Android cameras have continually lagged behind the iPhone in both image quality and performance. While Samsung has probably come the closest, it has never matched the image experts from Cupertino. Samsung is out to fix that, though, and is doing that in the most brute-force way possible: merging its mobile and camera divisions.
The ETNews report, which was first spotted by The Verge, states that the merger happened yesterday, and the new division is up and running. Samsung Electronics was quoted as saying:
We will transplant the brand, sales networks, software competency, and manufacturing competitiveness of the Wireless Business Division into the Camera Business Division and integrate the technical know-how of the two business divisions into competency for differentiating our smartphones.
So the smartphone group will learn how to make better cameras from the camera group, and the camera group will learn world-domination techniques from the smartphone group. The mobile group's "Software competency" refers to Touchwiz, so don't be surprised if Samsung's camera software starts getting additional features.
While camera phones have been eating into the point-and-shoot market for years, Samsung's camera division makes devices all the way up to entry-level mirrorless DSLR-style cameras. Samsung has been experimenting with phone/camera hybrids with devices like Galaxy S Zoom, a phone with an optical zoom lens; and the Galaxy NX, a DSLR-style device that runs Android. Phones like the iPhone and Nokia Lumia 1020 are strong evidence that the future of point-and-shoot cameras is not bright, and it looks like Samsung is preparing for just such a future.