So here's what I think is going on:
- Prosumer camcorders are going away, to be replaced by digital SLRs that have HD video capabilities. Why? Interchangeable lenses, for one thing. There's no prosumer camcorder that you can buy today with interchangeable lenses for less than $5,000, but the new Canon 5D Mark II will sell for less than $3,000 without a lens when it ships. The video capabilities on Nikon's new D90 (list price under $1,000) may leave a lot to be desired, but the problem is fixable. Panasonic will be in the market with an AVCHD-compatible version of its new G1, also for around $1,000, early next year. Sony, if it can get over its burning fear of competing with itself, should have a product in the market before too long as well. In short, price and interchangeable lenses will kill the prosumer camcorder as we know it.
- Camera phones will kill the market for point & shoot cameras. Samsung's new Pixon just hit the market with an 8 megapixel camera (as well as video capabilities), and there are 10 and 12 Megapixel models on their way. I've never been a big fan of camera phones, but both image quality and user interfaces are improving dramatically. Of course, the "hottest" phones, the 3G iPhone and the new G1, both have pretty schlocky cameras. Who cares? They may have a role to play, but for now, people are buying them for their smartphone capabilities, not their cameras.
- The Flip Video class of point & shoot camcorders will continue to eat everyone's lunch in the under-$1,000 camcorder market, for two reasons: Price and simplicity.