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Pocket Camcorders Get Feature Rich

1/24/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern
LAS VEGAS — New pocket camcorders were positioned at International CES to expand beyond the bare bones feature set that propelled the category to popularity in previous years.

Features such as 3D recording, Wi-Fi connectivity and swivel displays will be incorporated in 2011 pocket camcorders.

The tiny pocket camcorder carried the camcorder market on its shoulders in 2010. Lead by Cisco’s popular Flip line, and a broadening assortment of models from leading camcorder and imaging brands, pocket camcorder shipments surged 67 percent in 2010 to 11.9 million units, according to IDC.

The research firm expects unit shipments to reach 17 million in 2014.

Today, the name of the game is differentiation, said Chris Chute, research manager, IDC. “Cisco has been hinting at Wi-Fi for a while — we see more ruggedization and possibly some GPS integration.” Despite sales growth, manufacturers will have to work hard to distinguish their products from a crowded field. Besides Kodak, Sony and Flip, Chute said, “no one else has discovered that hook yet.”

Kodak will offer a pair of new pocket camcorders. The PlayFull captures 1,920 by 1080p video and 5-megapixel stills. It offers a built-in USB port, onboard editing software, face tracking and digital image stabilization. It will work with an optional remote and retails for $129.

The company will also update its waterproof PlaySport camcorder. Retailing for $179, the new PlaySport can be dunked in up to 10 feet of water and is also shock- and dust-proof. It offers 1,920 by 1080p video recording and 5-megapixel still capture with a fixed focal length, autofocus lens. It features a 2-inch LCD that automatically adjusts its brightness based on ambient lighting conditions. The camcorder also offers an electronic Glare Shield that improves visibility under bright lighting. Additional features include a flip-out USB arm, remote-control compatibility, digital image stabilization and an underwater video mode.

Samsung will introduce two new pocket camcorders. Pricing and availability were not available at press time. The P300 is a 1080p camcorder that records in the H.264 format. It features an 8-megapixel backside illuminated CMOS sensor, a 3x optical zoom lens, 3-inch touchscreen LCD, built-in USB plug and a Smart Pivot function that lets users rotate their recording angle. It will be sold in black and silver.

The P100 is another 1080p model that offers a 5-megapixel back-side illuminated CMOS sensor, 1x optical zoom, a 2.3-inch LCD and built-in USB plug. It will be sold in black and silver.

Toshiba will bring its Camileo S30 into the U.S. market in 2011. The pistolgrip 1080p camcorder features a swivel 3-inch touchscreen display, a 16x digital zoom and digital image stabilization. Additional features include 128MB of internal memory with an SDXC card slot (up to 64GB), an HDMI outlet and a one-touch upload button. It will retail for a suggested $179.

Sony will keep its Bloggie Touch line of touchscreenbased pocket cameras on the market in 2011 in addition to adding the Bloggie Duo, which offers two LCD displays (one on the front, one on the back). Pricing and availability were not available.

Vivitar’s pocket lineup is highlighted by the inclusion of Wi-Fi-enabled 1080 HD, which supports uploading to YouTube and Facebook from within the camcorder. It features Full 1080 resolution via a 5-megapixel sensor, 2-inch display, 4x digital zoom, SD card slot and HDMI output. Like all of the company’s 2011 camcorders, it will be sold in 10 colors.

The 720p iTwist 680 will feature a 180 degree swiveling body for self portraits. Additional features include a 4x digital zoom, 2-inch display and SD card slot. The 800HD boasts a pop-up 2-inch display in addition to 1080p recording, a 4x optical zoom lens, HDMI output and an SD card slot. The 805HD builds off the 800 by adding a larger pop-up display at 2.4 inches.

The DVR 745HD is a standard form factor pocket camcorder offering 1080p recording, a 2-inch display, 4x digital zoom, HDMI output and SD card slot.
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