Bonnie Cha

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TheQ Takes a Shot at Making Connected Cameras Cool

Samsung, Nikon and Canon have all tried it. But can an unknown company make the connected point-and-shoot camera a must-have accessory to carry alongside your smartphone?

theQlightring

That’s the hope of a Stockholm-based startup called Q Lifestyle, which today introduced TheQ, a digital camera designed specifically for social sharing.

TheQ is a five-megapixel camera offering 3G connectivity and one-button sharing to social network sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Tumblr, among others. The company also offers users unlimited photo storage through its Q Lab archive service.

Compared to some of the other connected cameras on the market, TheQ doesn’t offer that many bells and whistles, and co-founder Brandon Ricci said that’s on purpose. TheQ is meant to be simple and fun.

The camera only has two buttons: One for capturing pictures, and one for uploading them. It has a 2.7-inch non-touch display, two gigabytes of internal memory, a ring flash around the manual focus lens, and nine filters.

TheQ also comes in a variety of colors with quirky names like It’s My Jam, Cupcake and Ketchup, and is waterproof in up to three feet of water for up to 30 minutes.

One other selling point for the company is that, at $199, it’s cheaper than most connected cameras on the market. By comparison, the 4G-enabled Samsung Galaxy Camera costs $500, and the Wi-Fi Nikon Coolpix S800c costs $350.

Even so, TheQ may be a tough sell. For one, it requires getting another SIM card, and it’s another device that will eat away at your wireless data plan. Also, with smartphone cameras getting better and better, convincing consumers to carry another device is going to be hard.

Ricci’s argument is that, if you lose your smartphone, you’re not only losing all your photos, but you’re also losing your digital life. If you lose a camera, you’re only losing the a set of images, so having a second device is like an extra layer of security.

Ricci said they began working on TheQ about two years ago, after he and his friends came up with the idea to create a camera that got back to the basics but incorporated the trend of sharing photos online. The company is backed by Scandinavian investor Varenne, and has received $1.8 million in funding.

TheQ is available for preorder today, and will begin shipping in mid-September.


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