Why Your Next Camera Will Run On Android [Opinion]


Maybe your next camera will work with Instagram
Maybe your next camera will work with Instagram

Take a look at your cellphone. Now take a look at your camera. Pretty sad, huh? It’s a big chunky old thing, with knobs and dials for navigating menus. It’s also dumb, and disconnected. To edit and share your photos, you need a computer. To get those photos onto your computer, you have to plug the camera in with a cable. Did anybody tell Nikon or Canon that this is 2012 already?

Your cellphone, on the other hand, will let you snap, edit and share your photos in seconds, and even place them on a map so you can find them later. Camera manufacturers are understandably terrified by this, but what can they do? The answer might be Android.

Polaroid has already announced Smart Camera, a compact running Android and equipped with a Wi-Fi radio. And it is indeed smart. Think about it: Android is an OS designed to run on small-screen devices with limited batteries. It manages this whilst using GPS, Wi-Fi, cellular data and more. Plus, you can skin it and load on just about any app you like.

Android’s touch-screen experience might be lacking for general use, but for a camera it should be fine. Add in a custom-skinned version of the OS, access to a limited app store with photography-related apps, remove the 3G radio and giant, power-sucking screen and put the whole thing into a decent 6-10MP camera and you could strike gold.

Who wouldn’t want to be able to shoot a photo with a proper camera, edit that photo right there on the camera, then upload it to Twitter or Facebook or Flickr? Who wouldn’t want to be able to download a new kind of camera for a couple dollars, or new filters for their photos? And who wouldn’t want to become a better daughter or son by using an app to send a real postcard back home to the folks while you’re on vacation?

And now, with Instagram on Android, Instagram itself could sell a self-branded camera. With the right styling, and the right price, it could make a cheap, digital version of the Lomos and Holgas of the film world. Hell, the company might even start making money.

And remember, if it has Wi-Fi inside, it can also connect to your iPad or iPhone, should you feel the need.

Now, it might be too late. Almost every cellphone these days has a half decent camera, and that’s enough. I have a great Micro Four Thirds camera, but even that has all but been supplanted by the camera in my iPad 3. But if Olympus or Nikon or Instagram comes up with a connected camera that’s does everything an iPhone or iPad camera can do, then they might just save their business.

  • sosickitzill

    Oh hell No!

  • Likethepear


  • Joel Alvim

    “Android’s touch-screen experience might be lacking for general use”. This is total nonsense.. having both a Mac and a Nexus S, I find the Android touch experience pretty good.

  • Paul Lloyd Johnson

    My current point and shoot always on me camera runs iOS, my iPhone 4S. I doubt very much that my next DSLR will have anything as tacky as an Android OS, how unprofessional an idea. These opinion pieces on Cult of Mac just get sillier and sillier.

  • morgan3nelson

    CoM has turned into the National Enquirer or Tech Blog’s. Maybe it is time to eliminate the Open Bar, stamp out the blunts and hide the razor blades and mirrors. Substance abuse is bad for the body – and even worse for CoM.

    I’ll check back in a few weeks to see if quality journalism has returned.

  • aepxc

    Phones will replace all cameras apart from the professional ones. Professional cameras will likely eventually TALK to phones, but run limited, highly-optimised software, as befits their professional purpose.

  • Aaron Renner

    Consumer cameras / point & shoots, maybe. DSLRs, heck no. I rarely use Instagram on my phone, and sure wouldn’t on my DSLR. My post-processing needs far outstretch the resources of Instagram. iPhoto and PhotoShop touch on iPad comes the closest, but are still a far cry away. Until either of those can do non-destructive layer-based editing, PhotoShop on my iMac is still my best choice. I am really considering an eye-fi card, through. My MacBook pro goes with me on nearly every shoot anyway,

  • Michael Wells

    I am a professional photographer http://www.500px.com/higgsboson-boy and I don’t post my pics to some simple social media site before trying to sell them as prints or to publisher so this is a load of crap…. Unless you are just taking snapshoots with a point and shoot.

  • Don Pope

    “I have a great Micro Four Thirds camera, but even that has all but been supplanted by the camera in my iPad 3.”

    The iPhone 4S has a good camera, but it is no match for a decent point and shoot. However, it is small and always in my pocket, so I’m willing to overlook its limitations in exchange for its practicality. But it will never supplant my DSLR.

    The iPad, on the other hand, is NOT a viable replacement for camera. It is bigger than most cameras and completely the wrong shape. It has the limitations of the iPhone but not the advantages. Also, using the iPad as a camera makes you look like a first class dork.