The mobile phone is the social camera

I started to leave a blog comment on Antonio’s post and decided to do it here instead …

When I read the rumor that Apple has ordered a 5MP CMOS sensor for an unspecified product, it screamed to me of another coming disruption, this time around the point-and-shoot slice of the digital camera market. Because while the market for digicams is still growing at a healthy clip, the fat belly of point-and-shoot cameras has been relatively stalled since 2007 and shows signs of becoming a segment dominated by price and share wars— in other words, ripe for an Apple-like disruption.

A lot of the industry analysts that cover the emerging mobile space have been saying for a long time that better cellphone cameras would eventually kill the point-and-shoot, but I’m not sure that it is quite that simple. Or that is, before we get to this cellphone-as-camera nirvana, we may still have room for the iPod Touch of cameras (one that is connected but without a data plan). This would allow for all sorts of neat use cases around the concept of the “Social Camera, ” some similar to what Eye-Fi allows today, albeit with richer, more mass-market integration.

And best of all, if such a device was based on the iPhone platform, we’d benefit from the same Precambrian-like explosion of apps to explore every corner of the programable camera universe in a much more rich way than any one company could.[ The Onda]

An interesting thought for sure, but here’s where I see it really going. I already have a social camera and it’s called ANY Nokia handset I’ve used in the past several years.

Here’s how it works:

  1. I take a picture and share it instantly via (your choice) Share Online or Shozu.
  2. My current arrangement is via Share Online and pics pass through Pixelpipe which is an amazing photo mediation service. My default setting sends pictures to Flickr, Ovi, Facebook and Twitpic – all at once. Share Online also regularly checks Ovi and Flickr for new media, media that I’ve commented on and media of mine that’s been commented on and brings it all to me – even nicely notifying me via the homescreen.
  3. Pictures and Video I capture are geotagged and mapped on the supporting services as well so I’ve got a very rich contextual map of my media.

The social camera is here now.  It’s easy to use and has worked for a while.  I”m sure Apple has a perspective on this, but my guess is that it will happen on the existing platform not via some new piece of hardware.

Quick N85 and N79 Photo Test

Just getting going with both the new devices and decided to snap a quick picture following breakfast today …

First the N85:

12/24/2008 - N85 Close Mode Pancakes

And now the N79:

12/24/2008 - N79 Close Mode Pancakes

Aside from the “pilot error” in focusing on slightly different parts of the plate, I’d call this pretty even. Both devices offer Carl Zeiss 5MP AutoFocusing optics and response time is excellent. The N85 had a much easier time acquiring my position over A-GPS, but that’s thanks to AT&T vs the T-Mobile TZones connection of my other SIM card.