The Samsung Galaxy Camera (EK-GC100) is a 1.4Ghz Quad-Core portable device with a 21x Zoom (23mm~483mm) lens and a 16.1 Megapixel BSI image sensor running Android 4.1. It looks like someone glued a point and shoot camera to the back of a Samsung Galaxy SIII. People who only equate Android with smartphones will immediately comment about its size. People with "vision" will realize there is a lot of potential when combining a relatively open OS like Android with a sensor and lens of this quality.
This is not the first Android powered camera to hit the market. The Nikon Coolpix S800C was released earlier in the year. It's specs were not that impressive and most importantly it did not support Google Play. Samsung learned from Nikons mistakes and released a camera with top of the line hardware and access to the Google Play store.
So why am I excited about this new camera? Two reasons:
1) An Android based camera connected to Google Play creates a whole new apps market. With Instagraph creating excitement around computational photography, it's intriguing to imagine the types of apps the community will create.
2) A real sensor and lens on an affordable computer vision development platform.
The biggest problem with developing computer vision and computational photography applications for smartphones is the limitation of the camera sensor and lens. Smartphone cameras tend to have low dynamic range, poor light sensitivity and a fixed focus lens. The EK-GC100 has a BSI or Back Side Illuminated sensor which provides significantly better light sensitivity than "standard" smartphone sensors. According to Endgadget, sensitivity goes to ISO 3200.
Unfortunately, I am sick as a dog this weekend (caught cold from kids) so this is about as much as I can write this week. I am considering buying a EK-GC100, it currently selling for $399.99 with discount at AT&T but the deal requires a 2 year service agreement (the camera has a 4G modem). I would much rather have a WiFi only version at $399.99 and save the $30.00 a month. Hopefully this week I will loose this cold and be able to visit the AT&T store.
P.S. If you wer ever interested in the CHDK hack for Canon cameras, this would definitely be the phone for you.
P.P.S. Some questions to get your creative juices flowing:
1) Does the camera support the ADK?
2) Is there a zoom API?
3) Does OpenCV4Android support the camera interface?