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Smartphones continue to steal market share from portable consumer electronic (CE) devices at a pretty rapid pace, thanks to major improvements in performance and quality of game content. However, analysts from ABI Research believe that portable video game consoles and digital still cameras still have a chance and will survive on the market.

Annual shipments of handheld game players are expected to decline at least 4% year-over-year with the North American market experiencing a fall of nearly 13%. In the digital camera market, shipments are expected to decline over 11% annually worldwide and nearly 20% in North America. New devices like Sony’s 3G Vita and Samsung’s Galaxy Camera are trying to bridge the divide between portable CE devices and cellular-enabled mobile devices, but these tweener devices will have many challenges.

“Early sales of Sony’s 3G Vita were quite strong, likely attributable to pre-launch bundles which favored the cellular version – more recent holiday bundles have since favored the Wi-Fi-only model. Incremental monthly fees consumers must pay when adding these devices to their cellular data plans combined with metered data often overweigh the benefits of mobile devices excluding smartphones and tablets,” said Michael Inouye, a senior analyst with ABI.

Opportunity, however, still remains for portable game consoles, as they have adequate differentiators versus smartphones, notably exclusive game franchises and better user interfaces. Nintendo’s 3DS has sold well and Sony’s Vita is looking like a late bloomer (a price cut would help spur demand). For digital cameras, picture quality and lens attributes might still be the best way to differentiate dedicated point-and-shoot cameras.

“While the auditory and visual quality of content in many ways is less important today than in the past, some consumers still look for these features. A subset of customers still look to higher end single-purpose cameras for higher image quality and portable game players for better game-play quality over Smartphone feature sets. When CE manufacturers and operators work together to develop win-win data plans, and reduce the cost burden of the additional hardware, these classes will again find favor with consumers,” said Sam Rosen, TV & video practice director at ABI.

Tags: Apple, iOS, Google, Android, Sony, Playstation, Vita, Nintendo, DS, 3DS

Discussion

Comments currently: 2
Discussion started: 12/19/12 12:45:00 PM
Latest comment: 12/20/12 08:24:10 AM

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1. 
I've always found the topic of consolidation in this area interesting, as it seems inevitable.

My thinking for the past several years has been there will be a time in the not-so-distant future many markets fall because of a simple all-in-one device or ecosystem around such devices. Apple got us part of the way there, but we're still a small ways off from truly combining the markets. The ever-changing tech and short cadence of mobile devices versus the static nature of consoles is what will kill the later. Also, there is just a point where certain things become synonymous. Cameras are close, visual acuity/screen size is the current big push and something that will be conquered soon. From there it's essentially about performance of the processor.

Think about it. We keep teetering on what I think will change everything: A bezel-less 5'' screen on a device that has a nice, low-light camera with good sensor/optics to replace most-any point and shoots, enough cheap internal storage (or sd slot) to hold all pertinent music/movies, and a decent processor/gpu for first 720p, then 1080p performance similar to what we have on current and then next-gen consoles.

Outside of important developers making their IP available (ie Nintendo whom has taken a lot of flak for not doing so) and some kind of way to interface with the device with a tv/monitor (wired/wireless hdmi and a bluetooth gamepad/remote/keyboard etc?) it seems inevitable (perhaps in the tablet market by 14nm, phones by 10nm?)
0 0 [Posted by: turtle  | Date: 12/19/12 12:45:00 PM]
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2. 
I can't imagine why smartphones are killing the compact cameras however.

I mean cameras start at around 35 euro where I live and they are better or equal to smartphones of about 200 euros. I mean damn... I can get a nikon coolpix at 10MP, better CMOS sensor and way better lens (with optical zoom) for about 50 and take better photos than even the flagship smartphones in the market.

I tried to use my galaxy S1 for photos in the last party with good enough lighting (it was more a meeting between friends, don't think about dark teenage parties) but the photos where worst than the ones my girlfriend took with a pretty old (and with less megapixels) olympus compact camera.

I mean, after that experience of course I will prefer to have a separated compact camera and use my smartphone's camera just for everyday things that "catch my eye" and want to take quick photo.
0 0 [Posted by: nitro912gr  | Date: 12/20/12 08:24:10 AM]
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