Cerevo Cam: Hands-On With The Social Camera That Directly Uploads Pictures To The Web

cerevo_logoAn easy to use digital camera that automatically uploads pictures to various websites without using a USB cable, a memory card reader or Eye-Fi? If that’s something you’ve always wanted, the Cerevo Cam, made by Tokyo-based startup Cerevo [JP], might be the right device for you.

After months of development work (the camera was completely designed from scratch and in-house), the shoot-and-upload camera is finally available in Japan. To recap, the big idea here is to simplify the process of uploading and sharing pictures online. Cerevo Cam users can send pictures directly from the device to the corresponding photo management site (dubbed Cerevo Life), mail addresses or to a number of web services – even when the camera is turned off (a feature that Eye-Fi doesn’t offer).

The so-called “Networked Camera” detects Wi-Fi spots and transfers pictures automatically without you needing to take it out of your bag. You can choose at which time(s) the upload should take place or initiate this yourself from the menu. The auto upload function, probably the most important feature, worked flawlessly during my test (Cerevo gave me a sample for a few days). Alternatively, you can use a 3G modem with it (to be connected through USB).

Here are pictures of the camera and box (final designs – more pics in my earlier Cerevo post):

These are the final specs of the camera:

  • 9MP CMOS sensor
  • Pan Focus
  • 2.4-inch TFT display
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
  • 3G modem-enabled (over USB)
  • USB port
  • No internal memory (MicroSD card slot)
  • size: 120x60x16mm (iPhone 3G: 115.5×62.1×12.3mm)
  • weight: 117g (including the battery)

The device has four main buttons (on/off button, shutter release, white balance switch and strobe switch) and a D-pad for navigating the menu (Japanese and English). It’s available in black or white and has a Japanese street price of $225.

Here are two sample pictures (more can be found here – scroll down to the gallery).

Quality wise, you get what you can expect from a point-and-shoot camera that puts emphasis on simplicity. Snaps can not only be sent directly to Cerevo Life or email addresses but also to Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, TwitPic, Picasa and a bunch of Japan-only sites. Once the auto upload is finished, the camera notifies you via email (which happens when the battery is about to die, too, by the way). You can control to which sites you want the pictures posted to either via Cerevo’s homepage or their mobile site.

As far as global sales are concerned, Cerevo CEO Takuma Iwasa told me he wants to explore the domestic market first to use that experience for a possible world-wide release at a later time. And he should, since the country that’s home to the most social media geeks (clearly his main target group) is America – and not Japan.

His camera appears to do well so far in Japan (where it’s been available for pre-order for a few days now). But what do you think: Has Cerevo carved out a niche for themselves with their social point-and-shoot or will you go on using your “normal” cameras and smartphones to share pictures online?