The Korean Electronics manufacturer Samsung has raised the bar for camera phone functionality with a 3.2 megapixel camera phone with x3 optical linear zoom lens and x4 digital zoom - these specs place the phone directly in the medium range digital camera market for function.
The presence of the big zoom lens makes it more visibly a camera with a phone in the back than vice verca, and the specs confirm it is a serious camera, with manual and automatic exposure controls, (inc. white balance), an adjustable flash, and auto-focus.
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Interestingly, it is also capable of recording 100 minutes of digital video and can record audio too, and with memory card storage on the side, could transform the way we record our lives.
Like a high quality digital camera, the S2300 offers camcorder functions and a high quality microphone. Users are able to record images for more than 2 hours and with Samsung's unrivaled TV-out function, they can connect the phone to a TV to view video and images directly through a TV. Users are able to extend the memory capacity with a mini SD card, which can be used as a portable storage device when connected to the PC through a USB cable.
The phone adopts a design that salvages the special features of a digital camera. The front is designed like a digital camera with a zoom lens that projects up to 3 cm out of the device and boasts a hidden antenna (so called 'intenna' design). Because menu, zoom, shutter and ok buttons are arranged similar to a digital camera, users are able to operate the S2300 like a digital camera. The rear looks like a mobile phone with a slide-down panel that contains keys for functions, such as menu, send and ok, and covers two rows of dial buttons.
Kitae Lee, President and CEO of Samsung Electronics stated, "Although the number of pixels of camera phones were a widely debated issue, it is meaningless to simply compare camera phones based on this parameter. The key is how efficiently and harmoniously a camera phone can embody the functions of a digital camera with identical number of pixels." He adds, "The S2300 is a totally new product that offers the functions of both a high quality digital camera and phone."
The S2300 is currently being tested and with the carrier's approval, Samsung plans to start selling the S2300 in the Korean market in July for 800,000 won, (US$687).
With all the functionality of a quality digital camera, Samsung's S2300 will be closely watched by the competition - if it begins to pick up marketshare very quickly, we could see a fraft of compatirors there is now a reasonable chance that the camera phone market could over-run the medium range camera market