I recently took a trip, and per my usual pattern of taking things tech with me I brought my digital camera along. You see, the one built into in my smartphone is a scant 0.3 megapixels (640×480) and a stand alone camera would give much better shots.
But there was a bit of a snap in my plans. Every time I do this, when I return I need to make the time to get onto my desktop, resize all the pictures, do any editing, and then place them online or email them. I would lastly (and usually) back those pictures up onto the memory card with my Treo, and go on about my business. I had quality pictures, and had them with me all the time.
However, there is something that about this process that I’ve increasingly felt is becoming less and less necessary. Namely, the use of the middle man — the PC — to facilitate the use of those pictures.
With the increasing use of cameras in phones and other mobile devices, I’ve often wondered why can’t my digital camera and phone work better together — or even a phone with a *quality* digital camera be had.
Change Is Here… for Some People
If I were to listen to the recent Nokia ads about the N95, I would say that the device is here. With the N95 you get a 5 megapixel digital camera and some basic (and sometimes not so basic) photo manipulation software right on the device. You can essentially go right from taking the picture to sending the picture without taking one step.
For some people this is great — but this is not the case for the majority of us who don’t have an N95. If the technology is here, why then do we need to consult the middle man of the PC just to get our pics to the places and people we want to?
I am pretty sure that some of this has to do with cost. The N95 is a $750 to $1000 mobile device BEFORE the cost of a monthly contract. There is no way that most people want to pay that much for a phone, let alone a camera phone when these can be had for free.
I am pretty sure that some of it has to do with hardware. There are just not a lot of phones that have both a large, beautiful screen, and are also fashionable, pocketable enough to take out on the town.
I and I know that picture quality comes into play as well. Even a $100 digital camera can take better pictures than most camera phones. And for some of my important memories, the drop off is just not acceptable.
Couldn’t We Just Leave It Out?
But even with those items coming into play, why does the PC have to make an appearance? For all the fun that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are, why don’t cameras have them and integrate with downloadable photo software on my phone for basic image manipulation and sending/printing? Heck, give me a straight mini-USB connection from my phone to the camera and I’ll do camera work on the fly as well. But, it seems that this use is just not looked at.
So we have mobile devices, digital cameras, PCs, and then cradles for our digital cameras to our PCs and printers. It could be so simple, and a whole lot less to worry about if we could skip the PC middle man. But I guess that is just one part of the picture of mobility that cannot be so easily rubber stamped out.