By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
TWICE: Camera phones don't appear to have cannibalized the point-and-shoot market to date, but are they a long term threat? Now that camera phones have reached 2- and 3-megapixels, will they contribute much in the way of photo printing?
Lubell: As far as them being significant today, no, I'd say they haven't been. The low resolution certainly contributes to that but there's still a matter of sending those images over a wireless network.
Rubin: Or even figuring out how to get them off the phone.
Lubell: Yes. I think what it comes down to is the core competencies of the manufacturers and giving consumers reasons [to buy a still camera]. The camera portion of a phone is in a feature package of an overall experience, whereas a stand-alone camera has other value added features such as image stabilization, face detection and better response times. These are valid reasons to purchase a standalone camera.
Magee: And the people that have done it, and have tried to do it, are not happy with the experience of taking pictures from their phones. The phones that take good pictures are really expensive.
Cordova: I think it's difficult to imagine that [phones] are going to get high-quality optics and image sensors. I just don't think that those consumers interested in capturing quality images are going to grab a camera phone any time soon.
Lee: As new technologies come into the still camera market, there's a possibility of cellular technology in a camera. So if the industry continues to push forward to make high-quality cameras and to help move the pictures out them, that will go a long way to keeping it solid for us as opposed to letting the camera phone in.
Maciag: I echo the comments of the rest of the panel. If you're going to go on a trip, on a vacation, attend a family event, you're going to take at least one camera, your point-and-shoot or SLR, not a camera phone.
Pepple: We believe that wherever and however an image is captured, we want it printed. And we want it printed simply. We've worked with AT&T, Sprint and Verizon to develop Fujifilm's Get the Picture mobile service, which is really just a simple way to enter in a ZIP code into the phone and find a nearby printing service. But we too do not think that the cellphone will replace the digital camera. We still think the digital camera will have its place. We see cellphones as opportunistic photography.
Rubin: I do have a bit of concern to John's comment actually, about using a digital still camera when you on vacation versus the opportunistic use. That could be a bit of a challenge down the road because obviously we're all seeing lots of consumers take lots of photos with their camera phones. Those pictures may be in jail today, but we've seen what's happened with the camcorder market — it's become more reserved for special occasions. I don't think there's any imminent threat of that. But down the road, that could become an issue.
TWICE: Have camera phone users been printing? I know the infrastructure's in place.
Magee: Our data says that the opportunity is there. We're enabling Bluetooth printers for the photo dock, and also for the all-in-one printers. So the data says it's there, and we just have to wait and see if the prints come.
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.