Nikon slaps Android on a camera and it doesn't stick. (Or, why there's no iCamera yet.)
Apple keeps improving the camera in the iPhone on a roughly yearly schedule, but given some comments from Steve Jobs on revolutionizing photography, there have been rumors of... something more. Nikon has just explored one avenue of more-ness, namely slapping Android on a point and shoot to see if it would stick. And it doesn't, at least according to Phil Nickinson of Android Central who took a look at the brand new Coolpix S800c:
The Nikon Coolpix S800c could have been so much more. Nikon could have taken the Android framework and made a compelling user interface that complements the fundamental usage case for the device -- it's a damn camera, after all.
Instead, we've got a traditional Android experience. And while we're all for seeing Android on anything and everything, it needs to be customized. Just as the Android phone UI didn't lend itself well to 7-inch tablets, neither does it really work for a camera. Oh, it's functional, but that doesn't make it good. For a mass-market consumer device, the UI needs to be simple, intuitive and, frankly, simply look better than what's on the S800c.
Truly great product people -- the ones who know what the market wants before the market itself, and how to make technology accessible to hundreds of millions of mainstream customers -- are incredibly, stupefyingly rare. They're snipers. Carefully lining up single shots and taking them, and then taking out a market with them. More common are the shotgunners who pack their shells with anything and everything they can find around them and then blast away hoping to hit the market before the poor, terrified market can jump to safety behind a dumpster.
The Coolpix S800c from Nikon seems decidedly the latter, and Phil absolutely nails why. Phones may have cameras but cameras are not phones nor should they be running phone software -- especially overly complex phone software. Nikon appears to have made a smartcamera just to make a smartcamera, and not crafted something to really change the camera space or improve the camera experience.
Hopefully Nikon will try again, and do it better. And maybe Canon will license Android or something else and take their shot too. But they'll need to drop their shotguns and pick up fully scoped rifles to do it. Revolution rides on a single, perfectly timed bullet. Not on the back of buckshot.
If Apple is still working on photography beyond the iPhone, it won't be with iOS slapped on a point-and-shoot.
For more, check out Android Central's complete coverage of the Nikon Coolpix S800c: