By Naushad K. Cherrayil
The world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer is blurring the line between smartphones and digital still cameras, converging them into a single device with the Galaxy S4 Zoom, which was launched in the UAE on Monday.Available for Dh1,899 ($512), the S4 Zoom is more than a phone. It takes the body of a 4.3 inch Galaxy S4 mini and adds a 16MP CMOS sensor and 10x optical zoom to create a new category in the market.
When asked whether the device would live up to the hype, Hayssam Yassine, head of telecommunications group at Samsung Gulf Electronics, told Gulf News that smartphones with high quality cameras are becoming increasingly popular in this region and this hybrid device would meet the demands of consumers.
Nokia had launched a similar concept with a 41MP camera but it did not click in the market. But Nokia is again coming out with a similar concept in the Lumia models soon.
“The feedback we got from customers when Galaxy Zoom camera was launched was that it only had WiFi and some need a 3G connection. The logic behind the S4 Zoom is instead of carrying two devices, they need to carry one,” Yassine said.
Samsung targets techology buffs and social media enthusiasts with this device.
Communication turns visual
Yassine said that communication is becoming increasingly visual, with people wanting to capture and share their moments in the highest quality possible, but often do not have the space or inclination to carry a dedicated camera for this purpose.
But according to Hamza Saleem, senior research analyst at IDC , the trend for using a smartphone for capturing photos is very vague. People still use professional cameras to take photos and not smartphones.
“Samsung is seeking to extend its Galaxy models in a bid to cater to different people and price segments. I don’t think this hybrid device will compete in the digital still camera. Professionals may prefer using professional cameras, but others tend to use smartphones to capture photos,” Yassine said.
According to industry figures, Samsung ranks fourth globally in the compact and interchangeable lens cameras market with a market share of 9.4 per cent. Canon holds 22.6 per cent market share, followed by Nikon with 20.9 per cent and Sony with 14.8 per cent.
The 4.3-inch AMOLED device is powered by 1.5Ghz dual-core processor with a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels and runs on latest Android Jelly Bean operating system. It houses 1.5GB RAM and 8GB storage capacity and can be expanded up to 64GB using microSD slot. It weighs 208 grams.
Samsung has launched it only in 3G version in the UAE. The 4G LTE version will be available in August.