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Samsung to Try Again With a 'Camera-Phone'

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- If you're Samsung and you don't succeed you try, try again. But this time with an upgraded model. It looks like that's exactly what Samsung is going to do with a new version of last year's Galaxy S4 Zoom "camera-phone."



Samsung sent invitations to members of the technology press asking them to be ready to "Kapture The Moment" at a Samsung Media Day event in a Singapore museum on April 29. That "K" in "kapture" is believed to stand for the K in the new product's name: the Galaxy K Zoom (even though the company had something it called the Galaxy K back in 2010). Or it could just be a misdirected marketing ploy for what will essentially be the Galaxy S5 Zoom.
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Last year's Galaxy S4 Zoom had never been described in endearing terms. Reviewers last summer called it "thick," "heavy," "unbalanced," "awkward," and in one case "a beast." No one had nice things to say about trying to use it to make voice calls.

The S4 Zoom was shaped like a compact digital camera. It had a 16 megapixel sensor inside, a 10-to-1 zoom lens up front, a 4.3-inch touchscreen on the back, ran on Google's (GOOG) Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) with a weight approaching half a pound. Aside from its bulk its "raison d'etre" was that it was a wirelessly connected camera, not just with Bluetooth and Wi-fi but it also connected via a GSM/LTE cellular network to help deal with any and all photos/videos captured on the device.



Samsung had trouble finding a U.S. carrier to sell the device unlike the competition at the time. While the Galaxy S4 Zoom was a very good camera, Nokia's (NOK) Lumia 1020 -- with its 41 megapixel shooter -- was thinner, lighter and took even better photos.

AT&T  (T) was (and is) the 1020's exclusive carrier in the U.S. Nokia also sold a snap-on rear "grip" cover for the 1020 which made it look more like Samsung's device. But that was optional.

In what is thought to be a leaked photo of the new K, the device is said to be much thinner and somewhat rounder than last year's model. There is also speculation that the new camera-phone will have a 20 megapixel sensor and will retail the 10x optical zoom feature. Plus, it could also sport a larger (4.8-inch) HD (720 by 1280) touchscreen and might use Samsung's home-grown, 6-core Exynos processor instead of the same quad-core, Qualcomm (QCOM) Snapdragon 801 chip powering the Galaxy S5.

No exact pricing, release date or possible U.S. carrier involvement has been leaked so far.

For the record, last year's Galaxy S4 Zoom is still listed as being available from AT&T for $100 down along with a two-year contract.

 -- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

To submit a news tip, send an email to tips@thestreet.com.

Gary Krakow is TheStreet's Senior Technology Correspondent.

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