Perusing through the stands at Mobile World Congress last month, journalists could not help but notice the blunt and obvious strategies taken by almost all the phone manufacturers present to cater for the ‘selfie’. It was a little bit cringeworthy.
For example, Chinese firm Huawei managed to fit the phrase into pretty much every sentence when discussing the Ascend G6, which features a 5MP front-facing camera designed for taking ‘selfies’. At first I thought Huawei, and other selfie-centric OEMs, were slightly missing the European market’s needs, but after a day or two it dawned on me they really weren’t…the selfie is everywhere! A survey found that in 2013, Britons took 35 million selfies a month, and the term was deemed the ‘word of 2013’. They’re at the Oscars, every second photo on my Instagram feed, even Sky journalist Adam Boulton took a Budget-inspired selfie today (which is coincidentally what you’d get if you took a selfie with a £200 Ascend A6). Huawei even include a selfie app, that auto-retouches! This obsession with perfection is nothing new, but I really thought the limit of the selfie had been reached until I saw today’s announcement of Samsung’s new selfie-machine, the NX mini smart camera.
The NX is reportedly the latest in hands-free photography, allowing users to take a shot by simply winking at the lens. This rather weird and awkward silent command is being heralded as all very futuristic and cute by Samsung (just look at the press shot, she’s having a great time).
Two seconds after winking, your photo will be taken. Naturally, the camera has NFC and Wi-Fi capabilities because what use would be a selfie-machine if you couldn’t send the photo straight to the internet via your smartphone? And if you didn’t quite get the #ijustwokeuplikethis look the first time around, there’s a 6fps Continuous Shot mode.
There’s also an odd secondary function that Samsung has mentioned – that it can also be used as a baby monitor. When noise is detected from the camera, the smartphone app that it is paired with can activate, which would allow parents to ‘see’ their child.
There’s no UK price set yet, but my mind is still boggled from thinking about people who would pay for a premium-looking camera just for the functionality of taking a selfie. I’ve taken selfies before, and I’ve used shutter buttons or mirrors, not semi-flirtatious gestures that are just one step away from the Her movie script.