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SECTIONS / DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Nikon Working On Secret Digital Camera Project, Maybe a Smartphone

By David Richards | Tuesday | 09/07/2013

Samsung was the first company to release a camera wrapped around a full version of the Android operating system. Now Japanese camera Company Nikon is looking to deliver a camera with smartphone capability.

 
All of the big camera brands, including Nikon, Panasonic with their Lumix cameras, Canon, Fuji Film and Pentax are under pressure as consumers choose a smartphone over a compact camera. Recently, Olympus announced it would pull out of the compact camera market. Now Nikon is hitting back with a new secret product that "will change the concept of cameras", claims company President Makoto Kimura in an interview with Bloomberg.

Kimura claims that the "number of people taking snapshots is exploding" due to the growth in demand for smartphones that pack a camera. He says over 750 million smartphones were sold last year and the number is still rising. He claims this has impacted the company's imaging division and expects that while high-end models with changeable lenses will rise by around 9 percent in the current financial year, compact camera sales will shrink 12 percent in the same time. 

In combating this, Nikon is looking at other areas to work within. "We've centralized our ideas around cameras, but can change our approach to offer products to that bigger market," said Kimura. "We want to create a product that will change the concept of cameras," he claimed, continuing: "It could be a non-camera consumer product." 

When pressed further, Kimura declined to say if Nikon is creating its own mobile phone. He did admit that: "Rapid expansion of mobile devices is a change in the business environment given to us. Our task going forward is to find an answer to that change." 

The imaging division currently makes up 84 percent of operating income at the company, with the remainder coming from other businesses. Kimura suggests that Nikon may expand into the production of medical devices, with a view to generating revenue within three years, following similar moves by Sony and Canon into working with hospitals and medical device manufacturers, as well as Olympus and its endoscope production facilities.


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