My new Samsung EX2F point-and-shoot camera has seven ways it can communicate over WiFi. Some are direct WiFi links, some are indirect:
Direct WiFi means that the camera communicates directly with another device, like an Android tablet or a smart tv. It's as if there were a USB cable or Bluetooth connection between them.
- The benefit of direct WiFi is that we don't need to have a WiFi hotspot nearby -- or need to use cables; it just needs two devices that have WiFi.
- The drawback is any other WiFi connection is lost. I can't have this camera communicate to my Android tablet, while my Android tablet is connected to the Internet, such as if I were blogging at a conference.
- This camera uses direct WiFi for MobileLink, RemoteViewfinder, and TV Link modes.
Indirect WiFi means that the camera communicates with the Internet via an WiFi hotspot, just like a laptop computer or Android tablet.
- The benefit is that my Android tablet retains its Internet connectivity, yet can "communicate" with the camera, though indirectly through another site.
- The drawback is that a WiFi hotspot needs to be within range.
- This camera uses indirect WiFi for Social Sharing (Facebook, Picasa, YouTube, or PhotoBucket), Email, Cloud (SkyDrive), and Auto Backup.
Since this camera does not run Android, it cannot be be enhanced with new apps. (Samsung has another camera that uses full Android, complete with touchscreen.) This means its indirect WiFi modes are extremely limited.
For instance, the Social Sharing mode works only with Facebook, Picasa, YouTube, and PhotoBucket. I cannot add Twitter, TypePad, or another social service I might prefer. (I don't use any of the four provided by Samsung.)
The same problem occurs with Cloud, where SkyDrive is the only option. (This is puzzling, because Samsung in January signed a deal with Dropbox.) I use Dropbox, but if forced to I can access SkyDrive through my wife's Hotmail account.
Users of the EX2F are at the mercy of the whims of Samsung's camera group. This sort of statement would have been unthinkable two years ago, complaining that "my camera can't access Dropbox." But that's how the technology scene changes, and how slowly camera design departments catch on.