Samsung is in talks with 3 about adding built-in 3G Web connection to devices other than phones.
A member of 3's mobile broadband team told us the team had met with Samsung to discuss the possible applications of 3G in assorted devices. Cameras were discussed as a case study, and that's all the excuse we need to fire up Photoshop and bust out this shonky mock-up -- above -- of what a 3G camera could look like. Ideas included the option to geotag pictures while on holiday, upload them automatically over 3G and have prints waiting for you when you get home.
3 offers a number of 3G Samsung mobiles, including the Jet and Tocco Ultra. Samsung, meanwhile, is committed to connected cameras, with the excellent Samsung ST1000 at the top of the range, and the just-launched WB650 with GPS and ST5500 with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Connecting to the Web is one of the better ideas in the curent crop of unsusual selling points in the camera market, and -- judging by some of the feedback from you 'orrible lot on this very site -- one that could win over the general public faster than John Sergeant in a unitard.
Wi-Fi is faster than 3G for uploading and downloading, but requires you to be connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot. 3G, meanwhile, is more widespread. Cameras or other mobile devices could, for example, be set to upload in the background as you pootle around, to save you seeking out a Wi-Fi connection. We could even see full phone functions on a camera-like device, meaning you wouldn't have to compromise with the tiny lens and sensor in today's camera phones.
3 is also considering the possibility of adding a MiFi ad hoc Wi-Fi hotspot technology to devices, either built-in or as mophie Juice Pack-style cases. Samsung and 3 would have to address the battery-draining issues this could create.
All this is still at the blue-sky-thinking stage, so there's nothing on the drawing board as yet. But it's part of an exciting trend towards meaningful convergence: in the year of Android microwaves, 4G tests and Apple's innovative iPad 3G data plans, you're looking at Web connection not just wherever you're going, but also whatever you're doing.