Kodak Easyshare One
What is it:
Digital snapshot camera with integrated Wi-Fi connectivity
Why we chose it:
Kodak pulled out a stunner at this year's CES with the introduction of its wireless EasyShare cameras. The EasyShare One is a 6.4 megapixel camera that has a wireless card that can transmit pictures via 802.11b Wi-Fi to other computers and through wireless hotspots. The camera also comes with 256 MB of memory built-in, unlike many of the other cameras on the market.
So why was this important? First, it showed that the venerable camera company could still innovate with something that goes away from the megapixel race you often see in cameras nowadays. Wireless picture transfer gives ease of use and the immediacy that you don't get from traditional digital cameras. Even tech savvy consumers get tired of plugging into their cameras or taking out the flash cards to transfer pictures. Plus, how cool is it to just blast up your pictures to the web and give your relatives across the globe an almost live view of an important event? It's cool enough to us to make the camera part of this list. If you think about it, it is somewhat surprising that Wi-Fi hasn't made it into more affordable consumer cameras so far.
What it means to you:
While Wi-Fi has been available in $1000+ cameras before, the Kodak was first to break into the consumer space. If you appreciate the convenience of Wi-Fi, you can have this feature in a camera that currently sells for around $300.
Predictions for 2007:
Wireless connectivity in consumer cameras is a no-brainer. We are certain that the Kodak EasyShare One will start a trend and you'll see more consumer cameras with wireless options. Wi-Fi may not remain the only option, however, as Wireless USB becomes available. Expect this product category to quickly evolve.