There’s absolutely no denying that mobile phone cameras are more than just a check-box item but have actually moved to the forefront of a product’s feature set for many consumers. Apple’s Apple’s iSight cameras in the iPhone have been sort of an industry watermark for quality and performance for a long time, while Android and Windows Phone devices have tried to play catch-up. More recently Nokia Nokia and Microsoft Microsoft have stepped up their game with the impressive optics and sensor combination of the Lumia 1020 and even the more standard setup of the Lumia 925 can offer imaging better than most Android phones on the market currently. However, it appears that Samsung has been taking notes and made a move just yesterday, to bring the company’s full resources to bear in an effort to make a better smartphone camera and potentially to sell a few more digital cameras as well.
In a news release at Korea’s etnews.com, Samsung announced that the company is merging their camera and mobile phone business units in order to cross-pollinate technology, IP base, manufacturing and marketing capabilities between the two divisions. Specifically, Samsung noted ” We will transplant the brand, sales networks, software competency and manufacturing competitiveness of the Wireless Business Division into the Camera Business Division, and integrate the technical know-how of the two business divisions into competency for differentiating our smartphones.” In turn, Samsung’s Camera BU will tap into the Mobile Phone division’s vast marketing resources to better push Samsung digital cameras in the market as well.
The move makes sense and Samsung has been tap-dancing around with the two product camps for a while, introducing devices like the Galaxy NX prosumer camera that merges an Android engine and large touch display into a single package for on-board image processing and easy social sharing. And of course there is the Galaxy S4 Zoom that basically sticks a 16MP sensor and 10X optical zoom lens on the back of Samsung’s darling top-end smartphone.
It will be interesting to see what Samsung brings forth in next-generation smartphone designs as the new combined entity, which is already up and running reportedly, pools its resources to improve Samsung’s mobile digital imaging experience. Point-and-shoot cameras are becoming more and more an endangered species it seems, as smartphone camera image quality and capability continues to evolve and improve. Regardless, you won’t see me letting go of my DSLR camera anytime soon. Smartphone cameras would have to come a long way before I’d trust special moment shots and real work photography to any device that fits in my pocket. That said, for “good enough” and on-the-go snaps, those compact point and shoot cameras are becoming less interesting every day.