I've railed against the pointless war for more megapixels in digital cameras before: photography is about how best to capture light and including more densely-packed, tinier pixels just doesn't make sense. It seems that someone in Samsung's camera design office agrees. The upcoming innovative NX camera is all about the image sensor.
The camera features an APS-C size sensor inside it. That's the not-quite-35mm-film-sized sensor in most digital SLR cameras that aren't considered "professional" units, and it's many times bigger than the tiny sliver of silicon normally found in compact point-and-shoot units.
Samsung haven't even bothered to announce the megapixel count of the new camera—I'm guessing somewhere around 10-12 megapixels, common on entry-level DSLRs—because it's almost not relevant. Simply by using the larger sensor, the camera will have larger, better optical-quality pixels that result in high-quality images with less of the artifacts often found in compact camera photos.
It's a clever departure from "normal" consumer digital camera trends, particularly since the NX is packaged to look somewhat like a compact unit. It's still fairly pocketable. The use of an electronic viewfinder, instead of the lens and mirror assembly in a DSLR, has allowed the camera to have a shallow front-to-back dimension. It's fatter than the slimmest units, though by no means huge. It'll also have the focussing system used in compact units, but it looks like Samsung has also included an interchangeable lens system—one key technology differentiator in favor of DSLRs—so this pocket-friendly unit will still have a lot of options for creative control over the photos it produces.
No pricing has been announced, but the camera will hit the shops in the "second half of 2009." Lets hope other camera companies follow Samsung's lead.