Smartphones are such a contradiction lately. There was a time when cellphones were big, because components were big, and then that time when these were so miniaturized that they were hard to use. Smartphones began in that miniaturization stage, and therefore, having a 2.5-inch display on a thick device was a standard. Fast-forward to today, and all we hear are “big”-inch displays and the famous phrase “thin and light”.
Not everybody likes thin and light though. Some prefer the heft of a phone they can feel in their hands, and some even relate this feeling to their opinions of either if the device is well constructed or cheap. Regardless of the case, we’re all quick to judge a device by how it feels in the hand, and I’ll admit that I’ve been spoiled by the “thin and light” mentality that’s flocked the market for the past couple of years.
2012 was more of an odd year that’s gone against thin and light. Phablets began their experiment to see if people would ever care about a big phone, and then we even got devices like the Nokia 808 PureView, which also experimented with people’s true need for a portable camera on a phone. By contrast, Samsung also tried their luck with the Galaxy Camera, which we immediately panned because it lacked phone functionality, but even funnier was the fact that we weren’t careful about what we wished for.
A Galaxy Camera without phone functionality simply didn’t make any sense at its price range, but now that Samsung has announced the Galaxy S 4 Zoom, I can’t tell you that I feel any happier than I did. I’m still debating whether that thing will sell, or become another Galaxy Camera. The reason why I say this is because the Galaxy Camera was too expensive to sell, and once you saw the quality of those stills, you’d be even less compelled to buy one.
Today marks the first week since the announcement of Samsung’s new products, and I still feel that the Galaxy S 4 Zoom is a bad idea. In my case, that’s actually odd since I’m a big fan of sharing cool photos on Instagram, so I’d be the perfect customer for the concept. My problem is that the phone is just too thick for me to want to carry it around. Taking stills only makes around 5% of daily usage of my smartphones, so I still debate the need of carrying a phone that’s 300% thicker just to give me a better experience 5% of the time.
Obviously, for Samsung to fit a real point-and-shoot with a phone, there’s no way around the design but to sandwich them together, but that’s when I question the form factor even more. Think about this though: If Samsung would build a Galaxy Camera sleeve or adaptor for a Galaxy S 4, wouldn’t you consider that a smarter idea? I would, and here’s why:
Expansion is always better than a fixed Galaxy S 4 Zoom
One of the things that immediately convinced me to buy my first Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC, was that I could expand its functionality. Back in the year 2000, it didn’t have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cellphone capabilities, nor even expandable storage, but it included a port that allowed me to expand it as I saw fit. Back in those days Wi-Fi was so hard to find that it didn’t make sense to have the sleeve permanently attached, so it was cool to know that I could remove the bulk from the Pocket PC as needed.
Just as we’ve seen Samsung come-up with a gaming controller for all their Galaxy phones, can you imagine a Camera expansion module for Galaxy phones? A cool adaptor that you could attach to the phone on your next trip to the beach, but that you can take off to use the phone when you work out?
I honestly think that would be a genius move. You’d receive the added benefits of optical image stabilization, optical zoom and a Xenon flash, but only for when you need them. Just the idea of sandwiching my phone with a camera and not having to carry two devices is cool enough, but the piece of mind that my phone won’t always be that thick is even cooler on my book.
Samsung could revolutionize accessories once again
Whether it’s game controllers, a digital camera, or even a portable battery charger, expansion sleeves have always been a cool idea that died-off too soon. Think of he possibilities of a phone that you can transform into other things. We’ve seen this already in cases like the Asus PadFone, where you can even turn your phone into a tablet. Jolla is doing the same concept where you can swap the back of the phone in order to bring added functionality to the smartphone depending on your needs.
Obviously the price tag on these accessories would determine their popularity in the market, but Samsung has already proven that they have enough truckloads of cash to experiment with everything, so this would top my wish list for the future Galaxy flagship.
The bottom line
As our own Joe Levi always says, it’s great to be alive in this day and age. You and I make what experts call the Generation X, where we’ve grown to see technology grow with us in our daily lives. We’ve seen products come and go, fail and succeed, and ironically, those more minimalistic products have proven to be the survivors. It’s clear that a product is always more useful if it’s the best at doing just one thing, and not the case when we try to converge one thing with another permanently. The choice to expand the device is the middle ground that would solve tons a problems.
So, my personal decision is that I sadly don’t want a Galaxy S 4 Zoom. I would love to get a Galaxy S 4 or a Galaxy S 5 that I can expand to be whatever I want, and definitely a digital camera would top my list of accessories to buy that same day that I pick-up the phone.
What about you? Would you buy a Galaxy S 4 Zoom, or would you prefer the option to make your current smartphone, something better than it is, and saving you the need to buy a separate accessory all together? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.