Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Panasonic will develop a wireless camera (development notice)

Panasonic did not want to be left out of the CES 2008 digital camera party (27 new digital cameras announced from the major manufacturers), so they decided to tease us with a development notice! More details at dpreview!

Panasonic clearly intended this for PR purposes as their press release is filled with buzz words and names like "Google Picassa" and "T-Mobile Hot Spot" and with no specific information about the camera itself! Panasonic will include 12 months of T-Mobile HotSpot service for the camera itself, but not for the user. Meaning you can use Hot Spot to send your pictures wireless, but you can't use the free 12-month service with your laptop or other gadgets.

So what does that mean? It mean that the camera to be used as a WiFi model is either a brand new model that has not been announced yet, or an existing camera that has been "wifi'ed". So that raises the following question: What type of a camera would be a good candidate for WiFi?

Fans of WiFi will tell you that their favorite camera would be an ideal candidate for this. So that doesn't tell us much. Of the existing Panasonic cameras, the options seem to be: An LX2-type camera, an FX100-type camera, or an FX-smaller-sensor type camera. I doubt they are going to put WiFi in the more entry-level LS- or LZ-series, or the bigger zooms since they take up more space and they are not pocketable.

BUT, yes BUT, something I did not think of in my PMA 2008 Specuations, Rumors and Predictions: the ideal candidate for this could be Panasonic's blockbuster camera! Yes, the TZ-series. Take a buzzword feature and put it on a buzzworthy camera! With the popularity of the TZ-series, Panasonic could easily release a new "regular" TZ-model and a "wifi" version of that model. There's also room for a more "affordable" model for some markets (they did that in the past with the likes of the TZ2, FZ4, FZ15, etc). And even room for our favorite idea, a more grown-up internally version of the TZ-series with PSAM and RAW even!

Further reading
More coverage of the development at dpnow, CNet's Underexposed blog, Adorama Newsdesk, Crunch Gear, and many of the other photography and gadget blogs and websites.

PS> How did I manage to turn a simple development notice post into something so long?

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