Interesting... Way back when the cameras on phones were good enough to take pictures of polar bears in blizzards, and still be blurry, I wondered if any of the camera manufacturers would figure out that it's probably easier to put a phone into a camera... Gee... That only took a decade...
Looking at the article and UI, my gut reaction is to scream in horror - I would have expected that the camera UI would come up front, and then have a button to expose Android. I've not seen the actual device though, so not sure there. Then, seeing this, it sounds like sanity prevailed:
Together but separate. The camera and Android parts of the Nikon S800c exist somewhat separately, so the camera operates in two different modes. When you're taking pictures, you're in Camera mode, and when using the Android apps, you're in Android mode. You switch between the two via touch-controls on the OLED screen, and you have to explicitly switch back to Camera mode before you can take a picture. The shutter button does nothing while in Android mode, which we found a little disconcerting. It doesn't take long to switch from one mode to the other, but we'd worry about missing a key shot if we were off fiddling in Android-land when something interesting happened. Since the penalty of exiting Camera mode could be missed shots, the Nikon S800c asks you to confirm that you want to switch to Android mode, with a second touch of the screen. Switching back to Camera mode requires only a single touch.
We're frankly a little undecided how to feel about the Camera/Android dichotomy. On the one hand, we really want the camera to feel like a camera when we're shooting with it, and that dictates an entirely different user interface than that employed by Android. On the other hand, we'd like the integration between the two functions to be more seamless, at least to the extent of having the Shutter button override Android functions, to let us snap an image quickly. As with most of our camera evaluations, we'll only know how we feel about the Nikon S800c's user interface once we've had a chance to live with it for a while. We had only a relatively short time with a prototype device.
I'd like to see one of those in action. Sounds like a very cool device, and if I were in the market for a point-and-shoot camera, that's the kind of thing that would be a big plus in my books. (Battery doesn't sound that great though... well, can't win 'em all.)
If it can actually take pictures QUICKLY, then I think it will be a decent contender. I loathe waiting for cameras to take pictures. Makes the film days sound so much better sometimes.
Not sure how it will be received -- my guess is that this will be a new start for more integrated devices. But it definitely is a very exciting development!