By Michael Fisher | January 21, 2013 11:58 AM
Here at Pocketnow, we’ve spent a fair bit of time with the Galaxy Camera. Samsung’s peculiar Android device caught our eye at IFA, helped us shoot some of our behind-the-scenes footage at CES, and we even took it for a spin as a daily-driver replacement for a weekend, but that’s been the extent of our interaction with the GC-100.
That’s because, for all its novelty, the Galaxy Camera has its shortcomings: it’s a big, thick, and heavy device, its feel-in-hand closer to a small DSLR than the point-and-shoots it’s meant to compete with. And there’s no exceptional performance justifying the added bulk; many reviewers agree that the camera itself is rather average, its stand-out feature being the full version of Android that powers the whole experience. Even that software is disappointing in some respects, often turning out performance that’s laggier than that on comparably powered devices. The Galaxy Camera is no train wreck or Worst Gadget Ever, but it’s still very much a first-generation device.
So what about the GC-200, the presumable followup? It’s a little early to start planning for the sequel of a device just released a few months ago, but we think there’s reason to be excited about it all the same. Here’s a few reasons why.
Samsung Knows What Sequels Are About
Remember when the Galaxy Note came out? The device confused and amused the tech world, prompting many to ask who would buy such a peculiar monstrosity. Samsung then proceeded to sell millions of them, creating a new device category from scratch before crafting a sequel that’s earned some of our highest marks and looks to be selling at a brisk pace.
That’s because Samsung knows not just how to make good on a bold promise, but how to improve on it in subsequent iterations. The Note sold because it was a good device; the Note II is selling even better, because it’s an excellent one. Remember, this is a category Samsung just made up one day, because it felt like being crazy. These guys know their stuff when it comes to making weird stuff work.
Samsung’s Big On Features
When it dropped the Galaxy S III on us last year, Samsung didn’t just bring us a new phone. It delivered an incredible array of new features at the same time, from gestures and motion-based controls to Smart Stay, and everything in between. Samsung was especially active in customizing the camera app on the Galaxy S line, adding enough new features that we created a video tour just to take you through them all.
Considering the company’s affinity for value-adding capabilities, it’s tantalizing to think what it might include in a Galaxy Camera II. Maybe changeable lenses to push the limits of what a point-and-shoot is capable of, with manual focus ability – possibly with an exotic touch like NFC thrown in, so the camera software knows what lens is attached and behaves accordingly.
Even if the dream of swappable lenses were shelved -it might be too advanced for the target customer- it’s not out of the realm of possibility to think a smaller, squatter, lighter lens might be attached. Samsung would probably have to sacrifice some of that 21x optical zoom to do so, but if it results in a svelter device, maybe with room for a larger battery, that’s a tradeoff we could probably live with. And it it were augmented by a bigger, higher-resolution display, we’d have a camera truly well-suited to shooting-and-sharing. Speaking of which …
They Might Put A Phone In It
Admittedly, this idea is far-fetched: grafting voice-calling capability onto a smaller, lighter Galaxy Camera carries a danger of undermining the rest of Samsung’s smartphone lineup, and that’s reason enough most companies wouldn’t even consider it. Plus, the idea is kind of absurd.
But this is Samsung. The company that cooked up the idea of the Galaxy Camera in the first place – not to mention the Note, a legion of bizarre dumbphones, and a friggin’ refrigerator that tweets. This is a corporation you don’t want to underestimate in the Crazy department. This is a group of people that would throw a phone in a camera just because you said they wouldn’t. Then they’d mail you a photo of the piles of money their bizarre Frankenphone made, just to rub it in.
Maybe that’s an exaggeration. And we may never see a Galaxy Camera with actual (read: non-Skype) voice-calling capability. But the first thing Anton and I thought, when we picked up a demo model at IFA, was that this thing would be a great 808 PureView competitor if it only had a phone. And we can’t imagine that someone inside Samsung isn’t having that exact same thought as he or she pores over schematics for the basically-inevitable Galaxy Camera II.