LAS VEGAS - As camera growth slows in the U.S. and Japan, Casio is leaning heavily on introducing new concept cameras that deliver exciting features and are attractive for today's social lifestyles.
For that reason, the company chose International CES 2011 to unveil its Tryx Concept Camera ($250 suggested retail).
The Tryx features a 180-degree pivoting 3-inch LCD screen inset in a surrounding frame that carries the camera's optical lens elements. The screen can adapt to fit the user's preferred shooting style and to capture images from virtually any angle or lighting environment.
A second hinge point enables the frame to twist away from the screen to act as a hoop that can be positioned as a camera support
stand for tabletop placement. Alternatively the frame can serve as a hook so the camera can be hung from a wall or a doorknob to shoot video of a party or other event, hands free.
The frame can be adjusted so that the body can act as a stand, allowing the Tryx to stand on its own, or it can be rotated 180 degrees so that users can take self portraits and see themselves in the frame.
The Tryx features a 12-megapixel Back Side Illuminated high-speed CMOS sensor with strong low-light shooting capability, a 3-inch 460,000-dot touchscreen display, 720p HD video capture and an ultra-wide-angle lens.
Also included is high-dynamic range (HDR) processing to further improve exposures in difficult lighting conditions, slow-motion video, and panorama shot.
To simplify photo sharing onboard software enables fast uploading to popular social networking platforms.
Toshi Iguchi, Casio U.S. digital imaging products general manager, told the Official CES Daily that Casio felt the Tryx had to look different, offer unique features and be useful to young adults with an active, social lifestyle.
The digital camera market is getting more commoditized, Iguchi said, due to the combination of the high penetration rate of digital cameras in U.S. homes, relatively little feature differentiation between camera brands and the lack of standout products to revive consumer excitement.
In developing the Tryx camera, Casio targeted young, socially networked adults in their college years to mid 30s.
"Photography is a large part of how young people express themselves today, and they want the ability to share their photographs with friends over social networking sites," Iguchi said. "They have the ability to immediately identify the benefits of our new camera, and that's why we've targeted them in this launch."
The Tryx was created around two key themes: the ability to take pictures from virtually any angle and the ability to take images shot in difficult lighting conditions and have them look exceptional.
The camera can be placed on a wall and with the rotating LCD screen, positioned to take party shots, or the camera can be held high overhead while framing the shot on the tilted LCD.
In addition, the camera's HDR features adjusts images to bring out details lost in overly bright or dark settings.
Casio will make Tryx the centerpiece in its brand awareness marketing for 2011, Iguchi said.
"We decided to heavily invest in the Tryx marketing campaign for 2011, because we believe the market is looking for new innovative ideas," he added.
Starting at CES, Casio has arranged to wrap the Las Vegas monorail station in Tryx posters.
The national campaign will target "effective marketing vehicles," including television spots, Iguchi said, adding that the current plan is to make one of its highest marketing investments in a product to date.
Despite the successful launch of the company's innovative GPS camera in 2010, Casio's brand positioning remains lower than desired, he said. The goal is to hit double-digit growth in 2011.
The current Casio brand position is low, although the current digital camera category using an LCD screen was initiated by the company with the QV10, more than a decade ago.
"I believe the Tryx product will give us the opportunity to revive the business again," he said.