Irish Independent - Business Week - - BUSINESSWEEK TECHNOLOGYTECHNOLOGY -

mem­ory stor­age cards will soon hold 1,000GB Over the last five years, mem­ory cards have not been able to keep up with pop­u­lar us­age pat­terns in phone, cam­era and PC me­dia. Phone cam­eras, in par­tic­u­lar, have been get­ting far bet­ter for both stills and videos.

It’s not un­usual now for an or­di­nary per­son to shoot a few dif­fer­ent videos on a daily ba­sis, us­ing up 100MB (0.1GB) of their phone or cam­era’s 16GB or 32GB stor­age mem­ory in the process. This has been a great boon to com­pa­nies like Drop­box and iCloud, both of which now make ever-in­creas­ing sums from peo­ple’s monthly cloud stor­age subscriptions.

To tackle this, some phones al­low you to put a Mi­croSD mem­ory card into the phone to hold pho­tos or videos. But even then, most cards are lim­ited to 32GB or 64GB, which fill up quickly for peo­ple tak­ing a lot of pic­tures. Sandisk chose IFA to un­veil its new­est mem­ory card, which has a whop­ping 400GB of stor­age in a lit­tle plas­tic thing the size of your lit­tle fin­ger­nail. While this won’t ini­tially be cheap (cost­ing well over €100), the good news is that this will make still-hefty 128GB Mi­croSD cards cheaper, with prices now al­ready fall­ing below €50 (the equiv­a­lent of five months’ cloud stor­age fees with Drop­box). Nikon had ar­guably the small­est tent in the whole con­fer­ence, manned by two peo­ple and a hand­ful of D850 cam­eras (with no bat­tery grips or new lenses). When I vis­ited it, there was no-one else go­ing near it. Even Black­Berry had more visitors.

Fu­ji­film, which is one of the few cam­era com­pa­nies ac­tu­ally hold­ing its own in the mar­ket, skipped out on the event too.

The mes­sage the cam­era mar­ket is send­ing out is a des­per­ate one – it’s sink­ing and its big­gest prac­ti­tion­ers can barely af­ford to take out a stand at the world’s most im­por­tant trade fairs.

Even if they can af­ford it, they don’t think any­one will be both­ered to go over and look at their wares, which are start­ing to take on the aura of niche pro­fes­sional ma­chines rather than fun de­vices to tempt a mass mar­ket.

To be fair, both Pana­sonic and Sony had plenty of cam­era equip­ment, lenses and other op­ti­cal gear on site. But that was only as part of their gi­ant en­clo­sures which fea­tured ev­ery­thing else from TVs and fridges to smart home speak­ers.

Iron­i­cally, talk of cam­eras dom­i­nated some of the launches at IFA – but it was in phones and drones. Sev­eral phone man­u­fac­tur­ers un­veiled dual cam­era mod­els at the event, while DJI hyped up the large en­hanced cam­eras on its new Phan­tom 4 Pro Ob­sid­ian model. This is sadly typ­i­cal of the global trend. Cam­eras are now spo­ken about and mea­sured in con­ver­sa­tions about phones, not stand­alone DSLRs, com­pact or mir­ror­less de­vices.

In a vi­cious cir­cle that will ac­cel­er­ate the de­par­ture of cam­eras from the main­stream, cam­era man­u­fac­tur­ers are now pay­ing less and less at­ten­tion to or­di­nary con­sumers and re­trench­ing to pro­fes­sion­als or wealthy hob­by­ists. As such, while the price of most tech goods is go­ing down, the price of new cam­eras is go­ing up, with fewer and fewer ma­jor launches fo­cus­ing on sub-€1,000 mod­els.

are fi­nally start­ing to pipe

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