As cameraphone picture quality goes, the story is that it's not really about the sensor resolution, it's about the optics -- and if you want to go by that rule, Altek's beastly Leo
should probably have your attention. Just because you've got a huge, telescoping lens doesn't mean it's any good, of course, but we'd argue that it's a good sign in a world dominated by tiny, plastic lenses atop 8 and 12 megapixel sensors of questionable heritage. Indeed, the Android-powered monster has bowed at CommunicAsia 2010 as promised, bringing a 14 megapixel CCD with an honest-to-goodness 3x optical zoom and 720p video capture, WVGA display, 802.11n WiFi, and HSPA for a Q4 '10 release. Amazingly, Altek plans on selling it for $499 -- unlocked, we assume -- and CNET Asia
managed to score a few minutes with it this week. Follow the break for video from the event along with Altek's press release.
Altek Launches "Leo", the World's Newest, Smartest
14 Megapixels, 3.5G Professional Camera Phone at CMMA 2010
Powerful Optical Zoom Lens Takes the Camera Phone to the Next Level
Altek Corporation, a global leader in the design and manufacture of digital cameras (TWSE: 3059) announced today at CommunicAsia (CMMA) 2010 Singapore the launch of Leo, the world's first 3.5G professional camera smart phone. Operated via its generous touch screen panel, Leo delivers 3.5G (HSDPA) functionality and features a 3x optical zoom and 14 megapixels CCD, delivering a true 3-in-1 product that integrates full digital camera, digital video and mobile phone functionalities. Leo's introduction at CMMA electrified the exhibition floor and made it the biggest mobile phone event of CMMA 2010.
Alex Hsia, president and CEO of Altek, notes that, "picture taking has already risen to become one of the most important mobile phone functions for consumers. Phones able to capture high definition, high quality images and video are a win-win for users as well as telecommunication service providers, as the latter can anticipate rising bandwidth usage rates when users share images remotely."
"The Leo mobile phone," Alex continued, "is the product of our accumulated advances and breakthroughs in imaging technology as well as Altek's continued refinement and improvement of optical technologies. Stylishly designed, Leo plugs users into a wireless world of excitement and fun. Its high-end digital camera and video functions means Leo users need never again let a special moment pass by unrecorded. Leo's high definition digital images (14MP) and video (720p HD) can be uploaded instantly to the Internet via onboard Wi-Fi and 3.5G connectivity for sharing with friends and family."
Brilliant High-Definition Camera in an Elegantly Streamlined Mobile Phone
Leo's clean, streamlined look and brushed metallic exterior exudes a highly refined fashion sense. Its front face displays a highly polished varnish, and the entire presentation whispers style, quality and precision craftsmanship. The 3.2" TFT, with 480x800 (WVGA) resolution and 16.7 million colors, ensure brilliant, high definition onscreen images that remain true and clear from most any angle. From whatever position you need to take your shot, and no matter how many people gather around the screen to enjoy pictures, onscreen images remain crisp and visible across a wide viewing range. The multi-layer coating over the TFT screen helps reduce screen luminosity in bright light environments to improve viewing quality.
With its high-speed processor and powerful, simple-to-use Android user interface, Leo is easy and intuitive to use. The glass-panel touch screen offers a smooth feel with multi-touch functionality. Scroll through web pages or pictures with the flick of a finger, and use your thumb and index finger to expand or reduce onscreen images. Leo delivers the full excitement and satisfaction of full touch-screen controllability.
Share Life's Best Moments, with Wireless Connectivity Anytime, Anywhere
Staying in touch with the world via mobile phones and the Internet is a ubiquitous feature of our current age. A diverse and growing array of communication options, including the telephone, text messaging, e-mails, blogs and social networking websites such as Facebook, are available. Leo integrates these communication channels to help users better manage and maximize their personal networks.
Leo supports the high-speed HSPA (HSDPA 7.2Mbps & HSUPA 5.76Mbps) protocol for data up/downloading. Browse the Internet, update social networking information, check up on friends and share high quality pictures and video anytime, anywhere.
Leo also supports the latest Wi-Fi 802.11n wireless Internet protocol, letting users go online and access a full spectrum of Internet-based multimedia entertainment, whether outdoors, at home or in the office.
Capture Just the Right Moment with Altek's Advanced Optics Technology
Altek's official spokesperson expressed that, "Most of life's most memorable moments happen unexpectedly. Light weight and exceptional handling make it easy for users to take Leo wherever they go and capture, recall and share every special moment. The exceptionally high resolution and clarity of Leo images can help enhance those moments even further and infuse more fun and convenience into life."
Leo features Altek's latest self-designed image processor, the Sunny 9. This state-of-the-art processor further reduces image noise, supports high-precision lens focusing, adjusts exposure and optimizes white balance automatically to achieve optimal exposure and capture truer colors. Leo is also packed with many 'smart' photo functions that make photography even easier and more enjoyable.
Understanding that consumers want a camera phone ready to take pictures or capture video at a moment's notice, Altek designed Leo with quick-response camera power and shutter release buttons. Turn the camera on and Leo goes immediately into camera mode, ready to take digital pictures or video. Users no longer face losing special moments while scrolling through a mobile phone menu trying to activate the camera function.
Leo's high quality 3x optical zoom lens greatly expands users' photographic possibilities. Whether shooting close up or at a distance, images remain sharp and vivid. The onboard xenon flash and AF assist lamp help capture in-focus, vibrant images under low light conditions. Leo's 14 million effective pixels are the icing on the cake, helping ensure exceptional resolution even when viewed in large formats.
In addition to taking brilliant photographs, Leo takes high resolution video in 720p (1280 x 720) and 30FPS formats. The video function uses H.264 compression to retain the highest quality images for playback.
Leo incorporates the latest advances in blink and smile detection functionality as well as integrates a large suite of innovative and creative photo editing functions - including popular "fish eye" and "skin enhancement" options. Edit photos "on the fly" either to add interest or adjust pictures to perfection. Use the editing options appropriate to each occasion to create masterpiece after masterpiece and get more fun out of your pictures.
"Leo's distinctive aesthetics," Altek's spokesperson continued, "integrate powerful digital camera and mobile phone functionalities into one easy-to-use product that delivers functionality and fun in a highly innovative design. We have every confidence that Leo will give users an experience that is smart, savvy and entertaining. The new Leo clearly reflects Altek's product development goals and strategy, embodied in the slogan, "To Bring Good Memories for Everyone."