TWICE: The industry mantra this year has been to embrace smartphones and tablets for the current explosion in photo taking activity, but how have the camera companies adapted and how might this be expanded further?
Scott W. Hardy, Polaroid: Yes, the proliferation of smartphones and tablets as image capture devices has been both explosive and exciting. And the use of those devices is as much about sharing images as it is about capturing them. Consumers now have an incredibly broad range of options in terms of picture-taking devices, and the industry is responding to that reality by coming to market with new products and services that enhance the experience of capturing and sharing images, regardless of what device is used.
We are addressing that development on a number of different fronts. Our new Polaroid Socialmatic camera, for example, will make it easy for consumers to capture and instantly share images in digital or print format via a wide range of digital and social platforms. We also offer a number of Polaroid mobile apps that allow consumers to replicate the classic Polaroid look and feel in their digital images, including the iconic Polaroid Classic Border frame and filter effects that replicate that uniquely Polaroid feel.
The expansion of our Polaroid Fotobar retail stores is another great example of how we’re making it easy for consumers to take all those pictures captured on their tablets, smartphones and cameras and create museum-quality art to display and share. As you know, instant sharing has always been a part of the Polaroid DNA, so we are delighted to see both consumers and the industry embracing that trend with such enthusiasm.
Jay Kelbley, Samsung: We’re a global smartphone and tablet leader, so merging our mobile device and camera divisions has allowed us to improve the image quality of our smartphones as well as the connected experiences offered in our cameras. This mobile approach to digital imaging is at the core of our recent digital imaging successes.
Mark Weir, Sony: Further improvements in connectivity and ease of use to close the gap between the Smart Device user experience and the camera user experience — like Sony’s recently introduced auto-sync capability for the Play Memories mobile app.
Masahiro Horie, Nikon: Sharing never stops; our goal is to expand connectivity to support users, enabling them to share great images with friends and family as easily as possible. For example, we integrated the Android operating system into the Coolpix S810c for direct and seamless sharing, which is an example of how Nikon compliments customer use of mobile devices. Built in Wi-Fi and GPS are making their way into DSLRs, such as the D5300, and are becoming standard on compact and mirrorless models. Additionally, most Nikon cameras are compatible with the Nikon series of wireless mobile adaptors to enable sharing.
Manny Almeida, Fujifilm: The photo taking and digital photo printing landscape is experiencing significant change thanks to mobile capture, along with social-media access from smartphones and tablets. Consumers take more than 50 billion images per year with their mobile devices, and while many of the images are used to more efficiently communicate, a significant number of those images are being transformed into some physical output — including photo gifts. Photo-output options are now almost limitless, and it has become clear that consumers are looking for more creative ways to display their photos. Personalized photo products, including books, cards, calendars, custom-made picture gifts, wall décor and more, are rapidly growing in a category where overall photo output is increasing at a rate of nearly 5 percent.
Mark Sherengo, Ricoh Imaging: Some manufacturers have created accessories for smartphones, but these can be ergonomically challenging — we can adapt by showing the value of a pocket-sized camera with much better image quality.
Darin Pepple, Panasonic: We make sure that the feature set that is offered in a tablet or a smartphone are available in a Lumix camera, plus the benefit of a higher-quality lens and the ability to share that image to mobile devices via Wi-Fi or NFC. It’s these devices that the creative content generated by MFT hybrid photography was born for, so it’s a complementary existence.
Chris Chute, IDC: Over the past year, camera companies have done a good job of articulating how their cameras can connect to tablets and phones, but they need to take the additional step of explaining why consumers should use a “stand-alone” camera in the first place, and then explain how that would fit within their current usage of mobile devices and applications.
Ben Arnold, The NPD Group: Many have created apps or ways to locally share photos from camera to phone without the camera needing to be connected. I think this is a good start — the next step is probably making these new features more intuitive and easier to use. I would also like to see some connections with some of the popular photo sharing apps. I think it should be easier for DSLR users to upload their high-quality images to their sharing service of choice.
See More:Imaging Industry Bowed But Undaunted