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SEOUL: South Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung Electronics Co is taking aim at its Japanese rivals with an Android-powered digital camera that allows users to swiftly and wirelessly upload pictures to social networking sites.
The Galaxy camera lets users connect to a mobile network or Wi-Fi to share photographs and video without having to hook up the camera to a computer.
While it’s not the first to the market, Samsung’s financial and marketing clout suggest it could be the biggest threat to Japanese domination of a digital camera industry which research firm Lucintel sees growing to $46bn by 2017 and where big brands include Canon Inc, Sony Corp, Panasonic Corp, Nikon Corp and Olympus Corp.
Samsung last year brought its camera and digital imaging business - one of its smallest - under the supervision of JK Shin, who heads a mobile business that generated 70 percent of Samsung’s $7.4bn third-quarter profit.
“Our camera business is quickly evolving ... and I think it will be able to set a new landmark for Samsung,” Shin said at a launch event in Seoul. “The product will open a new chapter in communications - visual communications,” he said, noting good reviews for the Samsung Galaxy camera which went on sale in Europe and the United States earlier this month.
The Galaxy camera, which sells in the United States for $499.99 through AT&T with various monthly data plans, features a 4.8-inch (12.2 cm) LCD touchscreen and a 21x optical zoom lens. Users can send photos instantly to other mobile devices via a 4G network, access the Internet, email and social network sites, edit photos and play games.
The easy-to-use camera, and the quality of the pictures, is aimed at mid-market ‘pro-sumers’ - not quite professional photographers but those who don’t mind paying a premium for user options not yet available on a smartphone - such as an optical, rather than digital, zoom, better flash, and image stabilisation.
The appeal of high picture quality cameras with wireless connection has grown as social media services such as Facebook Inc drive a boom in rapid shoot-and-share photos. “At a price point higher than some entry-level interchangeable-lens cameras, the Galaxy camera should appeal to a consumer willing to pay an initial and ongoing premium for 24/7 creative interactivity,” said Cutting. Reuters