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Multifunctionality Spreads as New Products Transform Cameras

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May 2, 2006 – If you can’t buy an iPod this year, you can make one out of your digital camera. While this may sound like a really advanced science fair project, it’s actually the newest edge of a growing trend: expansions and accessories designed to target consumers who’ve already bought the cameras themselves.

According to market research firm InfoTrends, 65 percent of consumers who purchased a digital camera in 2005 were repeat buyers. With the market saturated by cameras, the need will shift to accessories and innovations like Makamaya’s Digital Camera Media Studio and Eye-Fi’s Eye-Film wireless memory card. Both products have been released within the last few days, and represent a new facet of digital camera marketing—making one camera serve many purposes.

Makamaya Interactive’s Digital Camera Media Studio 1.0 software, which can be downloaded online for about $32, allows users to add full-length feature films and television shows to Sony Cyber-shot and Casio Exilim digital cameras, given there is at least 512 MB of memory available. With three clicks, the movies and shows transfer to the camera for later viewing. Consumers have to plan ahead, though, since the transfer process can take up to 45 minutes.

Kodak, Nikon, and Canon all market digital cameras with wireless capabilities – but some are overpriced or ugly, and some sell the WiFi card separately. The concept of these models is appealing, though; who wants to fumble around and untangle the USB cable when they can transfer their images wirelessly? Eye-Fi tackles this problem with Eye-Film, a wireless memory card that fits into any camera. Merging memory and an 802.11g connection, Eye-Film will be able to transfer 54 MB per second.

Pricing for Eye-Film is expected to be about a hundred dollars for a 1 GB SD card, which is on par with standard SD cards.

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