‘The N90 is very similar to most digital cameras, this phonecam has definitely crossed the divide both in terms of resolution and controls, now we just have to wait for the optical zoom! The design as a camera is great, the twist screen and rotating camera give a really useful versatility.
The Australian technology press got its first chance to see the new 2-megapixel Nokia N90 phonecam early in October of 2005. Unfortunately we reptiles were only allowed to play with the new phones at the press function, so it is not yet possible for us to run a proper review just yet. Mobile phone camera artist Henry Reichhold whose pioneering work appeared in our August-Sept issue, managed to extract an N90 from Mr Nokia’s UK office. Henry sent us some pictures he took at the latest Nottinghill Festival and offered a few preliminary impressions of the N90.
He writes: ‘The N90 is very similar to most digital cameras, this phonecam has definitely crossed the divide both in terms of resolution and controls, now we just have to wait for the optical zoom! The design as a camera is great, the twist screen and rotating camera give a really useful versatility.
‘Until now the phonecams were hopeless at dealing with intense light situations, try pointing them at the stage at a music festival and the result was massive over exposure. The N90 options include exposure compensation at + – 1.5 stops, very handy.
‘The fluorescent white balance on the london underground was spot on and the forced flash very useful. Didn’t try any of the ‘scene’ modes. Shot over 250 images and it hardly put a dent in The 256mb card so another wish would be a tiff option! The battery lasted about five hours of shooting with the flash on the highest res.’
Highlights from the spec sheet include the use of Carl Zeiss optics, 35mm equivalent focal length, maximum image resolution of 1600 x 1200, video clips are 352×288 at 15 fps, bluetooth support, video calling, email and internet browsing-enabled, built in MP3 player and 31 MB of internal memory. RRP is $999
Is This A Good Idea?
While it’s the sort of thing to make the blood drain from a security consultant’s sallow cheeks, ScanR.com’s new service could prove handy. Currently available only in the USA, it allows a user to take a picture of a document with their phone camera, send the image via MMS to the service at www.scanr.com and in due course have sent back to them via email a PDF of the document. The ScanR service tidies up the images so they’re clean and sharp. Their website suggests that you might want to use it to photograph ‘contracts and signature pages, whiteboard drawings and meeting notes’
Pics or tunes?
A research outfit in the USA called Parks Associates reckons that their surveys show a quarter of all households with Internet connections are willing to consider using a high-resolution camera phone as their primary camera. The study is said to show that half of these so-called Internet households are intending to buy a phonecam, while only a third are interested in a phone that is capable of downloading music. One of the analysts from Parks Associates says ‘the impending introduction of advanced mega-pixel camera phones will strengthen demand, which will create great opportunities for service providers to increase their ARPU by offering photo sharing, photo printing, and other applications.’
Micro Movie Moguls
In the UK, mobile network 3 has an interesting idea for creating content its customers will then pay the carrier to download. The clever bit is that customers who successfully submit a 30-second clip to the new ‘See Me TV’ channel stand to earn 1p for every time one of 3’s potential audience of 3.2 million downloads the micro movie. As the 3 network people put it: ‘ the most popular clips from contributors could make thousands of pounds worth of cash.’
Kodak Offers Phone to Postcard Service
If you live in the USA and have phonecam and an account with the Verizon mobile network, you can use Kodak’s Mobile Service Postcard Application to frame and transmit a picture from your phone to Kodak which will in turn send out a postcard made from the picture to any US address. If this works out for Kodak and Verizon, expect the concept to spread quickly to all corners of the world.