Looking like a primitive relative of Johnny Five may seem like a fatal (if sentimental) setback, but HP's latest webcam carries a number of aces.
Firstly, as the title of this news story makes rather clear, this is the world's first three megapixel webcam. Well, it is and it isn't. You see, much like many of the webcams we've seen which boast about being HD capable, what we're primarily talking about here are still shots.
So while the 'Elite Auto Focus Webcam' (to use its rather dreary official title) does have the oomph to shoot 3MP stills with autofocus (a ridiculous 12MP with interpolation), it's most practical setting is VGA video recording at 30fps and we've been there before, a lot.
Still, the EAFW has a lot to recommend it: 800 x 600 at 20fps, for example, though 1280 x 960 and 1600 x 1200 at 8-9fps and 5-6fps aren't going to do much for your average Skype conversation. Face tracking is in there too, along with a flexible design that offers 55 degrees of tilt and panning of up to 320 degrees (160 degrees left, 160 degrees right). A stereo mic is built in too, while 'Magic-i' video effects software (HP's own version of the special effects long seen in Logitech products) is bundled as well along with shortcut buttons for Video, Photography and Chat - the last of these starts the IM of your choice.
There's no pricing or release date set yet for the EAFW, but don't expect to be waiting long. As for as when we'll be getting HP's designers out of the 80s however, that's a much tougher question to answer...