Altek Leo debuts as 'world's first' 3.5G pro camera smartphone

Announced in May, Altek is really making a splash at CommunicAsia 2010 in Singapore this week with the launch of the Leo, which they are boasting as the "the world's first 3.5G professional camera smartphone."

Announced in May, Altek is really making a splash at CommunicAsia 2010 in Singapore this week with the launch of the Leo, which they are boasting as the "the world's first 3.5G professional camera smartphone."

Most of the specs about the Leo makes it sound more like an ultra-compact digital camera with some smartphone capabilities, rather than the other way around. Calling it a "professional" camera might be a bit of a stretch, but for a smartphone, it's a huge milestone.

The Google Android 2.1-based device hosts a built-in camera/camcorder with a 14-megapixel CCD. A 14-megapixel image sensor has become the standard this year for all new point-and-shoots, while most cameras found in smartphones are still somewhere down around 8-megapixels (and Apple is still stalling the iPhone with a minimal upgrade to 5-megapixels). So things are off to a good start already with the Leo.

Additional highlights of this autofocus camera include a xenon flash and 3x optical zoom. Photographers can use the Leo much like they would other pocket cameras, as there are plenty of on-board preset functions, like fish eye and blink detection. Users can also do a little bit of editing and airbrushing directly on the handheld with the "skin enhancement" feature. Finally, the Leo also shoots 720p HD video at 30fps and H.264 compression. Users can upload their creations easily via on-board Wi-Fi or 3G.

According to CNET Asia, the Altek Leo will be rolled out in Asia during the fourth quarter of this year for $499 USD. Sadly, no word on when this will hit North American shores yet.

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