‘Stinger’ camera on the way
By Ian Burley
Sendo is a UK-based mobile phone company that we’re all going to hear a lot more about next year. On the right is their claim to fame, a ‘Stinger’ mobile phone, officially known as the Z100. (Photo: no flash, 1/10th second, f/2.7, Canon Ixus 300) What’s this got to do with digital photography? Well, one of its accessories will be a clip-on digital camera.
‘Stinger’ is the code-name for Microsoft’s version of Windows designed specifically for mobile phones. Sendo is a new name to the mobile phone industry, only starting to ship its first basic handset models at the beginning of this year.
Sendo is still far from being a household name, like Nokia, Ericsson and others. However, Microsoft has taken a stake in Sendo and this will guarantee that the company will have a lot of the limelight when Stinger is officially launched in Q1 next year.
You can think of Stinger as being a junior version of Pocket PC2002, the recently released OS that represents the latest evolution of Windows CE. Pocket PC is specifically for no-keyboard touch-screen pocket computers. Examples include the Compaq iPaq and versions of HP’s Jornada family. Stinger differs in that it’s designed for phones, or more accurately, phone-sized devices.
This means Stinger doesn’t support touch screens or relatively large displays. Stinger phones are supposed to be carry-anywhere, any-time, devices like a typical mobile phone. The Sendo Z100 is not the smallest phone in the world, but it’s less than two-thirds the size of a Sagem WA3050 Pocket PC PDA (personal digital assistant) phone I have been using for the last few months. And the Z100 has a colour screen, whereas the Sagem doesn’t.
With its 176x220 pixel 64,000 colour screen, the Z100 doubles as a simple digital camera very nicely with its clip-on VGA (640x460) digicam accessory attached. The Z100 uses a SD memory card slot and, although SD I/O bus digital cameras have been shown, the Z100 uses the phone’s proprietary accessory interface, leaving the SD slot free for memory cards. The Z100 is GPRS-enabled for faster data transmission and has built in WAP and Web browsers, plus email.
Convergence is everywhere - some digital cameras, like Ricoh’s RDC-i family (click here), already have datcomms features. Kodak has a camera for Palm Organizer users (click here), while LightSurf envisions digital camera-enabled mobile phones in a variety of markets (click here). But will it just be a passing fad or a something we will eventually take for granted - just like the mobile phone today?
Does the idea of a mobile phone with picture taking capability appeal? Click here to let us know!