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General Electric cameras: The Americans are coming

General Electric is to add the GE brand to General Imaging's range of compact digital cameras and make them available in the UK, from late January

Over the years, Britain has been the birthpace of many American greats: Stan Laurel, Kim Cattrall, Frasier's dad. Now General Electric is returning the favour by bringing a range of cameras to the UK. The cameras are manufactured by General Imaging and branded with the GE logo.

GE is the second-largest company in the world -- after Exxon Mobil, fact fans -- and has been generally electric since a lightbulb lit up over Thomas Edison's head in 1876. Now it's moving into a new market with the G series of compact cameras.

The question is whether our Yank friends will be bringing anything new to the table when they cross the Atlantic on 22 January. The compact market is pretty crowded, with novelty and diversity at a premium.

It's unclear whether General Imaging will be selling the same range as presently offered in the States, but so far the G series only comprises the G1, pictured. It's not exactly a barn-burner, featuring a 3x zoom and 64mm (2.5-inch) screen. But we've been promised a range of cameras, topped by a 12-megapixel model with a 76mm (3-inch) screen, as well as photo printers.

The range seems to be in safe hands, as former Sony designer Takeyoshi Kawano is involved. He was responsible for the Sony Walkman, Betamax, the Vaio range, and the Olympus Stylus series of cameras. Generally exciting, then. -Rich Trenholm