During a visit to Korea this week, we had a chance to sit down with members of Samsung's marketing team for Digital Imaging Business. While much of the discussion centered on the company's latest (and upcoming) cameras, the team was frank enough to respond to questions about standalone cameras' chances of surviving alongside smartphones.
Cameras in an Age of Smartphones
Citing the company's several Wi-Fi-enabled shooters, Samsung told us that a connected camera is worthwhile to have as a standalone device. The company even hinted that it's working to make a camera interface more like that of smartphones. According to Dohyeon Kim, director of Sales and Marketing for Digital Imaging Business, "We'd like to make smartphones and cameras companions, not enemies."
Does this mean we'll see a 4G Android camera someday?
While we--unsurprisingly--didn't receive a yes or no question to this line of questioning, the VP of marketing told us that the company is researching an "open OS camera." And given that Samsung's phones run on Android, it's a safe assumption that any smartphone-like OS running on its cameras would at least be based on Android. What's more, Samsung didn't respond with a flat-out no when questioned about the idea of subsidizing connected cameras to run on carrier networks (much like the smartphone business model).
If cameras could essentially become, at the very least, portable media players running a full smartphone OS minus the calling and texting capabilities, it's logical to think that Samsung might add other of its phones' features to upcoming cameras. We wondered about integration of the Galaxy Note's S Pen specifically. "I've thought of that myself," said Kim, vice president of R&D for Digital Imaging Business, "as it could be useful for editing photos. The technology is ready; it's just about waiting for the right time [to introduce it]."
Samsung on the Possibility of a 3D Camera
"According to our survey, consumers' demand for 3D isn't very high," said Kim.
On the Future of Camcorders
"I don't see a big demand for camcorders in the future," said Kim. "However, ruggedized camcorders are getting popular."