TWICE: Is wireless connectivity convincing smartphone photographers to step up to better-featured products?
Masahiro Horie, Nikon: We’ve been seeing for some time an interest in photography growing as a result of consumers who want to capture and share imagery via mobile devices. For those who love capturing images and video, we believe there is a market to upgrade to achieve new levels of creativity and image quality in order to share a more authentic moment/experience. In fact, we are actually finding that this is a customer who tends to sway more toward a DSLR camera to further their photographic passion.
Overall, we believe the best solution is for cameras to coexist with smartphones. Cameras deliver superior image quality and the capability to capture many different types of subjects in various conditions. We continue to add connectivity options, including enabling users to send camera images directly to a connected device for instant sharing. We recognize the importance of the consumer’s ability to share and most of our latest products — across Coolpix, Nikon 1 and our DSLR lines — feature connectivity so consumers do not have to sacrifice quality for the ability to instantly share. To further bridge this gap, Nikon also offers the S800c, an Androidpowered connected camera that allows users to instantly upload to their social networks.
Christopher Chute, IDC: The camera industry needs to emphasize this as a primary feature. To date our opinion is that it has been more of a secondary feature lost in the noise of megapixels and zoom ratios. The industry really needs to address the benefits of high-quality photography that can now be shared to any device. Consumers really aren’t aware of this feature, and as time goes on, will be less and less likely to view the camera category as having any value beyond zoom.
Ben Arnold, The NPD Group: We are starting to see connectivity become a more prominent feature, but in my opinion this new focus is late. Smartphone manufacturers are improving the cameras in the devices, making image capture a hallmark in marketing efforts. I think the camera industry needs to meet this challenge head on, make Wi-Fi more of a priority, and create more of a connection between high-quality image capture and the photo apps that are so popular with consumers.
Jim Malcom, Ricoh: As wireless connectivity becomes more available it is important for manufacturers to implement open industry standards that are widely compatible across all mobile devices and platforms. Products like Eye-Fi, which offer command and control functionality through the use of open industry methods, will ensure a uniform customer experience that is forward compatible with wireless networks and infrastructure as it matures over the next several years.
Eliott Peck, Canon: We need to make it easy, make it convenient, make it available anywhere, anytime.
Ron Gazzola, Samsung: Samsung has been innovating and leading in the wireless camera category for a number of years, and our 2013 lineup is no exception. Samsung is committed to driving the connected category of cameras, and we feel that our Smart lineup — particularly the NX series and Galaxy cameras — highlight the importance of connectivity in a digital camera. Certainly, the Galaxy camera and our new Galaxy NX highlight the benefits of convergence and offer consumers superior image quality along with the benefits of portability and connectivity they are accustomed to in their smartphones.
Stephan Guelpen, Panasonic: We think that eventually users will embrace the capabilities that this technology offers — as of today we do not see many users actively using these features.