If you crave the connectivity offered by the Samsung Galaxy Camera but don't want to sacrifice image quality or photo capabilities, you are the poster child for the Samsung Galaxy NX. With built-in 3G/4G LTE and Wi-Fi, Samsung envisions it as the "always connected" camera, but really, I'd be happy with just connected enough -- as I suspect many of the people interested in this camera would be -- but which most manufacturers still haven't mastered. And from a connectedness standpoint, the Galaxy NX does everything but make calls.
And it really does seem like the best of all possible worlds for more advanced photographers. It incorporates the same sensor as the NX300, complete with hybrid phase-detection/contrast autofocus systems, the same electronic viewfinder as the NX20, and it supports a reasonable selection of fast and/or inexpensive lenses that makes it flexible for a variety of users. The system could use at least one fast telephoto zoom, however.
Though it uses a 1.6GHz quad-core processor, Samsung supplements it with the same DRIMe IV imaging processor as in the NX300. (It also has 16GB built-in memory.) That should provide speedier image processing than on the Galaxy Camera. It seems like Samsung has learned some lessons from the earlier model as well. The huge battery and grip with a thumb rest on the back contrasts with the Galaxy Camera's relatively poor battery life and lack of place for your right thumb.
I'm still not completely sold on the idea of Android-driven cameras, but Android, combined with Samsung's willingness to open-source its camera API really opens up the potential of the camera in ways I can't begin to imagine.
Another potential downside is the lack of physical controls. While a chunk of potential buyers for this camera will just be looking for APS-C-quality photos and videos, another group -- say, people like me who need a high-quality camera for live-blogging and event photography -- really, really like our physical controls, and the i-Function design only partly mitigates their absence. I have to say, though, this is the first instance in which the i-Function architecture makes a lot of sense and finally seems like a strategic move on Samsung's part. In previous models, which do have physical controls, it always seemed so superfluous.One downside: it's really big. Of course, that's inescapable given the 4.8-inch LCD, APS-C sensor, and built-in EVF. (Plus, it's annoying that for such a big camera it uses microSD cards, and that they're inconveniently located in the battery compartment.) Also, many of Samsung's best lenses are relatively big and heavy, given that ILCs were intended to be smaller than dSLRs. But it can act as a hotspot, which makes the idea of toting it around it a little more palatable, at least for pros. One question I have is what happens to performance when you use the camera and the hotspot simultaneously. If you can.
It also remains to be seen what kind of integration off-the-shelf Android apps have with the camera. As my review-twin Josh Goldman discovered while testing the Galaxy Camera, they vary with respect to how they operate. For example, most camera apps use some sort of pinch-based zooming; what happens when they encounter a mechanical zoom lens? The units we got to play with weren't yet cell-connected.
With price as yet to be determined, it's hard to evaluate how it will stack up compared to this rather challenging field of competitors. Given its feature set, I can't imagine it being less expensive than the NX20; this would put it out of reach for a lot of consumers, though the lure of it connectedness might make some prosumers stretch their budgets. That convenience looks mighty attractive. So does the weather sealing on the Olympus and the overall great package for less money with the NEX-6, however.
Of course, if size and price matter to you, there's always the Galaxy S4 Zoom. While I don't expect much of it in the way of photo quality -- it's got a small sensor and a slow zoom lens, and it relies on the main processor for its image processing -- it's still smaller and lighter, and it makes phone calls.
The Galaxy NX will be sold through camera retailers rather than cell carriers; it really is a camera first and a connected device second. As of yet, Samsung has no carriers lined up, or at least none that it's ready to talk about. But we're assured that it will be ready to ship in plenty of time for your winter holiday shopping.