Nikon put plenty of speculation to rest last night when it officially revealed the Coolpix s800c, the company’s first Android-powered digital camera. Thrilling, I know.
The Gingerbread-powered point-and-shoot features a 16-megapixel sensor, 10x optical zoom, and can shoot 1080p video to boot. Of course, all of that takes a backseat to the 3.5-inch LCD touch panel on the camera’s rear end, which allows users to fire up apps and browse the web (thanks to a nifty embedded Wi-Fi radio). Nikon plans to launch the chubby little guy in the U.S. with a $349 price tag next month, but I have to wonder how many people actually want a device like this.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for blurring the lines between product classes, but moving in some directions just seems to make more sense than moving in others. Smartphone producers like Apple and HTC have been pumping up the cameras in their devices because they know their users are going to be carrying the things around anyway. Giving those users (and potential customers, naturally) a solid way to capture the moments that unfold around them is a major selling point, and that’s not going to change any time soon.
What Nikon seemed to do here was go in the opposite direction — it’s like the company’s product development team looked at their crop of cameras and pondered how to make them more like those newfangled phones everyone’s always clamoring over. The end result seems to work well enough on a technical level (Imaging Resources has a great write-up of their time with the S800c), and though I have plenty of doubts only time will tell if the Android gimmick will play out as well as Nikon seems to hope.