It's no secret that just as tablets are cutting into the laptop market, smartphones are pretty much killing off compact digital cameras. Of course, this has a lot to do with the vast increase of people that have a smartphone and the increasing performance of smartphone cameras. While professional and amateur camera gear is still selling well, the point-and-shoot's days are more than numbered. Even High-End compacts aren't selling anywhere near as well as they used to. So, what is a camera giant like Nikon to do? Unsurprisingly, the answer seems to be think different.
Speaking in a July 4th interview, Nikon's President Makoto Kimura, had a lot to say about the dying point-and-shoot market. Predicting that the camera market could shrink as much as 12 percent, Kimura has given us this little tidbit:
"We want to create a product that will change the concept of cameras," said Kimura. "It could be a non-camera consumer product."
While this doesn't tell us that the company is definitely making a smartphone, or even partnering with a smartphone manufacturer, it certainly sounds like it. After all, what else could they do to change the "concept of cameras"? They've gone the mirrorless route with little success and Fuji seem to have the whole nostalgia thing wrapped up with their X-Series. The Lytro tried something truly new and faded into obscurity so, where else are they turn, but to the smartphone?
From a business perspective, if Nikon were to enter the smartphone game, they could make a lot of money by supplying high-end sensors to manufacturers like Samsung and HTC. No matter how good HTC and Samsung think their camera sensors are, they'll have to go a long way to best Nikon. Alas, if they were to release their own branded smartphone, that would be difficult as the US carriers are even more hostile than in the past. Not for a long time now have we seen any manufacturer burst into the US Market for whatever reason, not even Sony can break into the US successfully.
Would you like to see Nikon's expertise come to smartphones?