Trends

As a glaring underscore to the brutal effects of change, the former photo industry giant Kodak has now filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  Nothing is ever simple and this certainly doesn’t mean Kodak will completely disappear, but it is unlikely the company will be able to reinvent itself in a manner allowing it to recapture its former stature.

For those following the financial fiasco within Olympus, the turmoil continues with multiple lawsuits and persistent rumors of a possible buyout or friendly minority investment to keep the company going.  But all this seems not to have halted progress and by all accounts we will very soon see a new Olympus high-end m4/3 body based on the vaunted OM lineage.  Expect formal announcement on February 8.

Pentax too may soon be accelerating their mirrorless offerings.  Recall that a while back they were acquired by Ricoh, and product development within Pentax ground to a near halt during internal integration considerations.   Just before the acquisition the Pentax Q had been released—their mirrorless ILC offering with a very small sensor and tiny overall dimensions—which though unusual has been viewed largely as a novelty camera.

On the computer end of the creativity chain, many are trying to be patient while waiting for the release of Intel’s “Ivy Bridge” processors in the second quarter.  The first commercial chips to use a 22nm engraving process, they will also be the first to use 3D tri-gate transistors.  The emphasis this time is not vast performance increases but lower power consumption.  New chipsets and motherboards also will provide faster connectivity and throughput via PCIe 3.0 and USB 3.0 at the chip level.  While Apple continues to focus on mobile and portable devices and lauds Thunderbolt as the preferred connection interface, adoption of TB by peripheral manufacturers has been very slow and questions continue to circulate as to whether Apple will even bother to update their Mac Pro workstation.  The latter question will no doubt be answered in the next few months.

All things considered, this looks to be a banner year for new offerings and delivery of major products announced in late 2011.  Photokina, the huge bi-annual show in Germany, is a major catalyst, and the slight uptick in the economy combined with pent-up enthusiasm after so much natural disaster-caused  turmoil suggests several very busy months ahead.

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