Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Android Camera Revolution Is Not Yet Here

I have yet to comment on the upcoming Nikon S800c, which initially appears odd. I have frequently said that the company that is first to turn their cameras into a platform is the company that will rule the next generation of cameras. I expected that company to be one of the smaller players — Panasonic, maybe Samsung — and   that prediction may yet hold true. Oh sure, Nikon has announced a camera. And it does have Android. But to say that it's something special is something different entirely.

The S800c is a relatively low-end digital camera. Its ergonomics, build, design, optics, and sensor are all budget-level hardware. The only thing that stands out is the inclusion of Android. And that, right there, is the reason why this is nothing. Simply releasing a cell phone with a big lens and no cellular radio is not what I mean when I say a camera as a platform. I mean that Nikon needs to design and implement an entire standard around the OS. I'm talking a platform, with an API, a marketplace, and stadardized hardware.

A camera that will produce images barely in excess of the iPhone, will have no software produced especially for it, and still costs $30 more than most people will pay for an iPhone is not a revolution. It's not even an attempt. It's Nikon, hoping to trick a few idiots out of some money.

You may be thinking that Nokia has brought the revolution with their jaw-dropping 808 Pureview. While they could do this, they would need to completely redirect their efforts. The 808, and the eventual Windows Phone Pureview phones, are all cell phones first, cameras second. We need a camera company that is going to release top-flight, professional imaging gear with Android as the OS and their ordinary camera imaging software as either a parallel OS or an application.

We need a company that is going to lay down the foundation on which application developers can do great work. We need a company that is going to create a standard so developers know for what they are creating applications. The future belongs to the company that is going to create and than shepherd a tight integration of technology and software and make it easy for others to participate. It does not belong to a company that releases the products about which it actually cares with all of the same, old shackles and restrictions that they always have.

This camera is worthy of no attention. The inclusion of Android is a gimmick. It will fail to sell. It is not the future.

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