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Samsung SH100 camera wants to be BFF with your smartphone

Samsung comes up with a cool use for Wi-Fi in digital cameras.

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LAS VEGAS--Samsung seems to be the only camera manufacturer really pushing forward with Wi-Fi in its cameras. It's launched a handful of wireless-enabled models over the past couple years, but they've been mysteriously hard to come by, so I haven't been able to review one. Hopefully that will change with the SH100.

The camera has built-in 802.11n wireless that can be used for connecting to your Wi-Fi network for automatic backups or viewing on DLNA-equipped devices; connect to other Samsung Wi-Fi cameras for sharing; connect to hot spots including those provided by Boingo (an account comes with the SH100); and connecting to an Android-powered Galaxy S smartphone.

That last one can be used to upload content to sharing sites, but will also allow you to control the camera remotely. Your Galaxy S display turns into a viewfinder and you can move the camera's zoom lens as well as hit the shutter release. It'll also use the phone's GPS receiver to geotag your shots.

Outside of the wireless features, the camera is an average touch-screen ultracompact. It's using a 14-megapixel CCD (1/2.3-inch type), a 26mm-equivalent wide-angle lens with a 5x optical zoom, a 3-inch LCD, and shooting modes appear to be completely automatic (no manual or semimanual shooting). And oddly, image stabilization is digital only--not optical or mechanical.

If this all sounds appealing, look for the SH100 in March for $199.99.

Editors' take: Samsung's burned us in the past with promises of innovative pocket cameras that seemingly disappear from sight after they're announced. It's also unclear from the announcement if it will only work with Samsung smartphones, which automatically shrinks your user base by, well, a lot. If the SH100 actually works, is easy to use with a smartphone, and is readily available, this could be a great camera for those who primarily post photos and videos to the Web. I'm certainly looking forward to testing it out.