Death of the digital camera
There's an interesting article in the latest Time. The guts of it is that digital camera development has reached the end of the line. The human eye can't discern resolution greater than five or six megapixels - which is where mainstream models are at now - so punters have lost interest in upgrading.
The 51% digicam sales growth we saw in 2004 will flatten to 10% this year, says IDC, and go negative by 2010.
Worse (for manufacturers), margins will get leaner as 'consumer electronics powerhouses like Samsung, Panasonic and BenQ flex their distribution muscles'.
To which I say: bollocks. Granted, the go-go days of mass growth are over, as most households have now made the transition from film to digital. But there's still a lot interesting, growth-driving features to come. For example, check out the GPS add-on from Sony that Bruce Buckman reviews in our coming October issue. Look for GPS to be built-in with future models. And everybody's going to want the option to know where a photo was taken. It's guaranteed to drive a fresh round of upgrades. Then how about a built-in 3G chip for sending your pics directly to Flickr.com? That's a couple of years in the future, but it'll be another must-have. DSLR is a hot, high-end, high-growth niche that's growing fast right now (check out Bruce's review of the Lumix 1 - from Panasonic, now less - in our September issue). And better video options will be a huge driver in the near future. It aint the end of history yet.