The Samsung Galaxy Camera is a new product release that further blurs the line between compact camera and smartphone. At what point will point-and-shoots become completely obsolete?

The Agence-France Presse (through Yahoo) reported yesterday that global shipments of digital cameras among Japanese consumers are down 42 percent from last year, with compact cameras falling 48 percent. 

The report, released by Japan's Camera and Imaging Products Association, confirms analysts' predictions that as smartphone cameras become better, they are eliminating the need for compact digital cameras.

Detachable lens camera sales remain stronger than compact cameras, but still fell 7.4% in the past year.

According to the article:

[S]martphones have proved a mighty rival to point-and-shoot cameras, analysts say, offering an all-in-one phone, computer and camera with comparatively high quality pictures and Internet photo downloading.

"The market for compact digital cameras shrank at a faster speed and scale than we had imagined as smartphones with camera functions spread around the world," Olympus president Hiroyuki Sasa told a news briefing this month.

Olympus said its camera business lost money in its fiscal first-half due to the growing popularity of camera-equipped smartphones, and a strong yen which makes Japanese exports less competitive overseas.

Read the full article here.