, in the field I can shoot an image, pop the card into a little reader, plug the OTG cord into my GS3 and have that picture uploaded long before you can even find a public hotspot to connect this wifi camera to.

It isn't about speed. It is about this thing doing overlapping duty that other gadgets do, but not being able to do it well enough to replace either.

Still have to take your phone with you, so all those smartphone features are redundant. Want to take instagram snaps? Do that with your phone. Want to take quality pictures? I'm afraid this smart-camera isn't capable of that.

Want to take "better than cell phone" pictures but have the ability to load them directly to the web from the camera (when close to wifi)? Well, here you go. But I don't see that need as a huge market.


That last paragraph is exactly what ive been telling everyone. The cameras on phones have become better but they still dont match even a half decent point and shoot. People want thinner phones but they want more camera functionality. The better image sensors are too large to fit in an s3 or oneX then add a nice optical zoom. The best camera is the one you have on you and giving the camera features to keep it on you like the ability to have the inter apps and games is going to make this the best camera because people will always have it on them. Its a stand alone device that you dont have to connect to a computer in order to use plus having 3g and 4g means you dont need to find a hotspot to use either.

Agree. The obsession with thinness is holding smartphones back in the camera area. If you want a great ssmartphone camera you have to be able to put up with something like the Nokia N8 or PureView.

Excellent idea! Now I wait for Sony to come up with Sony NEX camera with Android 4.1. That touchscreen on the back just begs for it.

Please don't forget that Nikon already released an android powered camera. The Nikon Coolpix S800c was announced August 22nd, a full week ahead of Samsung.

Even though the S800c isn't running the latest version of Android, I'm sure it will handle quite well. Plus I personally trust the build quality of a Nikon camera above that of Samsung. Partly due to brand loyalty and partly for being in the camera biz for over 15 years.

I have the S800c currently on order and hoping it arrives soon. Looking forward to using it, connecting it to the Gnex via portable WiFi hotspot and sharing photos.

Thats the biggest issue with the nikon. It wont be able to support future photo apps unless they update the software and its wifi only. It defeats the purpose of all the built in functionality because its not a stand alone device so nikon failed. Then they only have half the zoom

I'm in the market for a good P&S camera. While the inclusion of Jelly Bean in the Galaxy Camera is awfully tempting, the less-than-stellar photo quality that I've heard about will be a dealbreaker for me. I'd rather spend more and get a high-end P&S camera, something like a Leica D-Lux 5 or a Sony RX100.

And besides, as much as I love Android, I already have a SGS2 and a Nexus 7. Do I really need another Android device? If I'm going to spend some serious money on a dedicated camera, then first and foremost the picture quality has to be *outstanding*.

if you can swallow the price point, the rx100 is the best p&s camera i have ever used. it has pretty much replaced my nex5 in my camera bag. it takes amazing photos, given that you keep it under 1600 ISO. bought it a week or 2 ago and never looked back.

The days of high demand consumer cameras is over. The vast majority of point and shooters are more interested in convenience and reasonably good pictures. Many late model smart phones already provide this. Our point and shoot and SLR sees very little action these days unless we are at home. If we're on the go my wife's SII and my One S are almost always sufficient.

I love the criticism of picture quality from this camera, especially from those who haven't used it! News flash: wait until we actually see this camera in retailers & can get our hands on it. Read the reviews from here & other tech sites & photography sites. Then & only then can this camera be fairly judged.

For me, hands on time aside & reading some reviews, $200 - $250 is the price range that makes since. Otherwise Wal Mart can't put it with other cameras & show consumers is differences & advantages. With tablet prices coming down to more realistic levels, where they should have been from the beginning, the Galaxy Camera could become just another Android device if Samsung prices it too high.

Oh & purely speculating... I'm betting now Apple tries to ban this thing. They'll cite some obscure patent or small tech company they bought that this camera violates technology or trade dress or patents of. Mark it down. You heard it here.

Yes indeed. Wait till people actually review it (hands-on at a trade show doesn't count), then judge it based on camera quality. This article is about why it's a good idea, not whether you should buy it. That will come when AC reviews the thing.

And about the Apple thing: it uses TouchWiz Nature UX on top of Jelly Bean. Apple can't touch it on hardware, but they can still sue over the software, like they're doing to the S III and the Note. So it's not as obscure as you claim it to be.

Yes indeed. Wait till people actually review it (hands-on at a trade show doesn't count), then judge it based on camera quality. This article is about why it's a good idea, not whether you should buy it. That will come when AC reviews the thing.

And about the Apple thing: it uses TouchWiz Nature UX on top of Jelly Bean. Apple can't touch it on hardware, but they can still sue over the software, like they're doing to the S III and the Note. So it's not as obscure as you claim it to be.

Darling, darling, come take a picture of little Sophie. What do you mean you spent the camera's battery playing angry birds and adding a moustache to that picture of my mother? OK, go and charge it. All charged? Good. Show me the photos you took last week. Well I don't know, look for the Apple photo icon, it's in there somewhere with all the rest of them. Just scroll! Further! There! God, why do you even need your calendar on the camera? What has GMail got to do with photography? If only they'd put some thought into optimising the interface for non-confusing, camera-centric use. OK. OK. Look, come and take a picture of this penguin. Well why can't you zoom? Take your gloves off then. Alright. I'm calm. Just set the time and come and take a group photo. Why isn't it taking a picture? What do you mean a Foursquare location alert popped up? Cancel it. Now set the timer. Why can't you find it? Look under Settings>Features>Camera Menu>Photography>Enhancements>S-Time>. OK. All set. Everyone smile. There.

Looks like a well thought-out and thoroughly optimized product to me. As usual from Samsung then...


If it has WIFI, then won't we pretty easily be able to make wifi calls with it? I know it is hokey. But it doesn't seem like it would take much for a developer to figure out how to use the microphone and speakers. Not to mention using groove-ip or google voice on it.

I wonder how this compares to the Sony nex series cameras.. I'm now debating whether to wait and get the Samsung camera or the Sony Nex-F3

I'm puzzled by the reference to streaming in audio from another source when shooting video. Does this mean the camera doesn't capture sound when taking videos? Do I also conclude that there's no audio output either? Must admit I've seen no mention of audio in reviews.

I'm wondering about all this because I'm visually impaired but am still interested in photography. On an Android phone or iPhone, that's all sorted and I can get the accessibility functions going. I'm wondering if this camera takes the same advantage of the supposedly accessible aspects of Android, such as Talkback?

Not that Android makes it altogether easy. In version 4.1, you give your device a strange kind of 2-fingered salute, while in version 4 you are supposed to draw a rectangle around the edge of the screen if you can work out where that is. What's the method for version 5 going to be? stand on your head and sing the Marseillaise? Come on, Google, sort it out!

I am interested in this camera especially after seeing some pleasingly natural-looking HDR images from it, As far as I can judge, they are of a much better quality than has been talked about here, though until I've taken my own I probably can't be sure.

More questions than answers.....

As an app developer of a fairly popular camera app for Android, I see this as really exciting hardware - most features in camera apps are limited by the relatively poor sensor quality that ships with most phones.

Hopefully, this will inspire us devs to come up with stuff that is truly useful, other than WIFI sharing and online storage of photos

Is there anyone else who thinks this would just be a fantastic smartphone? I love photography but I don't always have my DSLR with me, and more often than not when I really see something I want a photo of I don't have my DSLR and my phone is just not good enough. Although i might get some funny looks, this thing doesn't look to bulky for my deep pockets, and i wouldn't mind holding it up to my head to make phone calls. Add 4g to this thing and make it a phone please!

It is going to come down to price and that's all there is to it. People keep talking about the pic quality but it's not a final version. The lens is excellent quality and that will be easily fixed. The point is, Nikon's Android camera is $350 and not as full featured as this. How hard is Samsung going to hammer our wallets with this one. It's what i'm looking for, but will the price be reasonable? Methinks not!

That's so old news...the new HTC CAPSLOCK3000 4G LTE ASAP OMG BBQ is going to be in stores soon, you should check it out.

What surprises me is no one has mentioned eye-fi cards. I have an eye-fi card in my point and shoot camera which connects to my Galaxy S3 either over my home wifi network, over WiFi tethering from my phone or via a direct mode where the eye-fi card creates a network for my phone to connect too. Then using the MoPhotos app the photos are sent to my phone almost as soon as they are taken. From the Phone I then have full control of what happens next.

With this I can chose any camera I want (that takes SD Cards) and have all the features this camera will have.

I too have an Eye-Fi card. Yes it allows you to wirelessly transfer but it's clunky and slow by comparison. An Android camera would allow you to share photos as if you shot them with your smart phone in the first place.

a lot of people seem to be forgetting that the gs3 was taking horrible shots pre-release. that being said... i still think the s-pen would have been a great addition to this for editing photos.

Samsung makes garbage point and shoot cameras when compared to Nikon and Cannon. It's not going to change now that they put Galaxy branding on the camera.

While many of the above Samsung Galaxy Camera accessories are still prototypes, it’s clear Samsung has high hopes for its recently unveiled Android-powered point-and-shoot.

I've post this elsewhere but I will post it again as to why this camera makes NO SENSE at all. Ever been out on a trip\vacation and been taking many varied pictures with your P&S camera? I bet your battery died after about 300 shots or so and I bet that is with a 3" LCD screen. Your saving grace is if your P&S takes AA's and you can grab them from anywhere.

The BIGGEST power draw on any camera is the telephoto motor followed by the LCD screen. So Samsung went and made a P&S with HUGE screen in addition to a telephoto lens so that this camera with be dead after 160 shots or so. The POINT of having a P&S camera with you is to be able to TAKE PICTURES. A dead camera is no use to anyone..

Your saving grace is being prepared, period.

Our phones only have 5-7 hours of talk time. If we need more usage we have to charge them or have spare batteries to swap out or we're screwed but that doesn't stop us from buying cell phones.

And the reason P&S "only" get around 300 shots on a charge is that they usually have a 1000-1100 mAh battery. The Samsung Galaxy comes with a 1650. It should last quite a while if you don't play Angry Birds on it all day.