To USB or Not to USB

 

Building a Point and Shoot Camera to Compete with Smart Phones – Part 1

Falling Shipments of Point and Shoot Cameras

The Wall Street Journal reported that Point and Shoot Sales are down 42% in the first 5 months of 2013.  That seems like a lot to me.

If you read the article, you’ll learn the major manufacturers are forecasting further drops.  They are introducing 10 instead of 20 new models a year.   And they are focusing on higher end SLRs with nice lenses.  But even those cameras with nicer, bigger lenses are forecasted to drop in volume sales.

What does this tell us?

(Other than that Techonlogy Advances without regard for anyone’s opinion)

SmartPhones Progressing

Platforms like the Qualcomm SnapDragon 800 and Samsung Exynos 5 both have USB 3.0 capabilities.  The SnapDragon 800 has the ability to record and playback 4Kvideo and take 55MP pictures.   Of course, all mobile phones can upload and share pictures and video almost anywhere.   The only thing really limiting these platforms is the size and quality of the lenses.  And those are improving.  Companies like Aptina and Broadlight both have 4K Image sensors available today.  

If Phones can share, and cameras can not, what is the answer?
Sharing is the answer

A Canon representative points out that Sharing is more important than ever.  Hopefully, if you have a SmartPhone you’ve e-mailed at least one picture. 

If you are even remotely cool, you’ve done some light editing, or used Instagram, and/or posted these pictures to Facebook, or Twitter, or their equivalent.  I mean, we have a Director of Marketing here, Navraj Nandra, whose posting pictures to Facebook all the time of fun things he’s doing.

You may have even posted a video directly to YouTube your YouKu or something in your neighborhood.  If you haven’t done any of these things, your kids definitely have.

What should Digital Camera Makers focus on?

1) Better Sharing

Camera makers have to make it much, much easier to move the great pictures they take to the Internet for sharing.

This likely means they need:

a) a powerful Applications Processor to run the applications/software to process the picture and get ready to post or send the picture somewhere and

b)  either a WiFi chip or a Modem (LTE preferred) or both to connect to a wireless network to actual transmit and maybe

c) a touch screen like on a Samsung Galaxy or Apple iPhone or Nokia Lumia

In fact, Samsung actually built a camera like this with a Modem built in and WiFi that runs Google Apps. I don’t know how it sells, but it was/is clearly on the leading edge.

My question is:  Why haven’t any any other camera companies even attempted this?  What makes them so conservative when this is clearly the trend?  Every year a new phone comes out with more features, better imaging, and more of everything.  And some camera companies are only coming out now with WiFi Cameras.

Especially since the drop is so dramatic now.  If you look back exactly 10 years, you see that Digital Camera sales increased 93% in 2003 in the same period

Where is the dramatic response by camera companies to hold their position against phones?

Next time, more on how to design a better Point and Shoot Camera with USB 3.0.  I’m not done, I’m just out of time.

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USB Success

Today’s success story through TechValidate is for a Global 500 Electronics Company.  They build a server that interfaces to many kinds of devices.  Here’s their story and what they think of our USB IP.

USB Humor

And finally, something everyone has experienced.   And, if you remember quantum mechanics, will appreciate on a quantum level also.

Thanks to Agent K for this contribution.

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