As I was browsing the AT&T store last week, I noticed the Samsung Galaxy Camera. My first question was, “What makes this camera so special?” My second question was more in shock, “$500 with a monthly plan?!”

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So here’s the basic technical breakdown:

  • 16MP (I’m not too familiar with cameras except for the one on my phone, but I think that’s supposed to be pretty good.)
  • Android Software/4G (Like many smartphones, so you’ll have the convenience of editing and uploading anywhere, anytime, to any platform)
  • Voice Control (Silent Siri? A+)

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It’s basically an Android smartphone with a better camera (Galaxy Note 3 is only 3MP away).  While I’m sure the fact that people tend to use their phones more for its camera function than actual phone calls is what caused the creation of this device, I can’t really imagine people choosing this over one of the many smartphone options, or at least seeing the logic behind getting it. If you have a smartphone, the only aspect that may appeal is the 16MP, which I don’t think makes up for the price. If you are that person who has a cell phone (smart or not), and decides to get this camera, you’re paying the $500 plus the additional data coverage in your plan, instead of just paying for a phone upgrade, and now you have to carry around two devices.  If you’re a hardcore intense photographer, I would take a guess that you’d lean more towards getting a DSLR rather than this camera, as your focus is more on photography than sharing.  That’s not to say I don’t think people will buy it; there will always be people, which brings me to the Garcia Canclini quote we discussed in class that this whole situation reminds me of:

“to consume is to participate in an arena of competing claims of what society produces and the ways of using it.”

This camera is a product of society, and I’m going to say that this camera was probably meant as some sort of weak competition for another product of society: the Nokia Lumia 1020. For those not familiar, the Nokia Lumia is a cell phone that boasts its 41MP camera. 41! That’s more than two and a half times than that of the Galaxy Camera, and it’s still a cellphone with all those fancy apps for editing and sharing.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Samsung. I think the S4 Active is brilliant (it’s waterproof!) and don’t understand how the iPhone 5c which consists of less features (and is not waterproof), can be sold for the same price (with a two-year contract). However, I think Nokia succeeded in making the better product based on society’s habits.

However, I think it’s safe to say that sales probably don’t reflect that.  Because Samsung (Android) and Apple (iOS) seem to dominate this app-driven society, the fact that the Nokia is a Windows phone means no Instagram, which for most, defeats the purpose of the 41MP camera (What’s the point of having that great camera, if you can’t share with everybody?)

In class we discussed how meanings of consumption and consumption practices are not fixed, so price can give identity or meaning, consumption influences credibility, and the meanings given by consumption can both unite and divide us.  While price can give identity to the consumer and therefore to the product itself, I think it’s safe to say with how big branding is in today’s society that the reverse can be said as well.  People who have Macs, iPods, iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, anything Apple-based, form a large community. They are loyal to the Apple brand, and Apple knows that which is why they can afford to charge so much and still expect to get loads of business. This then influences credibility because when you’re out in public and see people on their phones, the chances of you seeing an iPhone in their hands is very high. The more people you see have it, the more reason you have to think it’s a great phone. Nokia/Windows may not have a large consumer community in phones as Apple does, which means not as many people have the Lumia, which causes people to think it may not be such a great phone, even if that may not at all be the case. Branding can also have the power to make/break these ‘imagined’ communities.  For example, the Samsung v. Apple war. You have the original community of smartphone users, but they become split when you bring in big brands like Samsung and Apple, you have Samsung smartphone users on one side and Apple fanboys/fangirls on the other.  That being said, branding play an extremely key role in the way we consume as a society.

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