Do you really need 3G on a camera?
Whether you see the point in an Android camera (in comparison to a compact or smartphone camera) or not , it is now available and many will buy it for the capability that it brings.
Ignoring the product features, image quality and how it compares to other cameras does it need or warrant 3G connectivity over and above WiFi that is now becoming more prevalent in cameras?
The addition of 3G connectivity means that providing you are in an area with phone signal you can share your photos with world, there is no need to wait until you are back to a WiFi or cable internet connection and a computer.
But of course to do this you need a 3G enabled data SIM in the camera and this brings additional costs.
In a commercial situation say a surveyor or a mobile worker, there is a strong argument for business where paying for the monthly cost of a SIM in a camera will pay for itself. It will make the sharing of images easier and simpler and the business can normally afford the associated costs.
There will to be a similar argument for professional photographers and avid enthusiasts.
However, the average person who walks the street and takes pictures of their friends, families and events, would they use the 3G, I believe all would like to but I am inclined to think many won’t and here is why.
The confusion between camera and smartphone. We all carry a phone and many now use the phone camera instead of a compact camera. The compact camera or SLR comes out only at special events in many family scenarios. The Galaxy camera is a smartphone without the phone function thus does someone now carry a smartphone and the Galaxy camera or do they carry the smartphone and the Galaxy camera only to the events they would normally have taken their compact camera too? The Galaxy camera will take a better picture than a conventional smartphone, but isn’t likely to come up to par with a Digital SLR. I put my money on most using the Galaxy camera as a replacement to their compact camera (unless they have a specific requirement).
Having a separate data SIM is costly. Whilst there are those that can afford it or those who will be willing to pay, the cost of having a data SIM in a camera will be too expensive. Bearing in mind the type of data you will be uploading, it is advisable to have minimum monthly allowance of 1GB. Thus you are looking at a minimum monthly cost in the region of £10. You may even wish to opt for more data (quite advisable) thus pushing the £15-£20 marker.
Many now use a smartphone with a data plan attached. They generally have a monthly data allowance and often pay a reasonable fee to get this, thus it makes sense to take advantage of this. Modern smartphones allow you to share the data connection on your phone with other WiFi enabled devices, so the need for a SIM in the camera is reduced. However anyone who intends to do this may want to be considerate of their data plan.
WiFi is in abundance. You do not need to go far to find a WiFi hotspot a large number of which are FREE. How important is the 3G connection. Will the 2 hours until you get to a WiFi hotspot make all the difference? If it does why not use your 3G enabled smartphone to take the picture and share, is the increased quality that important?
On the other hand, the capability of the camera may mean opting for a smaller or more basic mobile phone and the camera becomes the daily driver, you just use the phone for calls and text messages?!
I think that 3G on a camera is a great option and it is better to have the option as standard and choose whether you use it or not than not to have it at all.
What it really comes down to is data plans are just not cost effective enough to make it feasible for the average user. I want to see a network allow you to have multiple SIM’s under one account but offer a pricing structure more in line with standard mobile contracts.