So when is a phone a camera and a camera a phone?
The lines of distinction are becoming harder and harder to discern, and International CES 2012 will make that evident like no other showcase.
All over the convention floor attendees will notice cameras, from point-and-shoots to more advanced pro-sumer models, incorporating Wi-Fi connectivity and, in some cases, Android platforms and apps to send images off to social networks and remote hard drives without the need for cords or PCs.
Meanwhile, smartphones are amping up the megapixel resolution and zoom magnification in their camera compartments, allowing consumers to take high-quality stills and videos without the need to carry a second or third device.
The trend is also crossing over into the exploding tablet space, where the tasks of PCs, cameras, video cams, e-readers, etc., have now converged into a single, easy-to-carry device.
The phenomenon is, understandably, driving camera makers buggy, and their responses have been to place more and more functionality into the inexpensive point-and-shoot segment on one end while boosting performance and features on pro-sumer and professional level d-SLRs and compact system cameras.
The thinking is that while the crossover trend may be hampering the less-profitable low-end dedicated camera business, it is making more and more consumers aware of quality picture taking, which invariably drives business to better and more profitable cameras.
Problem solved? We’ll have to see. Now, if only the weather will cooperate.