Thursday, 27 November 2008

Photographic WiFi

The most recent class of consumer electronics gadgets to begin introducing WiFi connectivity inside them is the consumer camera.  While the number of pixels (most unnecessarily) goes up with every new range of camera launched, the addition of wireless connectivity is a slow burn supplementary feature.  Two aspects of the cameras which have this feature surprise me a little.

The first is that WiFi is being added to cameras routinely with a standard which is two generations old.  Many WiFi cameras are equipped only with the 801.11B standard, not even the G standard which followed, let alone the more recent N standard.  This may not be a problem in the speeds required for the camera, but it is a little annoying for users that the performance of their wireless home network for their broadband connected computers is reduced by the introduction of a brand new camera into the home.

The second surprise is the variety of uses that WiFi on cameras is being put to.  The most common facility provided seems to be wireless printing directly to wireless-equipped printers. Some models allow pictures to be uploaded to online services, or emailed to specific people.  Others simply allow connection to the PC in the home to save plugging in via a cable.  Some more innovatively allow the camera to be controlled from the PC.  But why are some manufacturers making such strange choices and limiting the uses that such connectivity can be put to?  It makes little sense.  Let's hope that all of these features become standard amongst the cameras that have WiFi at all.

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