December 4, 2018

The Osmo Pocket - when a drone company launches a handheld camera and gets it right

Last Thursday DJI announced its Osmo Pocket, a $349 "compact, stabilized smart camera that fits in your pocket," as DJI describes it. To me this was one of the most exciting camera announcements this season. Before we get into the reasons why, here's a high-level overview of the camera's features:

Form factor. The Osmo Pocket camera looks a bit like the Flip Video camera of days past and the Ricoh Theta 360 camera. It indeed fits in most pockets and is optimized for single-handed operation. (…)

November 20, 2018

Digital Photo Frames Take 3

After lukewarm market adoption in the past, innovative digital photo frames vendors explore new approaches

Digital frames have been around for a while. We got tired of the first generation in the early 1990s, and the second generation of internet-connected frames in in the early 2000s wasn't compelling enough either for most of us to keep using them. Why have yet another device to clutter our shelves or counters if we could already easily view our photos on our phone, computer, iPad - or connect any of those to our TV to view them on a large screen? 

But more recently a third generation of digital frames have come to market that offer a variety of innovations that target specific rather than general consumer use cases. While there is no guarantee this new generation will succeed this time, their innovative approaches show more promise than the devices we've seen in the past. (…)

October 31, 2018

Ouch - Why Shutterfly's stock tumbled

As of this writing, Shutterfly's stock is more than 17% down, following yesterday's announcement of disappointing Q3 consumer segment revenues (-6% YoY), as well as a 2% lowered guidance for Q4. Shutterfly's smaller business printing segment and Lifetouch were doing well, according to the company.

What's happening? On the surface, the challenges of Shutterfly's core consumer segment are nothing new. Its consumer segment was also down in the previous quarters this year (Q1: -5% YoY, Q2: -8% YoY, and now Q3: -6% YoY). Also not new: Shutterfly keeps targeting the same type of customers (young parents), while trying to compensate for the decline in order volume (Q3: -12% YoY) by offering their traditional customers higher priced products (Q3 average order value: +7% YoY).

What is new is that Shutterfly's CEO now openly highlighted its challenges, while announcing an ever so low - but psychologically huge - 2% downwards guidance for Q4. And ouch said their stock. (…)

October 25, 2018

2018 Visual 1st Awards go to
Insta360, CaptureLife, Embody Digital, and Pixsy

At this year's just concluded edition of Visual 1st (visual1st.biz), the premier conference focused on promoting innovation and partnerships in the photo and video ecosystem, a panel of high-powered industry experts presented the four Visual 1st Awards to the most outstanding among 30 products competing in this year's show-and-tell demo sessions.        

The 2018 Visual 1st Awards winners are:

October 15, 2018

Monetizing Photos through Print: Winning Tactics in a Rapidly Evolving Environment

We've had a panel discussing trends and opportunities for photo print products in every previous edition of Visual 1st (formerly called Mobile Photo Connect). At the beginning of each year, when Alexis and I start contemplating whether to schedule such a panel together again, we always ask ourselves: Are there enough new developments to again warrant a panel on the business of photo print products? As it turned out, there have always been an abundance of new vendors, new partners, new consumer types, new technology trends, and new channels to generate engaging and insightful discussions on stage, often followed by ad hoc talks during the breaks or our network reception. 

This year won't be an exception. More so, we believe the 2018 edition of our Photo Print Monetization panel might be the one that takes on the most impactful industry changes to date. (…)

October 11, 2018

Seven reasons why you can't miss Visual 1st, just 11 days from now

1. You'll meet with senior-level decision makers and potential partners  who have the power to help grow your business

2. You'll interact with top industry thought leaders, including renowned Fireside Chat & Special Session presenters

3. You'll hear in-depth panel discussions on the industry's hottest topics

4. You'll get inspired by 30 fast-paced photo app Show & Tell demos of some of the most innovative photo and video apps now reaching the market (…)

October 8, 2018

Announcing 26 innovative imaging developers to date to demo their products on stage at Visual 1st

Two weeks before Visual 1st, the world's premier conference focused on promoting innovation and partnerships in the photo and video ecosystem, we're pleased to announce 26 out of a total of 30 innovative developers who will show their products on stage at Visual 1st.  (The 4 remaining Show & Tell demo slots are reserved for last minute sponsors).

This year, we have for the first time selected our Show & Tell presenters exclusively from companies who have never presented their solutions before at Visual 1st (formerly called Mobile Photo Connect), in addition to the demo slots reserved for sponsors

In 3 fast-paced Show & Tell sessions, the developers will compete for the Visual 1st Best Business Potential Award, Best Technology Award, Best of Show Award, Special Recognition Award, and the Visual 1st Best of Show Award

Previous Show & Tell presenters include Regaind (acquired by Apple), Kite (acquired by Canon), Orbeus (acquired by Amazon), and Looksery (acquired by Snapchat). (…)

October 3, 2018

When one camera doesn't do it all

Research findings + Visual 1st camera panel

As we're gearing up toward our Visual 1st conference, which will feature a stellar panel of camera vendors (see more below), I'd like to whet your appetite and share a few highlights from our Beyond smartphones and digital cameras - The Long Tail of Cameras survey, conducted a few months ago among 1055 North American respondents who take at least 5 photos a month.

September 25, 2018

Emerging monetization models for the photo and video ecosystem

Last year at Visual 1st, Itai Tsidon, co-founder of Lightricks, the makers of FaceTuneEnlight and other best-selling photo apps, shared his company's reasons why they'd decided to move to a subscription model for their apps. In short, they thought subscriptions were the way to break through the $10M in revenues ceiling they felt was inevitable if they'd stick to "just" selling apps. Did the move to a subscription model work out? I checked with Itai last week and his answer was a resounding "yes"! The company is now trending towards reaching $50M by year's end and employing 150 workers. (…)

September 19, 2018

Apple's breakthrough new dual camera system - or not really?

Apple. Now that the noise has died down a bit over the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR announcements, more industry observers start to wonder if there was really that much groundbreaking new on the imaging front. The optics haven't changed a hack of a lot compared to the iPhone X, with the exception of the pixel pitch increase from 1.22 µm to 1.4 µm, allowing for more details in low lights and shadows. But that didn't stop Apple calling it "a breakthrough new 12 MP dual camera system." (…)

September 5, 2018

Videos and phodeos surge into the Mainstream

New study analyzes what's driving the explosion in user-generated videos and hybrid photo-videos

Consumer video sure ain't what it used to be. The category now includes numerous variations, ranging from full-length to short-form narratives, plus what could be called "phodeos": hybrids of photos and videos such as Boomerang clips, Instagram Stories and even the (now venerable) GIF animations. Due in large part to these new options that free consumers from the "one (huge) size fits all" straightjacket of the past, motion imaging is more popular now than ever.

Are we witnessing a bubble? Or will video/phodeo continue its rise in adoption to become a dominant format of visual expression, communication, and memory capture - even perhaps toppling the supremacy of the still image, i.e. photos? (…)


August 29, 2018: The proliferation of cameras, visual formats, and monetization methods are transforming the consumer imaging industry – Pursuing low hanging fruit or the long tail?

August 15, 2018: Visual 1st 2018 update: Announcing 35 speakers, 13 sponsoring vendors, 7 sponsoring media/associations

August 1, 2018: Printing Press: Innovative Photo Print Product Apps

July 25, 2018: News from the visual-first ecosystem

July 11, 2018: Visual apps: Photo, Video, Photo + Video?

June 20, 2018: Smartphone Apps for Summer Picture Taking

June 6, 2018: The photo print products use case: A relic of the past? Or teeming with new opportunities? Introducing The 2018 Photo Print Buying Survey study

May 16, 2018: The Google I/O outcome: a plethora of photo-related innovations coming your way

April 25, 2018: Announcing Visual 1st 2018: initial program, speakers and sponsors

April 25, 2018: Beyond smartphones and digital cameras - The Long Tail of Cameras study

April 11, 2018: Going blockchain? Two imaging examples

March 28, 2018: News from the visual-first ecosystem  

March 15, 2018: The top-ranking photo apps: their age, ratings, and domicile

March 1, 2018: The potential of AR for printed photo products

February 14, 2018: The untapped potential of mono-brand stores for the imaging industry. Takeaways from my visits to the Leica, WhiteWall, and Fujifilm Wonder Photo Shop stores

January 31, 2018: News analysis: Shutterfly buys Lifetouch –Wall Street is happy, but for how long?

January 25, 2018: Study finds ample supply of innovative apps to jumpstart consumer AR adoption

January 11, 2018: Camera Companies Reach Out to Imaging Start-up Developers

December 13, 2017: 5 Takeaways from Mobile Photo Connect 2017, part 2

November 29, 2017: 5 Takeaways from Mobile Photo Connect 2017, part 1

October 30, 2017: 2017 Visual 1st Awards go to Photomyne, PastBook, V360, and Streetography  

October 30, 2017: Mobile Photo Connect conference is now Visual 1st 

October 5, 2017: Monetizing Photo Apps - print products to the rescue 

October 2, 2017: Regaind, winner of last year's Mobile Photo Connect Best Technology Award, acquired by Apple! 

September 27, 2017: Innovative solution providers tackle the ever-growing headaches of photo management and storage

September 14, 2017: AI: it’s time to take image recognition beyond auto-tagging 

September 14, 2017: The iPhone X deep-dive – Why this phone will disrupt the mobile imaging ecosystem

August 15, 2017: Going Deep – the race for depth imaging smartphones is on

August 2, 2017: Photo storage 4.0 - it's deduplication, stupid!

July 19, 2017: Reality check: taking, keeping, storing smartphone photos

June 29, 2017: VR: a dud? Or has it barely started?

June 8, 2017: WWDC takeaways: lots of great news for photo app developers, but one major puzzler

May 23, 2017: Google I/O: what's wrong with a lack of jaw-dropping announcements?

May 11, 2017: Announcing Mobile Photo Connect 2017–Expanding to 1.5-day program; attractive Early Bird VIP program

April 25, 2017: Move over Snap: Facebook is the camera company to beat–It's the platform, stupid

April 13, 2017: Canon’s acquisition of Kite – the view from the stakeholders

March 22, 2017: The unstoppable rise of Stories: New social visual story telling format strikes a chord in social networks and chat services

March 9, 2017: The five most interesting product launches at Mobile World Congress (Barcelona) and Business Forum Imaging (Cologne)–Nostalgia, minimalistic product design,and a new approach for connecting DSLRs to the cloud

February 22, 2017: The unpredicted but explainable comeback of instant printing – Camera-printers and Snapchat; retro photo prints and Instagram; instant sharing and WhatsApp – today’s instant printing popularity is more than a niche phenomenon

February 7, 2017: From Artificial Intelligence to Intelligent Imaging: AI buzz is everywhere – but smart imaging innovations are flourishing right inside our industry 

January 25, 2017: Connecting cameras to engagement: What Snapchat, GoPro and Giroptic have in common

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