Appcam: a brand new operating system for cameras

Appcam DSLR camera

Appcam is a new project promising to introduce a new operating system for cameras. Similar to the iPhone, Appcam will introduce "camera-apps" which will be controlled with a touchscreen. Here are some of the advantages listed on their website:

  • The Appcam is easier to handle
  • The Appcam is faster to handle
  • The User-Interface is clearly- arranged
  • There is only one operation logic
  • While using the Appcam it won’t longer be necessary to go through complicated camera-menus and submenus
  • The arrangement of the control- buttons on the Appcam’s user interface is no longer set by the producer. Each control can be individually configured, to the specific liking of the user or depending on the shooting conditions.
  • Handling and configuration of the Appcam are intuitive and very easy- studying the manual will not be necessary.

Appcam compact camera

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  • ennan

    I can see a system like this developing very soon. The idea of apps for cameras has been going around for a while and it makes a lot of sense. I just don’t know if there will be a standardisation in the OS (although that would make app development easier)

    I think a special skinned version of Android would be better – one geared towards cameras rather than phones. You could download games and stuff as well. Would be good for compacts – especially for younger users. They’ve already put Android into non phone devices (for example headphones) so it’s certainly possible.

    • Sky

      Woh… I really hope that they won’t use skinned android. It’d be crap.

  • I like the idea of an open source OS, but I am not sure I want all my controls via touch screen.

  • Steve

    Errr….don’t they need to develop software for hardware ? Are they just assuming Nikon et al will give away all their secrets ? And who would buy a camera which had incomplete software ? And if it is open source, they have to publish their code….

    • ennan

      Each individual manufacturer could skin the basic OS for each camera model just like they do with Android phones. That way each one would be suited to each specific model without giving away any secrets but the overall general interface would be the same.
      The camera could also come preloaded with brand/model specific applications or widgets just like Android phones do. That way manufacturers can still compete on features whilst still offering the benefits of open source.

      • Tony

        I’m sure he wasn’t talking about the user interface but rather something like operating system. And in order to create a good working one, programmers have to know about hardware pretty well.

        I also don’t see any of those in the list of advantages to be a real advantage at all since I don’t feel like going through settings in my camera to be troublesome in anyway.

        Anyway, software in the camera is one of the least selling point in the camera, and the more you make it to do thing the slower your camera will be.

        • ennan

          I agree that going through a cameras settings is hardly an issue. What could be good is the ability to download extra software for your camera – different filters, effects, post processing, the ability to share with social networks etc. I think this could really appeal to younger people who want a fun camera to mess around with.

          would hate to see this in an SLR but I really can’t see anyone doing that.

          • Steve

            Software is hardware specific; it controls specific hardware. So no hardware = useless/pointless code, or, as is more likely in this case, bs.

          • Tony

            You are right. It could work nicely with p&s. I’m sure some big companies such as Canon & Sony already look into it by now.

  • Matt

    Hahahaha. Who made this, a 12yo? It looks like a joke and probably is a joke. It doesn’t look useable at all.

    • Sky

      It’s a patent. These ain’t made by artists, but rather technicians who want to illustrate the idea. Final product never is anything similar to patent of it.

  • BornOptimist

    It’s a dead project before it starts.
    From their website: “The patented operation system…”
    There are many ways to court, but few are more certain than software patents.
    (which btw is quite the opposite of innovation).

    • Sky

      Yep. Agreed. It might be just a possibility that mr. Christian Springub tries to play a patent troll. Or at least: he will try in future.

  • scalesusa

    I did a web search for AppCam, not much there, but here is some Mac software from Michael Martin in Germany.

    It sounds vaguely related, both are German, but the owners are different.

    I did find that a website was registered on july 30 2011, apparently to show this. It apparently runs on, which is further nested into, which has another contact – all list the same person. Christian Springub.

    I would give this a zero level of being real, just imagination, perhaps to drive traffic to their site .

  • Din

    Some Samsung P&S already have an OS with apps.
    Look the SH100, it is a smartphone-like style with different apps and you can customize.

  • lol

  • speedog

    I think it works. The controlls dont work on the touchsrcreen. They work with scrollwheels wich are aligned with the app. And its not an open OS.

    Cool stuff…

  • glockenklang

    I have read the description. I think it works. The controlls dont work on the touchsrcreen. They work with scrollwheels wich are aligned with the app.

    Cool stuff…

    • Andre

      I like the way you spelled conTROLLS in 2 consecutive posts.

    • BornOptimist

      Christian, have you considered the size of the display if you want controlwheels on both sides of the display, AND at the same time have space for your thumb on the right hand side of the control (like you have sketched)?
      For a smaller p&s it would be like a 1.5″ display.

  • Bob

    Touchscreen would never work on professional cameras, unless the touch technology can evolve to be operable with gloves on and/or in harsh conditions. Also, what about underwater housings for cameras. Having a touch screen renders the camera pretty much useless.

    Then, there’s no chance that major camera manufacturers would drop their own OS in favour of some third party just because it supports apps and has some minor advantages.

    From the looks of it, this is probably targeted at consumer level cameras. With people being accustomed to having apps on their mobile phones, it seems like a natural move to bring something similar to the camera. But again, why would manufactures even consider swapping their OS for some third party when they could just improve on their own.

    Consumer-wise it sounds great – one OS, plenty of apps and whatnot. But the guys who thought of it will have to do a lot of pitching and put a lot of effort before this even gets remotely close to being used by the major players.

    • Sky

      @bob – SD cards also don’t work in gloves or harsh conditions, and yet… this standard is like a plague, almost everywhere.

      I’m bit afraid sooner or later the same will come with touch screens in cameras.

      • Bob

        SD/CF cards is not something you have to fiddle with all the time.

  • MarkR

    I like the concept, sounds very promising.

    But they’re not helping themselves sell this by posting a crude sketch of their idea on their site. Unprofessional looking.

  • Tyler

    For all the people talking about younger users liking this on more basic cameras and the ability To have apps and social media, then you are just talking about an iPhone/droid/any other similar product. By the time we break it down to the people that would use it, it has basically become a really nice app inside a phone with a supped up camera

  • Camaman

    I like the idea.
    That way you can at least hope someone makes an app that would integrate a feature manufacturer “forgot”.
    Like more stops for AE bracketing, WB bracketing, etc…
    In a way this app based camera would go easier on ones pocket. We would get that upgrade itch a lot less. 🙂

  • Sky

    Well, this was only a matter of time. Minolta did something similar to this quite long ago, but back than it was too early to be successful. Now with iDevices being so popular, and touch screens it has quite a big chance of success.

    The big question is: Will Canon, Nikon or Sony decide to implement it? I don’t think so. And if they wont than such system will not be anything important nor noticeable on the market.

  • Alex

    “The Appcam is easier to handle” – no, the Appcam interface – if implemented as shown – it’s a nightmare.
    “The Appcam is faster to handle” – nope, it isn’t. Current DSLRs like my Pentax (which IMO has an excellent UI, not that others are bad) allows you to change all the relevant parameters with the camera to your eye – including ISO.
    “The User-Interface is clearly- arranged” – yes, with 6 dials on the back of the camera; I’d call that a deranged interface. The one who did that clearly is not a photographer nor an (photographic industry) engineer I’d say; since the result will be a much bigger camera with a worse UI.
    “There is only one operation logic” – the “get in the way of the photographer” logic?
    “While using the Appcam it won’t longer be necessary to go through complicated camera-menus and submenus” – does that means you won’t be able to set anything but few parameters?
    Sorry, I don’t see why a camera company would give up on a dedicated OS (like Softune) and being able to control the hardware (does Appcam say anything about dedicated processors like Fujitsu Milbeaut?) for something like that.
    Maybe, if they’ll show a proper concept and even better, a working prototype I’ll reconsider – but will it happen? So far, what I see is a rude sketch made by someone who thought the cameras should be more like a smartphone.

  • Nathan

    Yet another GUI attempt by a non-photographer who somehow feels his creation is superior without consulting photographers or field testing the interface.
    How can he know it’s a good idea if no camera yet runs it? Nobody’s dragged a camera using this interface to a shoot and used it, so it’s not out of the “hey guys, i have an idea” phase.

    Ah, the internet, where every dumbass can speak.
    /like me, for example.

  • Cute. More effort than a typical forum post but without hardware it’s just a now-public napkin sketch. I haven’t seen any indication that companies capable of making suitable hardware are interested in opening up their platforms to third-party software, either…and this is beyond just software, it requires significant hardware changes.

    The ‘soft menu’ design reminds me a bit more of medium format digital backs.

    • Tony

      They just wait for someone to buy their patent right that’s all.

  • john

    The question is, does it allow me to text and make phone calls?

    • Bob

      I am sure someone will write an app for it.

  • Biff

    What no one has mentioned is: As soon as you look through the viewfinder, your nose will be running apps. Not cool…

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