One of the highlights of this year’s Macworld/iWorld San Francisco was the appearance of Will.i.am, the multi-talented member of the internationally acclaimed hip hop group, the Black Eyed Peas. The star, whose real name is William James Adams, engaged in a near-hour long discussion with Intel futurist Brian David John on “futurehunting” and also plugged his a new, albeit pricey product known as foto.sosho. Will.i.am made a similar appearance at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show last month in Las Vegas.
The accessory for both the iPhone 4/4S and the iPhone 5, transforms a phone into a device with superior photographic features and social media connectivity. There are three versions of the foto.sosho - the C.4 and V.4 for the iPhone 4S and V.5 for iPhone 5. The C.4 is the most affordable, entry level item, whereas the V.4 comes with equipped with a slide out keyboard for messaging and interchangeable lenses. The V.5 is said to nearly double the amount of mega-pixels capability and an optical zoom. The C.4 and V.4 are currently available in the U.K. only, priced at £199.00 ($312) and £299.00 ($470) respectively. The V.5 is expected later this year and given the other pricing, may tip the device to over $500.
Although the device seems practical enough for the broad market and the discerning consumer, the price is likely to scare off a substantial portion of potential buyers. Despite what some industry analysts say about the point and shoot camera industry, some digital cameras at much more than half the price of a foto.sosho, have far better megapixel and zoom specifications. There is also the premise of other photo-based social media applications, particularly Instagram, that doesn’t cost the consumer anything but time to download it and understand how it works.
At Macworld San Francisco, Will.i.am said he hoped to have his new product available at Apple Stores although at this time, is unknown. However the foto.sosho app is already available as a free download. As elegant as the new foto.sosho looks and is purported to do, its hefty price tag might bog it down before it achieves worldwide mass appeal comparable to the Black Eyed Peas themselves.