In a forward-looking press conference this morning, Panasonic announced its intent to control 15 percent of the digital camera market worldwide by 2010.
According to Panasonic General Manager Jake Hirose, the firm expects to increase its foothold in the imaging market slightly over the next year, in spite of a difficult worldwide economy and anticipated continuing "price erosions" in 2009.
Pushing the envelope on the hybrid still/video concept
Arguably the central component of this effort is Panasonic's focus on bringing a new still/movie "hybrid concept" to market in the ZS3. With the H.264/AVC codec providing smooth HD video capture for the new ZS model, and a stereo mic serving up what the manufacturer claims is nearly camcorder-quality sound, Panasonic hopes to bridge the wide gap between cell phone and video camera recording quality.
According to the company's market research, more than 60 percent of point-and-shoot users take advantage of their camera's movie mode. Perhaps even more telling is the fact that a full quarter of surveyed shooters reported that they weren't aware that their camera had a movie mode.
The open question right now is how all of Panasonic's work on better video integration will impact the user experience – presumably for the better when it comes to video shooting – for the Lumix small cameras.