Would Dick Tracy wear this?

berg watchDutch designer Hermen van den Burg says his smartwatch combines robust functionality with avant-garde design in a convenient user-friendly device — at an affordable price. 

The Burg 12 Smartwatch has full phone functionality to make and receive calls with the watch’s speakerphone, using an included SIM card, or paired with either an iPhone or Android phone.

Why are we covering it here? Well, it also has a camera built in, because these days, what doesn’t? However, we couldn’t find any indication what resolution it captured, so we’d guess it’s in the low megapixels.

The watch has a 1.5-inch touchscreen with a 240 x 240 resolution. It also provides music and video playback, a calendar, contact list, and voice recording.

It’s $199 at Walmart and on Amazon.

Fujifilm adds affordable X to enthusiast line


fujifilm xm-1

With its X line of compact cameras, Fujifilm had targeted imaging enthusiasts who would pay a bit more for higher picture quality (and retro styling). Now the com is broadening its approach a bit with a smaller, lighter and more affordable model.

The new X-M1 compact system camera is Fujifilm’s third mirror-free interchangeable lens model in its well-received X series. It has the same 16-megapixel APS-C-sized X-Trans sensor used in the company’s X-Pro1 and X-E1, WiFi connectivity, and a 3-inch tilting display. It weighs 11.6 ounces and measures 4.6 x 2.6 x 1.5 inches — “about half the size of a traditional DSLR body,” Fuji adds.

The X-M1 ships with a new 16-50mm zoom lens for $800.

More information is here.


Samsung adds Android to ILC


samsung system

There have been quite a few cameras lately that use the Android operating system — Samsung Electronics just announced a compact model with a zoom earlier this month — so many, actually, that you might have thought there was already an interchangeable lens model out there. But no: the new Galaxy NX is reportedly the first ILC with Android.

The new camera also provides 3G/4G LTE & WiFi connectivity — But no, it can’t make a phone call. It can run all current Android apps, and so may further spur imaging innovation there.

Samsung says the Galaxy NX “combines cutting edge optical performance with connectivity capabilities and galaxy of applications based on Android eco-system, all in one stylish package. The result is a new type of connected device, which allows users to turn their experiences into a story that can be instantly shared with anyone they choose, from wherever they might be, in amazing color and outstanding detail.”

The camera has a 20-megapixel APS-C-sized sensor, and a huge 4.8-inch touchscreen. It shoots 8.6 frames per second, with a 1/6000-sec shutter speed. The hybrid autofocus system uses both phase and contrast detection.

Pricing and availability were not announced.

More information is here.


Eye-Fi simplifies camera to phone image transfer


eye-fi mobi

What can you do when you just shot a good picture with your unconnected camera that you want to see on your tablet, or share online through your phone? While many new cameras can connect to your smartphone, it can be tricky if not impossible to do it with an older model.

Now Eye-Fi says it’s not just enabled but simplified the connection. “Mobi instantly delivers your best photos and videos from your camera to your smartphone or tablet,” the company says. “No wireless network required. Mobi creates its own WiFi so it works anywhere you are.”

Once you add the app, the new SD storage card pairs to your mobile device — without the requirement of previous cards to first be configured through your computer. From then on, it will transfer photos whenever new content is detected by the device. Once the transfer completes, the card disconnects its WiFi to save your battery.

“Smartphones fall short for life’s many moments that require zooming, high-speed shooting, low light and other features that make digital cameras superior,” Eye-Fi says. “Mobi provides photo lovers a no compromises solution: great quality pictures and videos of a digital camera and instant access on the smartphone to enjoy and share.”

The cards start at $50 for 8GB.

eye-fi mobi transmit


Counting up Consumer desire for Connected cameras


infotrendsIn 2012, less than 15 percent of all camera models introduced featured connectivity. In 2013, that will likely be closer to 30 percent. Good news, right? Well, research firm InfoTrends notes, 100 percent of camera phones are connected — and connectivity is what most customers want.

In its survey of the digital camera end-user market, InfoTrends presented varying product concepts — and WiFi-enabled cameras specifically received the highest interest ratings; overall  connected and smart cameras show high levels of interest.

“Camera vendors need to make sure the sharing feature is simple and easy to use to guarantee consumer adoption of this feature/function,” the firm says. The phone “has become the everyday camera for most consumers and continues to steal more and more photo taking activity away from traditional cameras. The image quality produced by camera phones is constantly improving; traditional camera vendors cannot rely on image quality alone to compete with camera phones.”

InfoTrends says its study considers the ways in which user demographics are changing, highlights the segments that should be targeted in future marketing efforts, and spotlights what consumers are doing with their digital photos.

The $5,000 2012 Digital Camera End-user Survey features 63 pages of analysis with 49 tables and figures. InfoTrends says it’s been conducting end-user surveys to track the adoption and usage of digital cameras for more than a decade. “Behaviors are not always predictable, so a useful part of this research is tracking how the market changes from year-to-year as a result of new products, prices, and increased consumer awareness.”


Samsung sans 4G: Galaxy cam goes WiFi only



When Samsung debuted its Android-based Galaxy camera, one complaint was that it was all-but a smart phone that could not make calls, despite having a 3G/4G cellular connection — a connection you had to pay for.

Now the company has iterated the design with a new model that forgoes the phone transceiver for simple straight-up WiFi-only communications. The plainly named Galaxy Camera (WiFi) runs the Android 4 operating system, “making shooting, enjoying, editing and sharing images from a single device easier than ever before,” the company says.

The camera has a 21x lens, 16 megapixel sensor, 4.8-inch touchscreen, and 19 shooting modes. Pricing wasn’t announced.


Connected Cams: Panasonic boosts WiFi with NFC


panasonic NFC

Like most other pontificatin’ pundits in the picture biz, I’ve long advocated that cameras need better, easier, connectivity — it should never have been such a challenge to get pictures off the early models, and even today most cams clumsily connect via cables.

So I’m chagrined I missed covering Panasonic’s compacts [we did get in its new wearable video device] announced earlier this month that feature not just WiFi, but the newfangled near-field communications, or NFC.

panasonic lumix 20

The Lumix DMC-ZS30 is billed as the company’s “most advanced photo and video hybrid” and “one of the world’s slimmest 20x optical zoom digital compact cameras,” with 50p HD video, 18 megapixel stills, and WiFi.

The integrated WiFi lets the camera connect to a smartphone or tablet for remote control, and “transform the device’s screen into a real-time viewfinder… and control the camera’s zoom and shutter directly from the device.”

The NFC makes connecting the camera to a similarly-enabled phone much simpler — just bump them together, and the close-proximity radios initiate the WiFi connection automatically.

The camera also has new five-axis correction to counteract tilt or handshake, Panasonic says. “Whether you find yourself wandering through a bustling foreign city or travelling along a bumpy road in the middle of nowhere, you can be certain of perfect quality video.” It also has GPS, fast autofocus of 0.1 seconds, and 10 frames per second continuous shooting.

The similar ZS25 has a 16MP sensor. Panasonic also added NFC and WiFi to its latest waterproof rugged cameras, the DMC-TS5 and TS25, and debuted an ultrathin XS1: 14mm thick, with a 5x zoom.


On the DIMAcast: With Circ, Eye-Fi offers online image storage and syncing


Eye-Fi was the pioneer in connected cameras, providing storage cards that also added WiFi to off-the-shelf cameras from major manufacturers. With the Circ storage and syncing service, the company is expanding to encompass phone users, and letting all consumers access their images anywhere at any time — which, as CEO Yuval Koren notes in this interview, is crucial to enabling print sales and other output by removing the friction in finding and printing pictures.

The new photo service has an app for Windows, iPhone and Android that collects photos and videos from your devices, automatically organizes them, and uses the cloud to keep everything in sync. Storage in the cloud is free and unlimited, and your photos are kept in original resolution.

The full interview is available here.

Eye-Fi expands to offer online image storage and syncing


Eye-Fi was the pioneer in connected cameras, providing storage cards that also added WiFi to off-the-shelf cameras from major manufacturers. But as more of us take photos with already-connected phones, the company needed to seek new territory — and now it has, with Circ, a storage and syncing service.

“Circ was created for anyone looking to easily access photos and videos anytime, anywhere, using their favorite devices,” the company says. “With every photo & video on every device, your best stories and favorite memories are ready to share anytime — not trapped on your computer at home or spouse’s phone. Storytelling has never been this fun.”

The “completely new photo service” has an app for Windows, iPhone and Android that collects photos and videos from your devices, automatically organizes them, and uses the cloud to keep everything in sync. Storage in the cloud is free and unlimited, and your photos are kept in original resolution. And, your content is available anywhere, without huge memory or performance demands on your devices.

“Original resolution” isn’t quite the case if you’re thinking unaltered image capture files — but Eye-Fi is promoting its compression as highly efficient and all-but lossless. “Circ’s intelligent recompression safeguards photos & videos in original resolution, yet delivers a smaller file size for faster, more efficient upload and sync,” the company says. “Original resolution means you can confidently print a recompressed image and won’t notice any difference to a print from the original file.” This image show a 5MB vs. a 1MB image.

“It’s been five years since we launched our first Eye-Fi wireless SD card,” CEO Yuval Koren says. Since that time, “one of the fundamental changes we’ve all experienced is the proliferation of smartphones, tablets, and other devices we rely on to capture, view and share our memories.”

Circ is free for two devices; $50/year for up to 20.

More information is here.

Transcend offers WiFi camera storage card

Storage card maker Transcend Information released a new WiFi SD storage card that “instantly adds wireless capability to an SDHC-compatible digital camera.”

Also, when the card is coupled with the company’s app, “users can take advantage of the high resolution of their digital camera and the versatility of their smartphone or tablet to easily share beautifully shot photos to the world as soon as they are taken.” The company also notes the advantage of pairing a camera with a table to immediately see the high-resolution images the camera captures on the tablet’s bigger display.

The card can set a peer-to-peer connection between camera and mobile device, or to a nearby Internet hotspot.

The cards are priced at $60 for 16GB and  $99 for 32GB.

More information is here.