Forecast: More Cameras with Wi-Fi, Mirrorless Tech and Android

Christopher Chute, research director with IDC, offers his take on emerging digital camera trends and what we should expect to see play out in 2013. Chute expects that full-frame DSLRs and mirrorless cameras will continue to come down in price, while models with Android and Wi-Fi will become more prevalent. He also suggests that entry-level point-and-shoot cameras will eventually be abandoned.

“Vendors have concluded that two competitive advantages over smartphones are optical zoom and larger-sized image sensors, so we can expect to see more of that in the compact space,” he says. “Furthermore, vendors need to roll out [built-in] Wi-Fi across more of their lineups; failure to do so at this late date is at their peril.”

Chute also predicts that as companies continue to focus on promoting the growth of DSLR and mirrorless technologies, they will eventually introduce far fewer compact models.

He has been surprised by the lack of Wi-Fi models available thus far and the number of cameras incorporating Android. “The imaging conversation is being defined more by vendors in the mobility space, to the detriment of the traditional photography market,” notes Chute.

He adds the camcorder market will be impacted by the increasing number of digital cameras handling video and will eventually become “more of a high-end hobbyist market geared toward prosumer and pro-content creators.”

While Chute believes entry-level digicams under $149 will become a thing of the past, there is a place for non-traditional camera companies: “An emerging consumer electronics trend is startups that can offer unique value. GoPro and Lytro are two examples of this. These two companies are able to contain costs using some off-the-shelf components, and then add their specific IP value. They are not large public enterprises that seek to satisfy shareholder sentiment.”