Friday, February 01, 2008

Will cameras play tag?

That’s what IMS Research believes forecasting that the market for cameras with integrated Global Positioning Systems capabilities will grow 200 percent on a compound annual basis over the next five years--coming off a very small sub-million unit base, of course. Makers of digital cameras and GPS chips are both hungry to open up new opportunities. But I think the marketing geniuses have more work ahead to flesh out this concept of geo-tagging pictures and turn it into a compelling use case.

Matia Grossi, author of the IMS report, does well to note that camera makers believe GPS chips are “too power hungry, too expensive and take too long to get a location fix.”

New approaches aim to address those issues, according to the report. The Snapspot software from NXP-spinout Geotate turns on a GPS receiver only for a fraction of a second while the user takes a picture. Air Semiconductor’s Airwave-1 keeps the receiver always on, drawing 1mA average and dynamically balancing accuracy with power based on the application.

Don’t expect many GPS-enabled cameras at the PMA conference in Vegas, but there’s enough activity to suggest they will come along eventually, Grossi concludes.

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