Samsung Announces 12 Megapixel Pixon 12 Cameraphone

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Sure, Sony Ericsson might have been talking up its 12-megapixel Satio camera phone since early this year, but Samsung is now claiming to be the first in the world to ship a 12 megapixel cameraphone with a touch screen, in the form of its new Pixon 12. The Pixon 12 will sport a 3.1-inch AMOLED touch display, Xenon flash, and a fast-for-a-phone response time that should let casual shutterbugs have all the fun they want.

“The Pixon 12 is testament to how Samsung’s ongoing consumer research enables us to develop ground-breaking products that do not just meet but surpass our customers’ expectations,” said Samsung executive VP and head of mobile communications J.K. Shin, in a statement. “Speedy access to the camera mode, fast shutter speed, and quick browsing are some of the key factors consumers are looking for in their mobile phone cameras.”

The Pixeon 12 will feature a 3.1-inc AMOLED display with a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, 150 MB of onboard storage (with up to 32 GB of microSD expansion, integrated WiFi, assisted GPS, and FM radio capabilities. The phone will offer quad-band GSM/EDGE and HSPA connectivity, and will be able to shoot 720 by 480 videos at up to 30 frames per second. As a camera, the Pixeon 12 will offer touch autofocus tracking that can follow an object as it moves, and an automatic scene selection more that picks up on a shot’s subject, background, and lighting. The camera will also be able to save those 12 megapixel images in around 2 seconds, which is very snappy for a phone, although not much to brag about in a dedicated camera.

The image quality from the Pixon 12 isn’t expected to be all that great—camera sensors are still going to be tiny and noisy in cell phones, no matter what resolution—and users may regret all those high-resolution shots when it comes time to download them or push them up to social networking sites (the phone will support Facebook, Picassa, Flickr, MySpace, PhotoBucket, and more). Nonetheless, it may offer a workable solution for folks who need occasional high-resolution images on a day-to-day basis but can’t justify carrying around a separate camera.

Samsung expects to launch the Pixon 12 in Europe this month, with the model moving to additional markets in August. No word on pricing or whether it will see a North American release. And Sony Ericsson’s 12-megapixel Satio? It’s expected to hit European markets in the fourth quarter of 2009.