The right place at the right time: cameras embrace GPS

(Yuri Arcurs/shutterstock.com)

(Yuri Arcurs/shutterstock.com)

Relaxnews

, Last Updated: 11:15 AM ET

Location-based features are set to be the next big thing for tablets and digital cameras.

Geotagging, local search, Point of Interest and ambient intelligence are going to be the features that drive future tablet and digital camera sales according to the latest research from ABI, published this week.

As tablets become smaller and start to offer 3G and 4G connectivity as well as wi-fi, their future use is going to mirror that of smartphones and therefore apps and services are going to appear that are location-specific.

Apps like Google Shopping, which pushes special offers and product information to users based on the local area, and Walmart's store guide app (currently in a test phase), which helps users navigate aisles and find what they're looking for in specific branches of its supermarket chain, are going to become widespread.

Digital camera makers are already embracing GPS-based features as a way of innovating their products in the face of stiff competition from smartphones. According to ABI's estimates, there are already more than 30 GPS-enabled cameras on the market that can tag photos with an exact location. Nikon and Samsung have taken this technology a step further with their Android-powered cameras -- the Nikon Coolpix S800C and Samsung Galaxy -- which combine the best of digital photography with all of the features in a smartphone (except the ability to make voice calls, of course).

When asked about the future direction of digital cameras, Arnaud Pézeron, marketing director for Olympus France, told Relaxnews that connectivity is going to be a major feature but believes that the market is moving towards what he calls 'hybrid cameras', that combine the ease of use of a smartphone with the image quality and capabilities of professional Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras with removable and interchangeable lenses: "Hybrids are the only growing market segment in Europe and the market is doubling every year. The hybrid camera will be the platform for touch screens, connectivity, all of the features that optimize ease of use."

Olympus created the hybrid market when it relaunched its range of PEN cameras in 2009 and since then has been joined by Panasonic Lumix, Sony, Nikon, Samsung, Pentax and Canon, who have all developed their own versions.


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