HP launches snap-happy iPAQ camera

HP recently announced a massive new range of 158 products, among which can be found the Photosmart Mobile Camera, which offers 4x digital zoom and – in a first for Western markets – a 1.3 megapixel resolution in a Secure Digital format.
HP’s new Photosmart camera brings high resolution mobile imaging to iPAQs
The card is compatible with all SDIO-capable iPAQs, which unfortunately excludes the just-superseded 1910 and the aging 3800 series. All of HP’s other recent models, including the brand new 1940, will work with the 1.1 ounce camera. However, for these single-slot devices, memory could become an issue: the camera does not include any storage space of its own, and as image sizes increase, things could get cramped.

The announcement comes at a time when every competing device offers only VGA resolution. ViewSonic’s newly announced V36, as well as Samsung’s SPH-i700 and Hitachi’s SH-G1000 Pocket PC Phone Edition devices all sport integrated VGA digital imaging devices on a par with the latest batch of camera phones but inferior to even basic standalone digital cameras. The only other widely available SDIO camera is that offered by Veo, the Photo Traveler, which is also VGA resolution.

As well as the ability to take photos through the rotating lens, the Photosmart Mobile Camera can record video clips, although no information was available on the resolution or framerates offered by this function. Once images have been captured, they can be transmitted to other devices or printed directly over Bluetooth or IR, as well as through an ActiveSync connection.

Many of the functions of the camera, including white balance and shutter speed, are automated, but the user also has the option of altering these and controlling the unit’s focus directly. This could become necessary, as the unit does not come equipped with a flash.

Image post-production is handled by two applications bundled with the camera, both resident on the Pocket PC: ‘Mobile Printing’ handles not just images, but also documents, while ‘Photo Center’ offers image editing capabilities and slideshow functionality.

No pricing information for the Photosmart Mobile Camera was available, but the unit is expected to ship in October 2003.

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