Samsung is poised to release a camera-focused Galaxy S4 model with the Zoom title affixed to the end. The device is expected to be visually similar to the upcoming Galaxy S4 Mini, but thicker and with a retractable 10x optical lens attached to the back.
The smartphone will have mid-range specs for a modern device, including a 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display (960×540 pixels), 8GB internal storage, 1-2GB RAM (most likely 1GB) and a dual-core processor. It will be running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean as well. Of course, the biggest focus will be a 16MP rear shooter with an optical zoom, something that few phone manufacturers have been able to properly implement.
The Nokia PureView 808 is an example of a high-profile camera-focused phone, but it lacked an optical zoom lens. Instead, it had a 41MP sensor and a fixed-focus lens that offered relatively lossless digital zoom. Using a combination of sharpening algorithms and a technique that combined several pixels into one, it produced sharp 5MP photos that suffered little when zoomed.
Samsung doesn’t need to utilize such a high-resolution camera sensor, though 16MP is still denser than the Galaxy S4. It will be interesting to see whether the company uses a sensor with larger individual pixels than the Galaxy S4, something more akin to its Android-powered Galaxy Camera.
Speaking of the Galaxy Camera, the Galaxy S4 Zoom is expected to take a bunch of cues from the point-and-shoot, including a dedicated camera button and a highly-optimized photo and video UI. The Galaxy S4 Zoom, which has been outed by the certification body Bluetooth SIG, will go by the model number SM-C101.
Samsung’s S4 strategy — releasing a flagship model and then a variety of more focused variants — is intriguing, as its capitalization of the ‘Galaxy’ brand may have the undesired affect of diluting its reputation. With a Galaxy S4 Active and Galaxy S4 Mini on the way as well, it will be interesting to see how the company markets these various devices.