Smartphone with Camera, or the Other Way Round? Samsung Galaxy Zoom with Optical Zoom Camera Jumps into the Fray

June 14, 2013, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

 If you have been following the success of the South Korean tech giant Samsung, you might have already noticed that this company is always ready to experiment with technological shifts in its products.

Most of the time, this attitude has given Sammy an advantage and aids it in taking a leap ahead of its competitors. As has always been the case, it has never come as a surprise when we hear Samsung is looking to introducing something new.

Throwing in enhancements in the camera department is something hardware makers are into these days. A couple of days ago I had posted an article on how camera enhancement features in Apple’s iOS 7 support 60fps video capture. It is a known fact that 30fsp is the smartphone standard, and so the new enhanced iOS 7 feature would mean that the next gen iPhone would come sporting camera that boasts 60fps video capture support.

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Further, Nokia is also said to be in the works with a 41 megapixel PureView snapper for a future smartphone model. In fact, Nokia’s full-on EOS 41-megapixel camera gave us a sneak peak some time ago by way of a leaked video.

Samsung doesn’t want to be just one among the pack. And look what the company has brought to your midst now. A new smartphone whose camera offers optical zoom!

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom smartphone carries a high quality camera with optical zoom that stretches out of the phone body. Though smartphone cameras have improved a lot in the past, their resolution and zoom quality still continues to trail behind conventional cameras. It is here Samsung is trying to bring in a high quality camera perched into a slim smartphone.

I don’t have to tell you that the camera industry is fighting a fall in sales of digital cameras. Going by what research firm IDC estimates, by year 2016, the digital camera market will be three-fifths of what it was in 2010.

Marrying phone tech with outstanding camera features is what Samsung wants to do. Samsung Electronics Co, incidentally, is a dominant player in the camera market and digital cameras form a big chunk of its business.

According to Lim Sun-hong, senior vice president with Samsung’s digital imaging business, there is a huge opportunity to combine a wireless connectivity of a smartphone with a good picture quality camera. Samsung’s efforts to combine smartphone usability, portability and connectivity to a camera that lets the customers to quickly share high-quality photos online can be seen as a move in the right direction.

The idea of a web connected camera is not new. Samsung had introduced its Galaxy camera last year and it offered 3G connection and Google Android operating system along with photo sharing apps. Even Google’s Senior Vice President Andy Rubin, had earlier admitted that the open-source platform was initially designed for digital cameras, not for smartphones.

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The Galaxy S4 Zoom smartphone, otherwise called the Galaxy S Mini, would sport a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor, optical image stabilization and Xenon Flash.  The handset runs Android Jelly Bean 4.2. OS and supports 2.5G, 3G or 4G LTE networks.

Other important specifications of the smartphone include a 4.3-inch qHD super AMOLED screen with 960 x 540 pixel resolution, 1.5 GHz dual-core processor and 1.9-megapixel  front camera.

The Galaxy Zoom would come with pre-loaded Photo Suggest software to connect users to libraries of images on the Web. It also has Samsung’s Smart Mode pre-set modes — which enables users to merge continuous shots of moving images into one and offers suggestion on clicking the best shot.

The manufacturer is also offering feature like Story Album that allows users to transfer images onto a laptop or tablet, and Homesync feature, which lets users to sync all data into their own personal cloud.

However, there are a few who still wouldn’t vouch for the idea of optical zoom in a smartphone. According to them, the biggest strength of smartphones is portability. But, with the addition of optical zoom in the smartphones is like stretching it too much, because this will add to the weight of the smartphone.

On whose side are you?

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