DigitalCameraReview.com
News Bits - Digital Cameras to Top 100 Million units, Flash Memory is Korea's Top Export, Pentax Releases *istD Firmware Update
by Brian -  2/27/2005

Lyra Research predicts by 2008 digital camera shipments will top 100 million units

Coinciding with this year's Photo Marketing Association (PMA) show in Orlando, FL, Lyra Research's Digital Photography Advisory Service has issued its worldwide digital camera forecast. Digital still camera shipments surpassed 63 million units worldwide in 2004, up more than 35 percent compared with 2003. Worldwide digital still camera shipments will surpass 100 million units in 2008.

In 2004, for the first time ever, Europe became the largest market in terms of unit shipments, taking the top spot from the United States, which is now second in terms of shipments. Japan is the third-largest market.

The 3-megapixel category remained the most popular digital camera segment in 2004, but shipments are increasing in the 4-, 5-, and 6-megapixel segments. Most point-and-shoot cameras now shipping are 4- and 5-megapixel models, and Lyra expects that, by 2005, 5+-megapixel cameras will account for more worldwide shipments than any other segment.

"The desire to produce prints from digital cameras is now a key factor in the consumer purchase decision. Many new camera buyers do not go to the store looking just for a digital camera they are looking for a total photographic solution," says Robert Palmer, director of Lyra's Digital Photography Advisory Service. Camera and printer bundles proved very popular last year, and Lyra expects these solutions to gain further momentum in 2005. "Explosive growth in digital camera sales will fuel the market for photographic prints," says Palmer. "More than 18 billion prints were produced from digital camera images in 2004, two-thirds of which were produced in the home."

Lyra Research's Digital Photography Advisory Service (DPS) is an online competitive research tool for marketing and product managers in the digital camera, photo-quality printer, and online photo-service industries. The DPS provides the advice and insight necessary to tap into the possibilities of today's digital imaging market.


Flash memory has overtaken DRAM (used in computers) as Korea's top export

Digital cameras, MP3 players and other flash RAM hungry portable devices are pushing flash RAM into the #1 spot on Korea's export list. Better yet for these companies, the cost of high capacity flash RAM went a little higher last year, as DRAM continued to plunge amid increased price competition and deteriorating areas of innovation.

Flash memory is overtaking DRAM as Korea's top export product. The semiconductor division of Samsung Electronics recorded an average daily sales of W50 billion (US$ 49.55 million) and daily profit of over W20 billion last year. Its overall sales amounted to W4 trillion taking 60 percent of the flash memory market last year. The flash memory market has been 30 percent undersupplied this year.
http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200502/200502270032.html

Pentax has released a firmware update for the *istD digital SLR

The update is pretty minor, the only notable fix is that the camera now supports media cards over 4GB. The download can be obtained here:
http://www.digital.pentax.co.jp/ja/info/20050225e.html