posted Friday, May 10, 2013 at 2:09 PM EDT


If you've been watching the many camera announcements so far this year very closely, there's an incontrovertible fact you can't help but to have noticed: This is the year of the connected camera. A new report from market research firm InfoTrends takes a look at the state of play, and makes predictions for the future.

From the start of the year, a vast selection of cameras have been appearing with built-in wireless connectivity, be it Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Near Field Communications, or some combination of all three. In fact, it's barely twelve hours since the last-such announcement, Olympus' Wi-Fi capable PEN E-P5 mirrorless camera. The profusion of connected digicams is a direct attempt to head off the ever-present cameraphone, by making it quicker and easier to get images from your dedicated camera online and into the inboxes and news feeds of friends and family.

It's not just the number of connected cameras that's impressive, though. There's also a big push to make the technology both more powerful, and easier to use. Connected cameras have been around for quite a few years, but they've typically been slow, clumsy and complicated. Now, technology like Quick Response codes and NFC radios are being used to simplify the connection process, making it that much easier to start sharing your photos, and even remote camera control is becoming fairly commonplace.

That's a pattern we can expect to see continue, according to InfoTrends. The company says that last year, just 15% of digital cameras -- that's around one in every seven sold -- was in some manner connected. This year, the figure is expected to be twice as high, at around 30%, almost one in three cameras sold. The change directly answers consumer demand, says InfoTrends, pointing to its own surveys that find connected and smart cameras -- especially those featuring Wi-Fi -- are particularly attractive to the buying public. But as the company points out, 100% of cameraphones are connected, raising the possibility that the two in three cameras still sold without wireless connectivity face a tough road ahead.

Find out more in InfoTrends' 2012 Digital Camera End-user Survey, priced at US$5,000 and published last February (but officially announced today).