Nikon says it wants to 'change the concept of cameras'
Smartphones have been crippling the digital point-and-shoot market for years. In May, global shipments of compact cameras by most major manufactures were down 48% from the year before while smartphone sales surged.
In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Nikon president Makoto Kimura acknowledged the impact of smartphone photography and gave the public a hint of where Nikon may be going.
“The number of people taking snapshots is exploding by use of smartphones that sold 750 million or so last year and are still growing,” Kimura told Bloomberg. “We’ve centralized our ideas around cameras but can change our approach to offer products to that bigger market.”
Nikon's Android-running, WiFi-capable Coolpix S800c was announced last year, though it took a backseat to Samsung's Galaxy Camera which launched with a more up-to-date version of Android and more versatile lens. And while Nikon has yet to offer a version 2.0 of the S800c, Samsung recently announced both the Galaxy S4 Zoom as well as the Galaxy NX, the first mirrorless system camera powered by Android with both an interchangble lens and Raw file format capability.
But as Samsung paves the way for the future of camera/phone hybrids, Nikon is only really confirming it wants to compete.
“We want to create a product that will change the concept of cameras,” Kimura said in the Bloomberg interview. “It could be a non-camera consumer product.”
Kimura would not say whether this "non-camera consumer product" would be a mobile phone, but the hint alone has sent the blogosphere abuzz with speculation.
While we are not sure what Nikon's answer to the smartphone challenge will be, Kimura promises that his company will keep up with the market as it evolves.
“Rapid expansion of mobile devices is a change in business environment given to us,” Kimura said to Bloomberg. “Our task going forward is to find an answer to that change.”