Nikon seems to be thinking ahead, at a time when cameras as they are today will no longer exist, and camera companies will need to adapt to survive. After all, they’ve seen what happened to Kodak. Nikon says they want to change the concept of a camera, but if they’re really referring to making a smartphone, then they should stay away from that. That’s not the best strategy for Nikon to pursue, no matter how ideal they think it would be for them.
I’m sure Nikon dreams of “reinventing” their product line to look a lot more like the smartphones of today, and they must imagine that if they do that, people will continue buying these new “reinvented” cameras from them. But I believe they are wrong to think that, and it may only work for the high-end customers of DSLR’s, but even that isn’t a sure think, and Nikon may end up alienating a large portion of them as they change how the cameras have always looked and worked.
Nikon tried with the CoolPix S800c Android-based camera before, and failed terribly. Why? Because they don’t have a clue about the Android market and how important it is to have the latest software and what kind of hardware it needs to work well. The CoolPix S800c was a perfect example of a company getting into a new market that it doesn’t understand at all.
Now, this company wants to actually make a smartphone and compete with the likes of Motorola, HTC and Samsung? I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt, but historically such endeavours fail miserably, when a company tries to enter a new market with little understanding of how that market works. Even Samsung is having a hard time understanding how to put more advanced cameras into smartphones, without making them look too much like a camera. Nikon actually is a camera company, so I doubt they will do much better than them.
So here’s what I think Nikon needs to do in the future: license the technology to smartphone companies, and help them build brilliant smartphone cameras, and get paid for it. The market is in hundreds of millions, if not billions, so surely they can make some nice revenue from that. Samsung might not want to do that because they have their own camera line, and so does Sony, but HTC and Motorola would be more than happy to get their help, and use technology that trickles down from Nikon’s DSLR’s into smartphones.
There’s already a rumor that the next-gen Nexus will be using an “insanely great” camera with Nikon technology, so if they’re already doing this, good for them. Now they just need to expand this strategy 10 fold, for a much larger scale expansion in the smartphone market.