By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
TWICE: The consensus on the camera phone has been that if it has any impact, it will be on the lowest tier of stand-alone DSC. Has anything changed the way you view this market?
Giordano: Interesting story. Last week, my son Christopher, six years old, graduated kindergarten. So you have 90 kids on stage. You have 300 screaming parents and grandparents in the theater. They've got all kinds of cameras and video camcorders. I didn't see a single camera phone.
If you were going to capture the most important events of your life — and that's what photography does — you're not going to take out a camera phone on your Mediterranean cruise and take a picture. They're great communication devices. They are fun, but I think they have a long way to go to really capture the passion. I really think that's important. What it does is it opens up digital photography to lots of people. It's hard to compete with free. But what it comes back to is trust: are you're going to trust that picture and that moment, to a camera phone, or do you want to pull out a Nikon?
Muller: I don't know that you could ever make a true imaging device that captures the passion of photography in a camera phone without significantly changing the form factor of it so that it's not really a camera or a phone that someone wants to carry around every day, everywhere. You're not going to get the highest quality lens in a very compact camera phone or a very high-quality flash.
Scott: I think I have to agree with these gentlemen on two points. One, certainly these devices don't do justice to picture-taking activity. At Kodak, we think it's great, because more images captured by any means, that's a good thing.
However, where there might be some impact is on cameras under $100, that are delivering something that is certainly not optimal, probably far from optimal in the consumer's mind. I've seen ads out there for $29.95 digital cameras. If the impact is going to be anywhere, it's not the people sitting in this room. It's probably to those brands that are “B brands,” if you will. Way below $100.
Gazzola: I think the opportunity with cellphones, as Phil said, there's more and more prints out there, and at Fujifilm that's an opportunity for us and our retailers to help customers translate those images into prints.
Desmond: I would say that I also see it strictly as augmenting the business, not replacing it in any way, shape or form. But I think camera phones can be very important as an indicator to us in the industry as to what the consumer is doing with the images and how they're sharing them. They're sharing directly on their LCDs on their phones. Then they're also electronically sharing them over the Web. And this, I think, is a future trend that we as an industry can focus on, because those are two key points that the consumers are looking to be able to take advantage of.
Zakrzewski: Camera phones are a great introduction [to digital imaging]. Somebody with a camera phone gets introduced to digital imaging and then suddenly it's like, “Well, I'm not completely satisfied with the results, but I know to step up and to move onto a true digital camera that is going to make that experience much more enjoyable.” I think it actually is a benefit that will drive more people toward a true digital camera.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.