One of the great frustrations of Camera owners as the industry has gone digital has been the fact that camera makers have opted for interfaces designed around embedded systems architectures, rather than mature computer or mobile operating systems. Employing Google’s sort-of-open-source Android operating system has long been a wish of many hoping that clever integrations would flourish, allowing for an image editing, hosting and communication revolution.
Instead, the industry got Leica’s Zx1 Android camera that did some clever porting of Adobe Lightroom, but little else. And the Leica market isn’t exactly the populous target market for innovative third party app developers.
So now comes the Yongnuo YN455 – manufacturer of relatively high-end knock-off gear – introducing a stripped down 20MP micro-four thirds camera boasting a 5-inch screen running Android 10. This is actually Yongnuo’s third version of the camera, the other two largely panned due to older Android versions and the lack of features such as dual USB-C ports and microphone input and output. The rig will run about $600 in China, the only place where it is currently sold.
If a reasonable version of an Android camera were to become popular, one might imagine app makers would start to provide integrations, and a real image ecosystem could be established. Unfortunately, with Leica on the top end (it’s halting effort at an Android camera can be had used for about $5,000) and with Yongnuo on the bottom end, this isn’t likely to happen quickly.