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Altek A14 Leo phone gets snappy with 14-megapixel camera and 3x optical zoom

Digital camera maker Altek is set to cause a stir at MWC this week, with its A14 Leo 'Pro Camera' smart phone'. Why? How does a 14-megapixel camera with a 3x optical zoom grab you?

Digital camera maker Altek is set to cause a stir at Mobile World Congress this week, with its A14 Leo 'Pro Camera' smart phone. Why? How does a 14-megapixel camera sensor with a 3x optical zoom grab you?

Although Altek says it's introducing the handset at MWC, we've actually seen it before, back in October last year. Its appearance in Barcelona this week means the manufacturer is redoubling its efforts to find European distribution for the device, however.

The handset runs Android, although Altek hasn't said whether it's been updated from the version 2.1 that was preloaded in October. But the camera is the real star, adding a xenon flash to that extendable optical zoom lens. It's capable of shooting 720p HD video, too.

The A14 Leo supports HSPA data speeds, as well as 802.11n Wi-Fi. There's also a 3.2-inch touchscreen, GPS, and a built-in accelerometer and digital compass.

We remain impressed at the thought of a 14-megapixel camera and an optical zoom lens crammed into a smart phone, and the A14 Leo's use of Android scotches any fears that as a digital camera maker, Altek won't know what it's doing when it comes to a smart phone interface.

There is still no official release date for the A14 Leo here in the UK, but we'd imagine Altek's sales team will be doing their utmost during MWC to find an operator willing to sell it here.

For all the excitement around apps and software in the mobile industry right now, we sense 2011 could see the spotlight returning to cameras and mobile photography too.

Nokia specifically mentioned imaging as something it wants to improve in Windows Phone 7 when announcing its deal with Microsoft, for example, while Samsung has also just announced its new 12-megapixel CMOS sensor for smart phones, which can record 1080p video at 60 frames per second.