Osaka, Japan-based Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. unveiled a series of Panasonic digital still and video cameras for the Japanese market that are reportedly no bigger than the palm of your hand.
Panasonic's D-snap series boasts four new models, including a digital still camera less than 1-cm (0.39-in) thick and combination still and video cameras that can play back television programs stored onto a memory card.
Matsushita, maker of the Panasonic brand and the world's second-largest consumer electronics manufacturer, aims to tap into demand for digital cameras.
To close the gap with competitors like Sony and Canon, Inc., Matsushita is targeting younger consumers and will use Japanese pop music star Ayumi Hamasaki to promote the D-snap lineup as well as its more conventional Lumix digital cameras.
Matsushita has targeted global D-snap sales of 50 billion yen (U.S. $427 million) in 2005, less than 1 percent of the company's consolidated revenues in the latest business year ended March 31.
"These products are selling the best in America. They are four or five times more popular over there," Shunzo Ushimaru, director of Corporate Marketing for Panasonic, said at a news conference. The D-snap is called E-wear in the U.S.
The four D-Snap cameras will go on sale in October and November in Japan with prices ranging from roughly 30,000 yen ($256) for the super-thin SV-AS10 to 100,000 yen for the credit card-sized SV-AV100 video recorder.
The SV-AS10 is said to be thinner than a slice of toast and can snap photos with a resolution of 2 million pixels, while also allowing users to record sound and play back downloaded music.
The SV-AV100 is the world's smallest digital video camera, according to Matsushita, and can record up to 20 min of DVD quality picture, using a 512 MB memory card.
The cameras do not come with video tapes or discs, but use the SD Card, a removable and rewritable memory product Matsushita developed together with Toshiba Corp and U.S.-based SanDisk Corp., a top supplier of flash memory data storage products. (Reuters)
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