Samsung takes aim at Japanese rivals with Android camera

Updated 30 November 2012
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Samsung takes aim at Japanese rivals with Android camera

SEOUL: South Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung Electronics Co. is taking aim at its Japanese rivals with an Android-powered digital camera that allows users to swiftly and wirelessly upload pictures to social networking sites.
The Galaxy camera lets users connect to a mobile network or Wi-Fi to share photographs and video without having to hook up the camera to a computer.
While it’s not the first to the market, Samsung’s financial and marketing clout suggest it could be the biggest threat to Japanese domination of a digital camera industry which research firm Lucintel sees growing to $ 46 billion by 2017 and where big brands include Canon Inc, Sony Corp, Panasonic Corp, Nikon Corp. and Olympus Corp.
“Samsung has a tough row to hoe against the likes of Canon and Nikon in the camera brand equity landscape,” said Liz Cutting, senior imaging analyst at research firm NPD Group. “Yet as a brand known more in the connected electronic device arena, Samsung has a unique opportunity to transfer strength from adjacent categories into the dedicated camera world.”
The Korean group, battling for mobile gadget supremacy against Apple Inc, is already a global market leader in televisions, smartphones and memory chips.
Samsung last year brought its camera and digital imaging business — one of its smallest — under the supervision of JK Shin, who heads a mobile business that generated 70 percent of Samsung’s $ 7.4 billion third-quarter profit.
“Our camera business is quickly evolving ... and I think it will be able to set a new landmark for Samsung,” Shin said at a launch event in Seoul.
“The product will open a new chapter in communications — visual communications,” he said, noting good reviews for the Samsung Galaxy camera which went on sale in Europe and the US earlier this month.
The Galaxy camera, which sells in the US for $ 499.99 through AT&T with various monthly data plans, features a 4.8-inch (12.2 cm) LCD touchscreen and a 21x optical zoom lens.
Users can send photos instantly to other mobile devices via a 4G network, access the Internet, e-mail and social network sites, edit photos and play games.
The easy-to-use camera, and the quality of the pictures, is aimed at mid-market ‘pro-sumers’ — not quite professional photographers but those who don’t mind paying a premium for user options not yet available on a smartphone — such as an optical, rather than digital, zoom, better flash, and image stabilization.
The appeal of high picture quality cameras with wireless connection has grown as social media services such as Facebook Inc. drive a boom in rapid shoot-and-share photos.
“At a price point higher than some entry-level interchangeable-lens cameras, the Galaxy camera should appeal to a consumer willing to pay an initial and ongoing premium for 24/7 creative interactivity,” said Cutting.


Traditional digital camera makers are responding.

Canon, considered a leader in profitability in corporate Japan with its aggressive cost cutting, saw its compact camera sales eroded in the most recent quarter by smartphones, and has just introduced its first mirrorless camera to tap into a growing market for small, interchangeable-lens cameras that rival Nikon entered last year.
Nikon has also recently introduced an Android-embedded Wi-Fi only camera.


World Cup football fakes keep Dubai’s ‘Dolce & Karama’ traders busy

Updated 22 June 2018
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World Cup football fakes keep Dubai’s ‘Dolce & Karama’ traders busy

  • Dubai's “Dolce and Karama” is the emirate's copycat capital
  • Neymar Jr shirts are proving especially popular with local shoppers

DUBAI: Tucked away in an old residential district and far from Dubai’s glitzy air-conditioned malls, the Karama area of the city is doing a roaring trade in selling World Cup football shirts.

But if you’re looking for the genuine article, you may have come to the wrong place.

Karama is Dubai's copycat capital where the knockoff imitations of the world's most famous fashion brands are sold for a fraction of the genuine price.

Known to some locals jokingly by the epithet “Dolce and Karama,” a play on the Dolce & Gabbana Italian fashion house, this is a place where if you have to ask the price, you probably can afford it.

With three weeks to go until football’s new world champions are crowned, the world’s biggest sporting tournament is keeping the tills chiming on the street that has become notorious for selling everything from fake Luis Vuitton bags to knockoff Ray-Ban sunglasses.

However since the tournament kicked off just over a week ago, it’s been football not fashion, that has put a smile on the face of traders.

Retailing for a fraction of their high-street cost, the copycat shirts — especially those bearing the name of Brazilian superstar Neymar — are flying off the stalls less than week into the tournament, as UAE-based fans who want to don the colors of their favorite team or player, look for bargains.

Mohammad Ashraf has been trading in Dubai’s Karama Shopping Complex for 15 years.

At his store, Mina Fashion, Ashraf said the World Cup has brought a booming trade.

When asked how many shirts he would sell prior to the Fifa World Cup, he shrugged.

“Maybe one, two — maximum five a day,” he said.

But the Indian trader has quadrupled his business since last week’s kick-off.

“Now, we have been very busy,” he said. “We sell at least 20 pieces a day — maybe more,” he said.

His football shirts are a fraction of the cost of the genuine article on sale in Dubai malls where retailers are feeling the pressure from the growth of online rivals, the introduction of VAT and the strong dollar to which the UAE dirham is pegged — that is hitting tourist spending hard.

Karama football shirts sell for about 65 dirhams ($18) in adult size and 55 dirhams for children. But the real deal costs three or four times as much a few miles down the road in the Dubai Mall, the city’s biggest tourist draw.

In Karama, the football shirts of the Brazil, Argentina and Germany teams have been among the biggest sellers.

And the most popular player?

Ashraf said shirts bearing the name of Brazilian footballer Neymar da Sila Santos Junior have been flying off the shelves.

Abdulla Javid, runs Nujoom Al Maleb in the Karama shopping district — a shop selling a variety of knock-off sportswear — including World Cup shirts for men, youths and children.

“They are not real, not branded — branded ones are very expensive,” he said.

“We have shirts for Germany, for Argentina, for Portugal, for Sweden, for Brazil and for Belgium,” he said, pointing to racks of multi-colored football shirts.

Mens shirts retail for about 45 dirhams for adult sizes in his shop and 40 dirhams for youths. For young children, he sells shirts and shorts for a combined price of 30 dirhams.

The World Cup has also been a welcome boom for business.

“Before we sell maybe between five to 10 (shirts) a day,” he said. “Now, at least 20 to 30 pieces a day. It has been very busy. This time is a good time for us.”

Also at Karama Shopping Complex is Zico Sports.

Ahmed Jaber, a 53-year-old trader, said there are good deals to be found in at the shop he has worked in since the 1980s.

He sells football shirts that are both “branded” and “non-branded” — in other words the genuine article and cheaper knock-offs.

He said customers have been happy to shell out for the genuine football shirts for the adult sizes — which he sells for 379 dirhams, but for children, shoppers prefer to buy the fake football shirts, which he sells for about 30 dirhams.

The most popular shirts since the start of World Cup have been for Brazil, Argentina and France, he said, but his shops have an abundance of kit for all competing countries.

When he asked how the 2018 World Cup had been for business, he laughed.

“Not bad at all!,” he said.