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Nikon could release "non-camera" products to survive smartphone onslaught

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July 13, 2013

Having produced the Coolpix S800c, Nikon has experience of working with Android on a camer...

Having produced the Coolpix S800c, Nikon has experience of working with Android on a camera which could help it in creating a a 'non-camera consumer product'

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?

Source: Bloomberg

About the Author
Simon Crisp Simon is a journalist and photographer who has spent the last ten years working for national UK newspapers - but has never hacked a mobile phone - and specializes in writing about weird products and photography technology. When not writing for Gizmag, Simon is often found playing with LEGO and drinking far too much coffee.   All articles by Simon Crisp
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3 Comments

Hopefully this is the preannouncement warmup not a desperate claim that they are not going bankrupt.

Slowburn
13th July, 2013 @ 08:20 pm PDT

Maybe they should focus on building really good video into their existing product line so they are competitive with Canon. And maybe encouraging the aftermarket hackers who made Canon DSLRs hugely popular (video RAW anyone?).... Really, that's where Nikon's HUGE hole is.

Sony is fast catching up to them in prosumer video with their new E-mount video cameras and Canon is miles ahead in pro-video with products like the C300 (never mind the D5 series). Nikon, which has possibly the best glass outside of Leica & Zeiss, has pretty much zero pro-level video only bodies and only one semi-competitive prosumer DSLR (D800).

How about a C300 competitor that's cheaper than $18k? Because all the video pros I know use Canon and most of the Nikon pros are switching to Canon as there is much more money in video than stills... There's a recipe for success here: cheap, existing DX lenses on a semi-pro body for sub-$3k would be a winner.... Maybe they should just buy BlackMagic.

Chris Maresca
14th July, 2013 @ 02:06 am PDT

Perhaps both Nikon and Canon can stop sitting on their past success and actually start building products that merit the price. I'm a Nikon buyer but I don't feel sorry for them. They should have been the ones to do what Sony/Samsung/Fuji have done and instead now they want to make cellphones!

Make Crop frame compacts that people can afford and sell some cameras because that is what we need. Not another cell phone made by someone else but with a different brand. Does the world REALLY need more expensive phones JUST because it says Nikon?

Jo Rodrigues
15th July, 2013 @ 05:09 am PDT
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