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Wi-Fi and Samsung's 'Smart Camera Ecosystem'

Barney Britton | Technology | Published Apr 19, 2012

Samsung's new NX range consists of three cameras, the NX20, NX210, and NX1000, all of which feature 20MP capture and built-in WiFi Connectivity. 

Today, Samsung has announced three new Wi-Fi-equipped NX models, all of which share the same 20MP CMOS sensor that was used in last year's NX200. Dpreview spent some time in Korea last month, and got some hands-on time with the new cameras as well as an exclusive opportunity to ask some senior executives about their vision for the future of the NX line, and for photography in general.

The new NX lineup consists of three models - the NX20, which replaces the NX10, the NX210, which replaces last year's popular NX200, and an entirely new NX, the NX1000, which is aimed at beginner photographers and compact camera upgraders. As well as sharing the same 20MP CMOS sensor, all three of the new NX models feature Wi-Fi connectivity.

The NX models share the 'Smart Camera' capabilities with the compact models announced earlier this year. This means they can be set to automatically back-up images every time you come back into range of your home Wi-Fi network and allow control of the camera via a 'remote viewfinder' app on compatible smartphones. There are also options for uploading to various 'cloud'-based back-up sites, to ensure both peace-of-mind and accessibilty of your images.

When you enter 'Wi-Fi' mode with the NX20, NX210 and NX1000 you'll see this screen. This is where you can select what you want to do with your pictures - among other options you can send them to a smartphone or tablet, email them, stream them to a television, or share them on social networking sites.

Samsung's latest Wi-Fi-equipped cameras can connect either via a wireless Internet router or directly to another device. This allows users to email images and share them on Facebook straight from the camera, via an internet hotspot. Alternatively, it allows photographers to browse images from their camera directly on a Wi-Fi-equipped AllShare or DLNA enabled television, or via an Android smartphone using Samsung's 'MobileLink' app. At our meeting in Seoul we asked the assembled executives for their vision of what the company is calling its 'Smart Camera Ecosystem'.

'Digital life starts with the content creator'

Nyunwoo Nam - marketing manager for the NX range told us that putting Wi-Fi into Samsung's mirrorless cameras is a logical next step. In his opinion, he explained, 'digital life starts with the content creator, the photographer who takes his or her images and then shares them. For the past couple of years Samsung has been communicating to users the fact that cameras aren't just for taking pictures, they are evolving to be used as sharing devices. Nam added 'with the addition of Wi-Fi to our NX range, users have a more convenient way to share their stories'.

Like other recently-announced compact cameras from Samsung, the new NX range is intended to fit into a connected 'ecosystem'. The new NX1000 (pictured) makes sharing very easy thanks to a direct Wi-Fi button on the camera's top plate, which initiates a menu for sharing with one touch. 

He went on - 'all of our devices will evolve to make our users' experience easier, and more enjoyable, and the camera is the first step to achieving that goal. Future products will make it even easier to connect and share media, and have fun and be creative'.

'The camera is becoming a communication tool'

So is the future one in which we're connected to everything, all the time? Byounjae Jin, principle engineer in Samsung's R&D department thinks that it is. 'People should know this already' he told us - 'this is the entire concept of devices like smartphones and it makes sense'.

It seems that Samsung doesn't envisage smartphones and cameras converging completely though - at least not yet. According to Sunhong Lim - VP Sales & Marketing, Samsung 'wants people to use their cameras and smartphones together'. He explained 'the camera is becoming a communication tool - a vehicle for communicating with others [but] phones and camera are separate products - they will co-exist'.