Ever lost the lead for your digital camera? Of course you have -- it's practically a legal requirement. The new, 12.2-megapixel Samsung PL90 solves that problem by borrowing an idea from the budget camcorder market: a flip-out USB arm that directly connects the camera to a computer.
It's an idea that was pioneered by Flip Video camcorders and copied by everybody from Kodak, with the Zi8, to Sony, with the MHS-PM1, and Panasonic, with the HM-TA1. This is the first stills camera to use the idea, however.
The USB arm transfers pictures and charges the camera. If you're nowhere near a USB socket, you can plug the arm into any plugs cleverly equipped with USB connections. Samsung has been including these with its cameras for a while, and Apple's iPod, iPhone and iPad have them too.
Specs-wise, the PL90 is a straightforward point-and-shoot camera. It has a 4x optical zoom, 69mm (2.7-inch) screen, face detection and other features of that ilk.
With photography trade show Photokina six weeks away, we could be seeing the first of a new round of cameras packed with gimmicks -- sorry, we mean unique selling points -- after a generation packing built-in projectors, GPS and 3D lenses.
The PL90 will be available in September for the very wallet-friendly price of £130. That's a solid-gold bargain for a pocketable snapper, let alone one with a nifty gimmick. At that price, the PL90 could even compete with Flip's camcorders and their budget brethren -- except the camera's video specs are its one weak spot. The PL90 shoots 640x480-pixel video, which is good enough for YouTube, but not a patch on even the cheapest high-definition camcorder.