The Android mobile operating system is more versatile thanmany people might think; indeed, instead of being stuck in the world ofsmartphones, Android has popped up in a number of televisions, among otherdevices. And now, with the announcement of the imminent launch of Nikon’sCoolpix S800C, it’s going to be available in one of the first Android-poweredpoint-and-shoot cameras.

Okay, so the camera details first: it’s got a 10x opticalzoom lens (25-250mm) with optical image stabilization, and a 16 megapixelbackside-illuminated CMOS sensor. The camera will shoot in full 1080p videomode, and it comes with a built-in GPS so you can geo-tag your images right onthe device. Plus, the camera comes with WiFi for instantly uploading yourimages when you’re in a wireless hotspot.

That sounds like a pretty good combination for a device thatfits in your pocket, but of course it’s the Android element that should takethis to the next level.

At its heart, the S800C is powered by Gingerbread, eventhough it comes bolstered with hardware elements like Nikon’s EXPEED C2processing engine, for faster overall performance. Fire up the WiFi connection,and launch Google Play from the camera, and you can take advantage of a numberof things that are already in the Play store.

That includes photo-specific apps like Instagram – with theS800C that means you can use the app directly with a better-quality lens(instead of the so-so lenses that come on most mobile phones), and then uploaddirectly from the S800C. You can browse the web from the camera, if you want todo so using the small camera screen. Or, you can download movies from GooglePlay and run them right on the camera. (No word yet as to whether you can playAngry Birds.)

The extra kick that Android apps will provide give the S800Cthe potential to be extremely powerful. But it’ll be interesting to see how itaffects the actual camera experience – will you be able to get back into thecamera quickly if you’re browsing the web, for example? (The key of a point andshoot, after all, is being able to take a picture quickly when you seesomething worth shooting.) Also, what will the impact be on the battery – willyou have to put your camera on the charger every single night?

I’m going to try to get my hands on the Coolpix S800C as soonas it’s available, and put it through a hands-on to answer these veryquestions. Stay tuned.

The Coolpix S800C is due to launch in Canada in September,with a suggested retail price of $379.95.

 

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