May 17, 2013
Just because the camera phone — you know those handy cameras on feature phones and smartphones – has become the everyday camera for many people doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom for traditional cameras. In the most recent InfoTrends Digital Camera End User study we found that digital cameras are still being used to take more photos on average than a camera phone and used more often for special occasion photos. The survey also asked a “blue sky” question about interest levels in some current and possible digital camera offerings.
The Survey Says….
Because digital camera technology is continually evolving, the survey presented a list of current camera features and some features that may become available in the future. Respondents were asked to rate their level of interest. The feature sets presented included: 3D cameras, Wi-Fi cameras (wirelessly transfer images to PC and/or share via the Internet), wearable sports action camera (e.g. GoPro), and smart cameras (DSCs running a mobile OS, with ability to run apps, and share/send photos directly from the camera just like a smartphone) running the Windows Mobile or Android operating systems.
Of all the concepts presented Wi-Fi models gathered the highest interest level from more than half of the respondent base. The current camera market is starting to address the connected cry. In 2012, less than 15% of all camera models introduced featured connectivity. In 2013, that will likely be closer to 30%.
Interestingly the number two and three highest interest ratings landed on descriptions of a “smart camera”. Even more thought provoking is that the 2nd most interesting concept is a smart camera that would run the Windows Mobile OS. At this time there is no such product on the market, yet it carries a good deal of interest. There are a couple smart cameras currently on the market, from Nikon and Samsung, which run Android (which was the #3 most interesting concept to respondents).
There might be an unfilled niche in the smart camera category for a vendor to come in and offer a Windows Mobile-based offering to address the OS gap. More research is needed to investigate if there is really a market opportunity for a smart camera with a Windows OS, but this question points to the prospect. It is likely that these people have a high interest, simply because the majority of the PCs out there are Windows-based and people would like to have a smart camera that runs on the platform they are used to. The one warning, that any vendor addressing the Windows camera space needs to heed is that the user interface MUST be easy to use and provides a similar user experience to what they are used to on their PCs (whether that be a Windows desktop, laptop or tablet). Camera vendors considering the Windows platform would be wise to build a better user experience giving potential users even more reason to make the switch.
These results, all carry one common theme and it is connectivity. We continue to advocate that if digital cameras are going to be used more often they need to compete better with mobile phones; especially the increasingly popular smartphones, which are not only for communicating but are also pocketable powerhouses able to capture good quality pictures or video on a whim and broadcast it to a user’s friends and connections. Digital cameras will benefit from the introduction of smarter functions and convenience of connectivity and may prompt some new purchases from people looking for a smart camera.
More blogs from Carrie Sylvester