I predict cameras in the near future will begin shipping with wireless , 3G antennas or both. The cameras will be tied into social networking sites so that you can take photos of events and upload them as they happen. There will be a settings page in your camera to enter your Facebook, Myspace or Flickr account info. An option would be available to auto upload all photos taken or to prompt the user after each photo is taken for upload, and finally an option to just bypass that and worry about the uploading only when you are in review mode. The camera will auto resize (user setting on adjusting size) the photos and upload in the background so you can live blog events without thought. I know some cameras today already have built in wireless and can upload directly to a computer or an FTP, but the cameras that have those features are attached to SLRs, usually coming as an add-on . They are mainly for professionals wanting to instantly review photos during photo shoots, not for frat boys wanting to live blog a kegger.
Sony attempted this with their DSC-G3 model but failed miserably in it’s implementation. From reading reviews, the act of connecting to a WiFi access point is cumbersome and they were too eager by including a browser in the camera which IMO is a bit overkill and just needs a simple menu interface to select the social networking services you wish to use. All photo uploading must go through Sony’s portal page and photos have to be chosen one at a time, no seamless uploads, too much thinking involved.
My ideal camera would be a mash up of how the iPhone handles WiFi access points, a 3G provider that is not AT&T (bonus points if it’s free to use, but highly unlikely), and the ability for the manufacturer to add social networking services through easily installable firmware upgrades. The camera should also make all of it’s connections over a secure protocol so users won’t have to worry about their login information being compromised over an unsecured access point.
A couple of downsides to this may be that some people really don’t want to have photos available to the public before they can really look at them to make sure they don’t look like an idiot and that they are even appropriate enough to be made public. It wouldn’t really draw as big of a crowd if it just has WiFi. You are then limited in where you get to use the cameras main draw of being able to instantly publish photos to the world. A couple other short comings I could see with this camera would be the battery life not lasting too long. Users don’t give a shit that WiFi and 3G suck up more battery life, they just want their battery life to be the same as if those components weren’t there to begin with. The iPhone has people complaining about battery life all the time, comparing it to their old phones. If you are listening to music on it all day long, while checking facebook, the battery is not going to last more than a few hours. People aren’t using iPhones the same way as they did with their snake playing Nokia phones of early decade. The way people use their “phones” has dramatically changed over the last couple of years and battery technology has not been keeping pace.
I hope Canon or Nikon will integrate these features into a camera soon, and hopefully their implementation won’t suck.