By Alexandra Burlacu | Aug 22, 2012 12:13 PM EDT
Japanese company Nikon has released the first mainstream digital camera to run on Google's popular Android operating system. The company's point-and-shoot Coolpix S800c model is powered by Android 2.3.3 with Google Services and is being marketed as a "social imaging device."
The rise of smartphones has negatively impacted demand for compact cameras, but Nikon said that its Coolpix S800c offers superior picture quality thanks to the size of its lens, and also allows users to install photo-editing apps and other software. According to the company, the camera's Wi-Fi connectivity and its new software facilitate sharing, making it easier for users to upload their pictures to social networks.
"Just like a smartphone or tablet device, the camera has the opportunity to run camera-specific photo and video applications, yet enables the various benefits of shooting with a camera," Nikon said in a statement. "The S800c provides access to a vast world of applications for games, productivity and personal communication/email, including Nikon's photo storage and sharing site."
The main selling point of Nikon's "smart camera" is that it runs on Android with Google services, which, coupled with the built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, means you can easily upload 16-megapixel images or 1080p videos straight to your preferred social network or cloud service. While you can also play games and perform a variety of tasks, the 1,050mAh battery may not be enough for prolonged entertainment.
The folks over at Endgadget got their hands on the S800c, and they report satisfactory performance.
"Both the camera's speed and quality weren't bad at all, and likewise with the 3.5-inch 854 x 480 OLED multitouch display - the high pixel density makes the PenTile arrangement more forgivable," wrote the tech site's Richard Lai.
The S800c's camera can also run independently from Android while the Google OS is booting up. This is possible because Nikon uses a shut-down timer one Android goes on standby. When the camera is completely switched off, pressing the power button will take you straight into camera mode, allowing you to start shooting pictures immediately. The interface goes back into smart mode about half a minute later, and you can hit the back or home button to toggle the Android unlock screen.
"This cunning trick would probably explain why we couldn't get any internal hardware detail from the few benchmark tools we installed, but we did squeeze out a score of 614 in Vellamo," reported Endgadget.
The Nikon Coolpix S800c will be available next month for $350 in the U.S. and £379 in the UK, about half the price of top-end Android smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 or the HTC One X.
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