While I am not really too much interested in this "instant sharing thing" and am therefore also not in the market for a "connected camera" (but I am also not the one wasting my time on generic social networks, but more on special interest sites like this
), I think Canon's foray into this market segment make a whole lot more sense than, e.g., Samsung's Galaxy or Nikon's Android camera.
Instead of putting the whole infrastructure (mobile OS, network, radio, etc.) into the camera and that way duplicating what any user in this market segment already has in his smartphone, connecting to and using the existing infrastructure has many benefits:
- No need to "maintain" two Android devices -- AFAIK at least the Samsung Galaxy camera (or was it the Nikon counterpart?) does not have telephony support, so you would still need to carry a smartphone with you anyway. And even if they did have telephony and all the other features -- due to the laws of physics, to get any decent image quality, a true camera smartphone (with the emphasis on "camera") needs to be bigger (larger sensor, leading to larger lenses) than I would like my phone to be
- Independence of the devices: Emptying the camera battery will still allow me to use the smartphone for everything else and vice versa. This independence also allows me to make the same choice I have today when shopping for a "dumb" camera, simply put, I can trade reduced camera size for a loss in image quality. If cameras from all segments offered such a kind of connectivity feature, I would not be forced to buy an inseparable bundle, where usually I have to compromise on either the camera or the smartphone side (or probably both). Instead, just like today, I could decide to bring my connected DSLR when possible, but do with my much smaller connected P&S when I can't justify the size and bulk of lugging a DSLR around, but not loose the connectivity features.
- Decoupled development cycles: Smartphone development cycles are much shorter than those for cameras. Of course no one is really forcing you to upgrade a smartphone, but smartphone vendors are making a habit of offering OS updates for their devices for only a very limited time span. From the moment you don't get any security updates anymore, you are pretty much at risk (or have to start fiddling around with custom ROMs etc.)
For cameras, however, technical progress, in particular in sensor technology and optics is much slower, making it much harder to justify throwing it away every two years.
Of course this doesn't mean that camera vendors won't find ways to make you connected camera obsolete...
So, while I am not too happy with Canon's recent launches in the DSLR segment (in particular the insane pricing, but also the available features), I think they got something right with the Powershot N -- at least conceptually. We'll see how it fares in practice.