It's no secret the compact camera market is taking a beating. Yes, people are taking more photos than ever, but not on dedicated point-and-shoots. Increasingly they're reaching for their smartphone when a photographic opportunity arises. Nikon President, Makoto Kimura, told Bloomberg his company is well aware of this trend and wants to create new products aimed at this bigger market, hinting at the possibility of a smartphone by saying the company is considering a "non-camera consumer product."
Though demand is still growing for higher-end interchangeable lens cameras, Kimura added that Nikon’s imaging division and a new business team is developing products which it hopes will "change the concept of cameras." While saying that this could include "a non-camera consumer product," he declined to say outright whether a Nikon smartphone was in the works.
When Gizmag contacted Nikon to dig a little deeper, the firm was even more tight-lipped about possible new products than the boss. "Mr Kimura’s comments to Bloomberg were meant to convey his beliefs that, as the smart device market has been growing, more people are getting used to taking pictures and movies," said a spokesperson. "His point was that Nikon must consider changes happening in the market and keep proposing attractive products."
Presumably hoping to quell growing rumors of a Nikon smartphone, they added, "Mr Kimura’s comment to Bloomberg that he didn’t decline any possibilities for the future were not a promise of a particular unannounced product which Nikon will never comment on."
But that's not going to stop people speculating that Kimura's comments can only mean Nikon is working on a camera-focused smartphone. And given its experience of putting Android in a camera, it does seem entirely possible.
However, it's also possible the firm could offer products to the smartphone market without producing its own handsets. For example, Nikon could use its imaging knowledge to produce photographic-centric smartphone accessories, such as add-on lenses and flashes, or camera apps. It could even make wearable cameras to pair with your smartphone for when that device is in your pocket. However, a Nikon smartphone does sound more likely doesn't it?