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Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 Camera Phone – the Android smartphone that’s also a 4K camera, things just got real…


Every so often in tech a new product arrives on the market which doesn’t quite make sense, but is still rather cool. These products often don’t find a mass market, but what they do is point the way to a future iteration which will eventually indeed make waves, and possibly even create a new market segment. The new Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 Smart Camera [original] is just such a product.

This hybrid Android smartphone and camera goes well beyond anything we’ve seen before in a product of this type, in that it marries up a large 1 inch, 20 megapixel image sensor,with a Leica lens to deliver the kind of 4K image quality that hasn’t even reached a lot of mid-range dedicated cameras yet. This looks like it could be the beginning of the end for the standalone camera market, with future dedicated camera models migrating upwards towards the ultra high end, as the mid-range surrenders to phone camera formats.


On the face of it there’s a fair amount of compromise involved in producing a product like this. For one thing, it’s significantly thicker than a conventional smartphone at around 21mm. For another, it sports a fairly mediocre 2300 mAh battery, which doesn’t bode well for run time of camera or phone, and of course you’re limited to the default 28mm lens. But ignore these as version 1 issues, and instead look at the sum of the complete product feature set.

Such as a 2.3 GHz phone processor, Android 4.4, 2GB RAM, 4G LTE, NFC, microSD support for up to 128 GB and you’ll notice that this is nothing short of a bold and ambitious statement which says that cameras are now morphing into powerful connected instruments sooner than we imagined. Remember when a PC didn’t need an Internet connection to do its job? Soon an unconnected camera will be as useless as a computer without the network.


Is it a phone with a camera or a camera with a phone? We’d say it’s neither. It’s a new breed of device which will deliver the kind of stunning low light performance that’s been hinted at with products like the Nokia Lumia 1020 phone, combined with the industry leading Android platform and a component spec which puts it firmly at the top of the performance tree. The fact that at 900 Euros it’s priced only slightly higher than the new iPhone 6, says a lot about where this kind of tech is going to go in the future.


High end camera/phone combos like this are soon going to be a thing, you watch. It may take a while, but if one company can do this, others will follow, and it makes complete sense, since the phone part of the smartphone market has now reached the sort of feature and functionality plateau which drives marketing executives mad with worry. This could get very interesting indeed.

[Note: yes we know that the Samsung Zoom hybrid format has been around for ages, but it’s not really in the same league as this CM1 in any part of the specifications, camera or phone.]

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