Earlier this month, AT&T began offering the Samsung Galaxy Camera, a 4G connected camera that runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The Galaxy Camera lets you connect to either a cellular network or a Wi-Fi network to share your photos and videos.
While Samsung isn't the first manufacturer to offer a connected camera, the Galaxy Camera is in a unique position since it is currently being sold through a major wireless carrier in the US. Nikon also offers an Android-embedded Wi-Fi only camera, the COOLPIX S800c, which runs on Android 2.3. The COOLPIX S800c also features built-in GPS.
In the past, Japanese companies have largely dominated the digital camera industry. That doesn't mean Samsung can't compete, however. Samsung has a leg-up in the connected electronic device market since it's a well-known brand. Samsung is currently a global market leader in televisions, smartphones, and memory chips. Given the company's experience with Android on smartphones, Samsung has an advantage in the connected camera market over traditional camera manufacturers who have little-to-no experience with mobile operating systems.
Last year, Samsung brought its camera and digital imaging business under the supervision of JK Shin who also heads up Samsung's mobile business. "Our camera business is quickly evolving ... and I think it will be able to set a new landmark for Samsung," Shin said at a recent event. "The product will open a new chapter in communications - visual communications."
Considering how many of us use our smartphones to snap and share pictures with friends and family, a connected camera that can automatically upload and share photos sounds handy. However, there's still the issue of carrying two devices. A standalone digital camera takes better pictures than a smartphone camera, but the best camera is always the one you have with you. As a result, Samsung and other connected camera manufacturers will need to convince consumers it's worth carrying both a smartphone and a connected camera.
Samsung's Galaxy Camera is available for $499.99 through AT&T. Various monthly data plan options are available. The camera features a 4.77-inch LCD touchscreen and a 21x optical zoom lens. Because the camera runs on Android users can download apps, edit photos, and play games on the camera. The Galaxy Camera also comes with other unique features that aren't typically found on a point-and-shoot camera such as voice control and Smart Content Manager.
AT&T is currently offering up to $100 off the purchase of a second Samsung Galaxy handset or other Samsung connected device, including the new Samsung Galaxy Camera, if you purchase a Samsung Galaxy smartphone (with a two-year agreement and compatible plans). This offer ends in January.