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Until recently, the term "camera phone" was something of a stretch. Virtually everything available on the market was a phone that just happened to have a low-res camera on board. If you wanted a decent photo, you had to drag your digital camera camera along, too.
Well, two companies aim to change all that. The recent introduction of LG's Renoir and Casio's Exilim Keitai are true camera phones. In fact, they've turned the category on it's head. You maybe tempted to call them cameras that just happen to have a pretty decent phone built in.
Both the Casio and LG feature 8-megapixel resolution, quality lenses (the LG sports a Schneider-Kreuznach lens) and a slew of features you'd expect on a camera... but not a camera phone. Features such as face detection and anti-shake technology. How about 30fps video recording... and an honest-to-goodness flash? Both camera phones have 'em.
Before you get too excited, though, the Casio Keitai is rolling out only in Japan, and LG's phones are widely available in the US, the Renoir isn't listed by any of the major US carriers.
But that's bound to change. If these models catch on, expect to see them in the US before too long.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|