Samsung's Galaxy Camera: Android 4.1, 4G, and four CPU cores

Not too long after I hit the publish button on this head-to-head comparison of app-running cameras, Samsung announced its own app-centric shooter. In terms of smartphone-like features, this one cooks with gas.

The Samsung Galaxy Camera is a 21X pocket megazoom that runs Android, with a huge touchscreen on the back for interacting with apps. You can download apps directly to the camera via a built-in Google Play Store interface.

For its connectivity options, this is the first standalone camera that will go beyond Wi-Fi. There will be two versions of the Galaxy Camera: one with a 3G radio in addition to Wi-Fi, and one with a 4G radio in addition to Wi-Fi. Samsung wasn't able to provide details on pricing schemes or potential carriers for the camera's 3G and 4G data services.

The Samsung Galaxy Camera will run the latest version of the Android operating system (Android 4.1 Jelly Bean), which is a much fresher version than the Nikon Coolpix S800C's Android 2.3 OS. Samsung's new camera also boasts a 1.4GHz quad-core processor.

If you look past the Galaxy Camera's smartphone-like features and futuristic physical design, it shares many of the same specs as the Samsung WB850F. Like the WB850F, the Galaxy Camera has an optically stabilized 21X zoom lens (23mm to 483mm) with a maximum aperture of F2.8, the same size 16-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, 1080p video recording at 30fps, and in-camera GPS.

One big difference is the display, as the Galaxy Camera offers a roomy 4.8-inch-diagonal touchscreen that's easily the biggest LCD on any pocketable camera; it should offer plenty of room to play around with apps. However, the Galaxy Camera also looks like it's missing the manual exposure controls and SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot of the WB850F; instead, it has 8GB of internal storage and a MicroSD/MicroSDHC card slot. (Update: IDG News Service's Nick Barber had some hands-on time with the Galaxy Camera at the IFA show in Berlin, and there are manual exposure controls in the camera's mix of features; they're in the camera's menu of "Expert Modes.")

While the new Galaxy Camera was announced today, Samsung hasn't offered up pricing or release-date information yet. If its photos look as good as the ones taken by the Samsung WB850F, it'll be a huge plus; the WB850F turned in scores of Good or better for all categories in PCWorld Labs' image-quality tests.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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