Tiny Panasonic video camera has big memory

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. unveiled a cell phone-sized digital still camera with video and voice recording and SD (secure digital) audio player functions, the company announced Tuesday.

The SV-AV10 D-Snap measures 28 by 50 by 87 millimeters and weighs 98 grams, a similar size to a mobile phone, according to a statement from Matsushita, better known for its brand name Panasonic. The camera consists of a 2-inch (5-centimeter) LCD (liquid crystal display) panel, which can be folded down to the device for carrying around, it said.

It allows users to record either digital still images with a 640 by 480 pixel resolution at fine mode or moving images with 320 by 240 pixel resolution in MPEG4 format, the statement said.

The rechargeable battery will last for an hour when recording MPEG4 video, according to Koji Ohno, a spokesman for Matsushita.

The recording medium is an SD card, which also allows for voice recording and music playback with AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), one of the coding formats that is adopted by SD cards, Ohno said.

The product takes a 512M-byte SD card, which is expected to appear on the market around the time the SV-AV10 camera launches on Jan. 20, Ohno said. With the 512M-byte card, the camera can store up to 3,520 still images at fine mode and 14,080 at normal mode, he said.

The company expects the device to be more entertainment communication tool than quality image recorder, and is targeting it at young people who would carry the product to play around with it, he said.

The company will also launch a mobile printer on Jan. 20. The SV-P10 prints images recorded SD cards, the statement said.

No suggested retail prices have been set for the products, although the camera is expected to be priced around 45,000 yen (US$353), Ohno said. The company has no plan for sales outside Japan, he said.

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