Is the camera the next big product category to fail?

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40 years ago, Bob Khoury and Warren Steinberg started selling used photo equipment out of a showcase in an Atlanta, Georgia, flea market. Soon they moved to a brick and mortar store which, to incorporate their earlier experience, they called Showcase. The store grew to be the largest in Atlanta and sold photo and video equipment to amateurs and professionals alike and last year they celebrated their 40th anniversary.

To provide the best customer experience they hired knowledgeable sales people, some of whom have been with the company for more than 20 years.

Fast-forward to 2017 and they are the largest camera store and the last one left standing… More at PetaPixel.

It sounds crazy to even suggest that something as ubiquitous as a camera could fail, but there is evidence to suggest all is not well in the industry.

Besides the failure of some big camera resellers, we can look back on how the phone has killed off other products that were once considered to be here for the long term-

  • Phones killed off MP3 players and digital music will ultimately kill off CDs.
  • Phones have all, but killed off portable games consoles. Nintendo Switch aside, which is too new to understand how successful it will be, the humble phone is becoming dominant for gamers who want to play anywhere.
  • Streaming will likely kill off DVDs
  • Some would argue that bigger phones are killing off smaller tablets and I am one of them.

And then we look at the camera, a product that fits inside a phone and a phone feature that gets more attention and innovation than any other from Apple, Samsung and the rest. It’s logical to believe that the standalone camera will fail some day, apart from very high-end models, and that phones will at some point render the camera as commonplace as a film camera in 2017.


Categories: Photography

3 replies

  1. My daughter (12) and I were discussing iPods the other day. Her phone broke and so we got her one that worked, but she needed to change her SIM card. But she got it set up initially without one over WIFI, but she was pining over getting whatsapp back after being almost a week without a phone a sick in bed to make things worse. So, she said, basically until we get the SIM card changed to a micro I have the equivalent of an iPod touch. When we got everything sorted, she asked me “Why do parents get their kids iPods when you can get a phone for the same price there days?” (we’ll have to get her to pay for everything soon so she realises the monthly bills!) But I got what she meant. The mobile phone is and and has replaced so many stand alone products. Something people like me were dreaming about when we were carrying so many things around on a daily basis!!

  2. I have to admit, I didn’t quite carry around that much at any point! 😀

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