South Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung Electronics Co is taking
aim at its Japanese rivals with an Android-powered digital camera that
allows users to swiftly and wirelessly upload pictures to social
The Galaxy camera lets users connect to a mobile
network or Wi-Fi to share photographs and video without having to hook
up the camera to a computer.
While it's not the first to the
market, Samsung's financial and marketing clout suggest it could be the
biggest threat to Japanese domination of a digital camera industry which
research firm Lucintel sees growing to $46 billion by 2017 and where
big brands include Canon Inc, Sony Corp, Panasonic Corp, Nikon Corp and
"Samsung has a tough row to hoe against the likes of
Canon and Nikon in the camera brand equity landscape," said Liz
Cutting, senior imaging analyst at research firm NPD Group. "Yet as a
brand known more in the connected electronic device arena, Samsung has a
unique opportunity to transfer strength from adjacent categories into
the dedicated camera world."
The Korean group, battling for mobile
gadget supremacy against Apple Inc, is already a global market leader
in televisions, smartphones and memory chips.
Samsung last year
brought its camera and digital imaging business - one of its smallest -
under the supervision of JK Shin, who heads a mobile business that
generated 70 percent of Samsung's $7.4 billion third-quarter profit.
camera business is quickly evolving and I think it will be able to set
a new landmark for Samsung," Shin said on Thursday at a launch event in
Seoul. "The product will open a new chapter in communications - visual
communications," he said, noting good reviews for the Samsung Galaxy
camera which went on sale in Europe and the United States earlier this
Aiming at pro-sumers
The Galaxy camera, which sells
in the United States for $499.99 through AT&T with various monthly
data plans, features a 4.8-inch (12.2 cm) LCD touchscreen and a 21x
optical zoom lens. Users can send photos instantly to other mobile
devices via a 4G network, access the Internet, email and social network
sites, edit photos and play games.
The easy-to-use camera, and the
quality of the pictures, is aimed at mid-market 'pro-sumers' - not
quite professional photographers but those who don't mind paying a
premium for user options not yet unavailable on a smartphone - such as
an optical, rather than digital, zoom, better flash, and image
The appeal of high picture quality cameras with
wireless connection has grown as social media services such as Facebook
Inc drive a boom in rapid shoot-and-share photos.
"At a price
point higher than some entry-level interchangeable-lens cameras, the
Galaxy camera should appeal to a consumer willing to pay an initial and
ongoing premium for 24/7 creative interactivity," said Cutting.
Traditional digital camera makers are responding.
considered a leader in profitability in corporate Japan with its
aggressive cost cutting, saw its compact camera sales eroded in the most
recent quarter by smartphones, and has just introduced its first
mirrorless camera to tap into a growing market for small,
interchangeable-lens cameras that rival Nikon entered last year.
Nikon has also recently introduced an Android-embedded Wi-Fi only camera.
© Thomson Reuters 2012