Friday, December 16, 2016

Industry Update!

Someone's finally paying attention to me! Well, no, but they're reading the tea leaves. There's a place offering a camera-as-a-service, Relonch. Essentially, you pay $99 a month to borrow a stylish (?) looking camera with a viewfinder and a shutter botton, nothing else. Pictures you take get automatically uploaded to some cloud thing, and Relonch's magic elves, or AI, or something, pick out and edit the "best ones" and send them to your phone.

The name suggests to me that it might be a prank, to be honest. But the fact that it's getting some traction (not among photographers, who profess themselves BAFFLED, YES BAFFLED, LEARNING TO USE A DSLR AND PHOTOSHOP IS... etcetera) suggests that this is an idea whose time is at least nearby.

The point here, which many photography enthusiasts seem blind to, is that a lot of people simply want pictures. They find cameras and the associated rubbish tedious in the extreme. This doesn't mean that they would not like nice pictures, of course. The phone has been a boon to this audience, and this sort of thing is the sort of thing that can certainly find a market among the well-heeled subset of those people.

Hasselblad continues to fascinate. In the last little while they've introduced a next-gen of their flagship thing with, I think, a 100MP 6x4.5 sensor. Then they rolled out this strange X1D mirrorless camera. Well, the camera's not strange, but as Kirk Tuck points out there's nothing in the lens lineup that's actually useful. A Rather Wide, a Kinda Wide, and a Slightly Long Normal, I think? Finally, they rolled out this Motorola add-on camera that actually looks pretty decent.

I think the first one is carrying-on carrying-on. Support the existing tiny base of studio guys with large budgets, retain position as a Serious Player. The X1D is a halo product intended to cement that, and carry the Hasselblad Is Back message out more widely. The Motorola widget is the first of the real products that Hasselblad intends to turn in to realistic amounts of money.

How do I know this?

Hasselblad finds itself astonished to have actually sold a meaningful number of X1Ds. On LuLa we find a review of the device, stating that Hasselblad has "thousands of orders to fulfill" and "Hasselblad had to make major changes to their manufacturing and production lines" in order to ship hundreds of units a week (and rising).

They announced this X1D product, apparently, expecting to ship something like 5000 units in the first year. Maybe. That works out to 100 units a week, and is as good a guess as any at what they expected sales to look like. That's something like $75 million in retail revenue, which translates in to, well, a lot less than that back at Hasselblad HQ. Perry Oosting was not hired to lead development of a couple products that add a couple million bucks a year to the bottom line.

If the Motorola snap-on accessory thing takes off in Asia, they could have a winner on their hands. Perry's not a moron, and he's been in the phone market, he knows that Motorola is, at best, a maybe. He's got more irons in the fire.

1 comment:

  1. If the data from Bloomberg is correct, $75M in sales would more than double their recent turnover and even at 40% margin they would be growing.