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Thanks to better sensors and integrated connectivity, the iPhone 4S has become the top camera on the Flickr(s YHOO) photography site, beating out more expensive DSLRs. Samsung is betting on the fact that most non-iPhone(s aapl) owners aren’t happy with their camera but like the ability to share pictures through their phone. That’s why it introduced two new Smart Cameras that can take excellent photos and share them over Wi-Fi.
The WB150F and DV300F, priced at $229.99 and $199.99 respectively, look to be traditional point-and-shoot cameras. But the little Wi-Fi logo on each gives away the secret feature: the ability to connect to a wireless hotspot for photo uploads. Both can also shoot and share 720p video at 30 frames per second.
Why bother with a Wi-Fi point-and-shoot when your smartphone can do the same thing? Since the cameras have wireless connectivity, it all comes down to picture quality. The WB150F, for example, has a large, 14.2 megapixel sensor paired with an 18x optical zoom. Smartphone cameras traditionally offer digital zooms, which don’t provide as clear an image than a camera with an optical zoom lens.
Aside from uploading images and videos, these cameras offer other benefits that some smartphones don’t yet offer: dual Image Stabilization, wireless sharing to HDTVs, full manual control of photo settings, on-device editing and panoramic shots.
As cameras in smartphones have improved, many have opted not to carry a single-purpose camera, mainly because of the connectivity found in a handset. But with integrated Wi-Fi, Samsung may find an audience of people who don’t mind carrying a dedicated camera in addition to their smartphone. In fact, the phone could be a mobile broadband hotspot for Samsung’s new Wi-Fi cameras, eliminating the need to find a hotspot for picture uploads.