BERLIN -- Smartphones are taking over the point-and-shoot camera market, but Samsung today announced a product it hopes will reverse the trend by building phone technology into a 16-megapixel camera.
The Samsung Galaxy Camera is an Android 4.1 device with a large touch screen on one side, a 21x zoom lens on the other, and networking abilities in the middle. That last point is key: one of the big advantages of smartphones is that you can do something with the photo immediately after taking it -- sharing with friends on Facebook, for example.
And though camera makers have made phones with Wi-Fi, what sets the Galaxy Camera apart is the integration of 3G and 4G mobile-phone networking with HSPA+ wireless technology. That means you'll be able to share photos immediately -- but it also means you'll have to pay a carrier for the data you transmit.
Top alternatives to this model are Nikon's new Coolpix S800c, which has Android and Wi-Fi networking, and Nokia's 808 PureView, with a giant 41-megapixel camera but the dying Symbian operating system. Nokia's model relies on digital cropping as a substitute for a zoom lens, a design that makes it somewhat more compact than the Samsung even when the latter device is turned off and collapsed.