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GE jumps on digital camera bandwagon

Veteran company thinks now is a good time to get in the game.

Shrinking margins on low-end and midrange models. A handful of entrenched market leaders surrounded by a large halo of struggling wannabes. Companies pulling out of unprofitable markets--or pulling out of the line of business altogether. Slowing market growth. Increasing competition from convergence devices. Great opportunity for a newcomer.

That last one threw me, too. I'd think this would be a horrible time for a completely new digital camera company to poke its head through the soil. Clearly GE, and its new protégé, General Imaging, think differently. The latter company, formed by former bigwigs from places such as Olympus--though I didn't see any Konica Minolta refugees on the roster--will be designing its own cameras from the ground up, with GE as its exclusive licensee. The first models are slated to debut at the Photo Marketing Association show in March and will range from a 7-megapixel version with a 2.5-inch LCD display (the 3x-zoom G1, pictured here) to a 12-megapixel model with a 3-inch LCD. Oh, and they plan to announce a photo printer, as well. Another market with GO AWAY written on its wall. It'll be interesting to see how this one plays out.