The Connected Camera
Anti-shake, red-eye reduction, smile and blink detection, on-board editing and panoramic stitching. Sound like a spec list for the latest premium point-and-shoot?
This year, those imaging features are just as likely to be found on smartphones, which have the added benefit of photo-sharing aids like one-button uploading to social media sites and geo-tagging. Nokia, the cellphone manufacturer with the largest phone market share globally, has placed a high priority on image capture in its line of premium smartphones, the N-series. We recently talked with Ira Frimere, a portfolio manager at Nokia, about the changes in consumer habits and awareness as more people begin using their cell phones as a pocket-cam and camcorder.
DS: We’ve seen research suggesting that camera phones will account for 62% of all digital photos taken in 2009. Are you seeing a massive transition in how people collect images?
IF: Yes, 100%. Once they capture pictures or video on their phones, some people still want to maintain privacy, but nowadays, we’re finding that most folks really want to share their content with everyone in their social network. It’s inefficient for them to send photos or videos to one person at a time. They want a service that enables them to do it with one click. Nokia’s service is called Ovi Share (ovi.com). The idea here is that folks can take pics and videos, and with one click share them either with a small group of friends and family or pretty much the entire internet-connected world.
DS: What are the limitations these days on capturing high-quality images from a phone?
IF: Remember, it’s not just megapixels that determine the quality of a camera. It’s the lens and the ability, for instance, to shoot wide-angle. We’ve utilized Carl Zeiss [a German lens manufacturer] technology, partnering with them on our N-series devices. The N-86 [a Symbian smartphone featuring 3G, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth] has an 8-megapixel camera. Our N-series devices have excellent shutter speed, flash technology and can handle sensitive light situations as well. A lot of consumers, especially here in North America, don’t realize how good cameras have become on mobile devices. Dual LED flash technology has come a long way. I don’t see any limitations down the road.