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Yesterday, Apple announced a new digital camcorder that can take 720p high definition movies. The camera does not accept memory cards, but comes in 16 GB and 32 GB versions. It also serves double duty as a still digital camera, including flash and 5 megapixel resolution. It has an LCD viewing panel that is only 3.5 inches diagonal, but has very fine pitch pixels so it has 960 by 640 widescreen resolution. (That’s a bit better than wide VGA standard resolution, but not enough to show HD images without scaling them down some.) And the camera even has a touch screen for controls, and a built-in GPS so you’ll always know where you are when you’re shooting.

Oh, and it’s a phone, too.

I am happy to acknowledge that the new pocket sized iPhone 4G has a lot of features, and some of them probably are going to be useful too. I recognize how difficult it is to differentiate your product in the crowded cell phone market with its ridiculously short replacement cycles. Many of the new Apple phone’s features aren’t first to market. For example, other phones have “front-facing” cameras and support video chat, which is a cool application even though Apple doesn’t get to be the first to offer it. But it still is an impressive almagamation of video camera, still camera, GPS, game controller, PDA, media player, video chat platform, Internet browser, and phone.

I’m not sure I’d buy it just to get the HD camcorder feature, but it’s tempting.

By the way, you can read about my industry report on consumer video chat, “The Consumer Video Chat Market, 2010-2015”, that was just published by GigaOM Pro by clicking here.

Posted by Alfred Poor, June 8, 2010 6:00 AM

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About Alfred Poor

Alfred Poor is a well-known display industry expert, who writes the daily HDTV Almanac. He wrote for PC Magazine for more than 20 years, and now is focusing on the home entertainment and home networking markets.