Mar 13, 2014
The digital camera market is in decline. Vendors are cutting back on their product range. Olympus and Fujifilm have announced that they will exit low end compact cameras. Even Canon has hinted following rumours that they will consider what to do with cameras that are priced under ¥20,000. Nikon seems to be the vendor that is planning to stay in for the long run, capturing low hanging sales as competitors exit.
InfoTrends’ forecast shows the trend clearly over the last 10 years. 2014 is shaping up to show continued steep decline. Changes in technology, the emergence of competing devices and perhaps a tendency for camera vendors to believe that the exceptional image quality found in cameras will protect them from competition can all be used to explain the shape of the curve below. Read more »
Feb 20, 2014
Probably the most interesting news item to come out of the recent Canon Solutions America (CSA) briefing was CSA’s announcement that it was forming a user group steering committee, and that it hoped to have its first convention in 2015. The focus of this user group will be production digital print.
Keep in mind that two of the most successful user events in the production digital print space—Dscoop (a cooperative of HP Graphic Arts users) and EFI Connect (the annual EFI worldwide users’ conference)—have been gaining more traction in recent years. That CSA would consider creating a group for its own production digital print users should come as no surprise, particularly with Francis McMahon on board. McMahon, Vice President of Marketing for CSA’s Production Print Solutions division, played an integral role in getting Dscoop off the ground many years ago when he was the Director of Marketing for HP’s Graphic Solutions Business. In addition, CSA’s hiring of Dscoop Executive Director Eric Hawkinson in 2013 should have tipped us all off; it makes sense that Canon would use Hawkinson’s skills to start an initiative like this.
- CSA’s Eric Hawkinson with Customer Panel
Exactly what form (or what name) the user group will take has yet to be determined. Read more »
Feb 3, 2014
As we look back on the new product announcements from 2013, I have to admit that the year was largely overshadowed by drupa 2012 and the many new and exciting technologies shown there. We were especially eager to see the new B2 products enter the market in 2013, but it has proven to be a rather slow process. As analysts with many years in the industry, we experienced that launch schedules are overly optimistic side and that the actual product launches often seem to drag on forever. But the announcements from drupa 2012 seem to have taken these delays to a new dimension.
It seems that the duration from the first tech demo to the beta test phase and then to final product is getting longer and longer. Admittedly the line between an early product demonstration and a technology demo is blurred. Many vendors take a cautious approach and label the new announcements as technology demonstrations. Also technology demoes may never end in a product at all. Still, prospective users want to know when they can expect a launch date of a new product or at least know when limited availability will start for early users. Read more »
Dec 20, 2013
It is fair to describe 2013 as the year of 3D printing. A range of technologies using additive manufacturing have been finding applications in short-run production, prototyping, manufacturing, and other applications for industries such as architecture, industrial design, automotive, aerospace, engineering, fashion, civil engineering, dental, and medical. What is particularly interesting now is that with this growth, the activity is not only in new product developments and acquisitions, but increasingly in technology and distribution partnerships, particularly with graphic arts vendors.
iPhone cases made from 3D Systems ProJet Series 4500
It is logical that graphic arts vendors are migrating to become more active in the 3D printing market space. In fact it’s more of an evolutionary development rather than a revolutionary one. Many of these companies have imaging technologies that are well suited to 3D printing. In addition, they have the sales, marketing, and service capabilities that are required to support the higher end 3D printing offerings. So it is natural that a series of business developments and announcements have made headlines in 2013 involving companies like Canon, Fuji Dimatix, HP, Konica Minolta, Ricoh, and Xerox.
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Dec 13, 2013
The lead up to the Holiday gift giving season is always a busy time as people start making out their gift giving lists or their own wish list for Santa. Being an analyst that tracks camera phones and digital cameras, this is also a busy time of year for me as I start getting emails, phone calls and text messages from friends asking me for camera buying advice. Since Thanksgiving I have already received many emails and texts from friends saying they need an opinion about what type of camera to buy.
I will admit I like being the one my friends and relatives turn to for an educated opinion about cameras. That role also carries some pressure with it, given the hundreds of camera models that can be found for sale from an online retailer or traditional brick and mortar stores. So as I prepare for the “what is the best camera to buy?” question I thought some of my ponderings would be helpful for others looking to answer the very same question.
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Dec 10, 2013
HP announced a major OEM deal with Sharp Corporation for a new line of color and black & white light production printers that will be offered exclusively as part of HP managed print services contracts. The partnership with Sharp is based on the 900 series MFP and is HP’s first high-end workgroup/light production device. HP will initially roll out the products in North America, Western Europe, and Australia with other regions following later in the year as needed.
Nov 5, 2013
The World Publishing Expo, the largest global trade fair for the newspaper and news publishing industry was held in Berlin, Germany, from the 7th to the 9th of October. It was the 43rd annual exhibition and conference and featured 267 exhibitors from 35 countries, including printing press manufacturers, editorial and advertising system providers, new media providers and other suppliers to the industry.
About 8,500 visitors from 90 countries attended. The 8,500 visitors were an increase from 7,000 who attended the 2012 Expo, which was held in Frankfurt, Germany. It is nevertheless a far cry from the heydays of the newspaper industry when publishers ordered presses by the dozen, invested in dedicated editorial systems, and newspaper publishers routinely had a return on revenue in the 20% range. These cases are pretty rare nowadays as newspapers are on one of the most embattled print segments. Not only is there a massive shift of readership from printed copies to electronic displays, additionally the base business model of publisher is under threat: charging for news content in the light of free electronic news sources. As a result, circulation is dropping across the industrialised countries. According to WAN-IFRA, newspaper circulation dropped by about 25% in Europe in the last four years, with North American circulation dropping by 12% in the same timeframe. There are bright spots however with noticeable gains in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Still with an average daily circulation of over 522 million newspaper copies worldwide in 2012, printed newspapers is a very sizeable market. Newspaper publishers know that they need to shift their business model from traditional mass print production to different forms of publishing however. Read more »
Nov 4, 2013
A few years ago, you could not turn around without hearing or seeing something about digital printing. The noise has quieted down, but the changes keep on coming.
Offset press manufacturers now send out a press release every time they sell a system because it is such a unique event. There is still a good market for offset presses, but it is smaller that ever and getting smaller.
Komori and KBA were the only press makers at the PRINT show. Komori actually had a press. “Find us by following the noise,” I was told.
Digital printing volumes are growing nicely, but no one notices. Read more »
Sep 27, 2013
These are InfoTrends’s top ten trends from PRINT 13:
- Who was there? Who wasn’t? Agfa’s departure from the show floor over the summer added another important company to the small cadre of vendors skipping the show (Heidelberg, Kodak, and Screen). In truth, Kodak actually did have a booth, a smallish one at the very back of the show floor, but it wasn’t what you would typically expect out of them. Of much greater importance was Kodak’s participation in others’ booths, including Konica Minolta (for Creo and Prinergy) and Adphos (for the Prosper Imprinting heads). And though the timing of Kodak’s emergence from Chapter 11 may have made a big presence unadvisable, it was nevertheless a missed opportunity to show off the new Kodak to its core audience. It is also clearly time for Kodak to name a new leader who will bring the market knowledge and vision for the next chapter in the company’s history. This has dragged on way too long. Read more »
Sep 19, 2013
theQ camera caught my eye when it was launched in August. It caught my eye because it is a connected camera using a SIM card. It also caught my eye because theQ enters a camera market that is in free fall and where established vendors like Fujifilm and Olympus are making fundamental changes to their consumer imaging business. Yesterday Businessweek published a story about the challenges that Canon and Nikon are facing in the adversity of improving smartphone cameras. I think the best way to describe the digital camera market in 2013 is as extremely challenging.
Steven Christensen, CEO of QLifestyle, took time to brief me on theQ camera and their plans. The focus of Q Lifestyle is on photography related products and services. Read more »