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CES 2010: Connected Cameras
by Allison Johnson -  1/10/2010

Wednesday's steady stream of new compact camera announcements from electronic giants like Sony, Samsung, and Casio materialized on the show floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center. And the big companies are interested in getting you connected and sharing photos like nobody's business. We took a look at some of their newest, hot-off-the-press-release products at CES 2010.

Sony Cyber-shot HX5
Sony's Cyber-shot HX5 incorporates GPS technology to track the location in which photos are taken. It also uses a compass to identify which direction the photographer was facing when the image was captured. It also brings the sweep panorma function over from previous models - the camera was mounted to a tiny tripod in front of a panoramic mountain scene so that show attendees could try out the function for themselves.

Along with the TX7, the HX5 will usher in TransferJet technology. It's a short-range wireless connection that will allow two people with TransferJet capable cameras to share images with eachother without the use of any cords.

The process looks easy, but it seems that it will be a long time before all of your BFFs will be armed with a TransferJet camera. And that Memory Stick is still hanging on since it's the only format that Sony has made TransferJet compatible.

Samsung CL80
The CL80 is packed with just about every mode of connectivity that Samsung could cram into a tiny camera - WiFi, Bluetooth, and DLNA. And the 3.7 inch touch display will surely impress friends and family. The CL80 features a new design in terms of structure and form factor. The camera body was created through hydro-forming, meaning that the smooth outer shell is compressed together with only one seam.

The newest Samsung cameras, including the CL80, are angled back by 7 degrees, meaning that when the camera sits on a flat surface, it's better positioned to take a self-timer portrait of a group of people. Their new design also brings the shutter angled forward by seven degrees in an effort to reduce shaking the camera whenever the shutter is pressed.

There's plenty going on in this camera, but we'll be interested to see how it all comes together. Features like WiFi connectivity are only as useful as they are easy to use.

Casio GPS Hybrid Concept
Casio announced at the show their launch of a hybrid GPS concept camera, complete with mock-ups under glass. The idea is to create a camera that will also offer a fully functional GPS that will display information on surrounding points of interest.

In theory, it could be a very useful tool for tourists exploring a city by foot (or those of us who manage to get lost in our own cities frequently). However, more smartphones are incorporating GPS technology than ever before. It seems that many people are already equipped with some kind of navigation device, so the Casio concept will have to hit the right chord with the right set of customers who don't already have a GPS system. For now, the mock-up camera looks the part. The model on display was a glossy white with a large LCD on the back.

The incorporation of different technologies into these compact cameras makes them noteworthy products moving into the new year, but it's impossible to tell from a show-floor demonstration and a stack of press releases what will actually catch on with consumers. We'll be interested in checking out the image quality and usability of these feature-loaded cameras, so stay tuned in 2010 as we take a look at some of these connected cameras.