Now that there is some sort of digital camera in almost every pocket, from phonecams to point-and-shoot models, Canon wants everyone to kick things up a notch.
Digital single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras can do more than compacts, but they also cost more and are somewhat daunting for amateurs. Canon’s Rebel XS is a simple digital SLR that is meant to take top-quality pictures, painlessly.
The XS will cost $700 and comes with an 18-55mm image-stabilized zoom lens. Competing DSLRs use older CCD sensor technology, but the XS, like other Canon models, uses higher-sensitivity CMOS light-gathering chips, which make better pictures but are especially good in dim conditions and at handling rapid action.
To keep costs down, the camera has a 2.5-inch screen and a 10 megapixel sensor, instead of the slightly larger versions used in its upscale siblings. But unlike some DSLRs, it offers an on-screen live view of the subject, to comfort those used to composing shots on a compact camera’s back. (Marty Katz / NYT)
©2008/The New York Times
An open-source cellphone
Few of us want to get our hands dirty messing with the operating system in our cellphones, but sometimes it’s nice to know you could if the need arose. The Neo FreeRunner from Openmoko is a completely open-source cellphone with a few interesting high-end features.
The six-ounce phone sells for $399 and has a 3-inch touch screen and 256MB storage. It includes a GPS sensor, Wi-Fi and GPRS data networking along with Bluetooth. Interestingly, the device also has a motion sensor like the iPhone. The phone works internationally and with T-Mobile and AT&T networks in the US, and is available now at ‘www.openmoko.com’
While it works like a regular phone, the FreeRunner’s operating system is completely open and customizable. This means you can change almost anything, including the programs that handle contacts and text messages. Hobbyists could use the phone to learn the basics of handset software design, while system administrators could create custom programs for employees.
Messing with your iPhone’s innards will get you in trouble with Apple. Those who can’t resist may be better off with the Neo FreeRunner. (John Biggs / NYT)
©2008/ The New York Times