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Sunday, September 04, 2005

A baby step toward Wi-Fi photos

Every now and then, someone combines two technologies into a single new product, and the result is a triumphant new category that changes the industry. Clock + radio. Cell phone + camera. Music player + hard drive.

But of all possible combinations these days, few are more screamingly obvious than wireless + camera. Already, millions of people snap photos with their cell phones, then gleefully e-mail them or post them on Web sites. But why should you be satisfied with the crummy, low-resolution, bleached-out photos from cell phones? Why shouldn't you be able to have the same kind of fun with really good photos, from really good cameras?

The time has finally come. Kodak announced its wireless EasyShare-One camera way back in January, but its release has been repeatedly delayed. What would have been the second wireless camera to hit the market, then, is now the first: the new Nikon P1, due in stores on Sept. 15. It's an iPod-size, 8-megapixel camera dressed in brushed-metal black, with a list price of $550. (A sister model, the P2, is a silver, 5.1-megapixel version that lists for $400. Online prices will be much lower once the cameras actually arrive in stores.)

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