Shozu review

As I’ve mentioned earlier I’ve recently begun to use a Windows Mobile 5.0 phone, the Cingular 2125 aka the HTC Faraday.

The phone’s EDGE/GPRS connection has proven to be very useful here in Delhi where one can end up spending a lot of time in the car driving from one part of the city to another (though the traffic gets better every year as the infrastructure improves). So I’ve been using an Airtel SIM chip with an unlimited GPRS subscription and one incredibly cool and useful service that I’ve been using on this trip to India is Shozu.

Here’s the usage scenario for Shozu:
1) snap a photograph with your phone’s camera
2) tell Shozu whether you want to upload the photograph to flickr
3) if you answer yes, it automatically uploads it to flickr

(And if you want, you can configure it so Shozu skips step #2 so every photograph you take automatically gets uploaded… not a feature you’d want to turn on if you were, say, Paris Hilton.)

I used this feature all night at the wedding last night so my parents, who are sorely missing Ananya back in the States, could see near real-time photographs of her:

Shozu installed pretty easily on my 2125 and linking my Shozu and flickr account into the Shozu software on my phone was pretty easy too. I particularly like the way Shozu seamlessly integrates in with the camera software on my Windows Mobile phone. Immediately after I snap a photograph, the Shozu screen seamlessly pops up to ask me if the photo I just took is something I want to upload. The uploading is also seamless and in-the-background and I could easily check to see whether images I had chosen to “Shozu” had actually been uploaded or not.

The only downside is that the camera on my 2125 (like most phone cameras) isn’t that great. Actually, it’s pretty terrible for anything other than, well, photos where I don’t care about image quality. So, what I really want is to have this built into my digital SLR (like Jason Calacanis put on his Christmas wishlist). Nonetheless, I see myself continuing to use Shozu a lot and it’s a great pointer to the future of Internet connected consumer electronics devices.

The other thought I have is this: considering that early reviews of Wi-fi digital cameras haven’t been that hot, the people designing these products would do well to carefully study the Shozu experience.

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