Today has been a big day for connected-camera announcements at CES 2012 in Las Vegas. Sony is the latest big-name company to announce a video-capture device with built-in Wi-Fi, following wireless camera announcements earlier in the day from Kodak and Samsung.
Even within the realm of those new connected camera offerings, the Sony Bloggie Live pocket camcorder has a unique twist: It allows shooters to live-stream video to the Web while filming, and the camcorder is able to receive short messages through an online service as you're shooting.
The live Web-streaming and one-way chat functions are provided via a partnership with Qik, a live video-sharing service owned by Skype. Using a pre-loaded Qik app, the Bloggie Live camcorder can also share links to live video streams via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and e-mail directly from the camcorder. Sony will also launch a new cloud-storage and -sharing service, PlayMemories Online, that can be accessed on smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices.
While the camcorder records at full high-definition, live streams are limited to 480-by-270 VGA resolution in order to keep lag time and choppy footage at a minimum. Live-broadcasting from the device is limited to 30 minutes per clip, and a full 1080p version of the video footage is saved on the Bloggie Live's 8GB internal hard drive.
The connectivity options are limited to Wi-Fi at this point, but Sony and Verizon have teamed up to offer a $50 credit for anyone who buys both a Bloggie Live camcorder and a Verizon 4G LTE Jetpack Mobile hotspot, which can be used together to stream video from the Bloggie via a 4G cellular connection.
Outside of the wireless connectivity options, the new Bloggie Live is also well-equipped: When it's not streaming video, it shoots 12.8-megapixel still images while it's recording 1080p video at 30fps (as well as 720p at 60fps), has a front-mounted LED lamp/flash, a macro autofocus mode, and offers digital image stabilization. The camcorder is operated via a 3-inch touchscreen, and an integrated USB connector pops out of the bottom of the unit.
Sony says that the new Bloggie line's performance has been improved using popular smartphones such as the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy SII as a barometer of sorts. The company claims that the CMOS sensor in the new Bloggie lineup offers better contrast, detail, white balance, and low-light shooting than the leading smartphone cameras on the market, and that the new pocket camcorders were developed to offer a a significant video-quality advantage over the best phones.
Priced at $250, the Sony Bloggie Live pocket camcorder will be available in January, right after CES.
In addition to the Bloggie Live, Sony also introduced a new ruggedized pocket camcorder that offers many of the same core specs, minus the Wi-Fi capabilities.
The waterproof and shockproof Bloggie Sport has a dedicated mode for shooting underwater, and it records 1080p video and 12.8-megapixel stills. It's controlled via a 2.7-inch touchscreen and offers a pop-out USB connector, digital stabilization, an LED lamp, and 4GB of internal storage. Due in February, it's priced at $180.
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