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GE enters digital camera market; General Imaging named exclusive worldwide licensee

A long time ago, when I lived in Indonesia, electric fans proudly showed the well known black & white GE logo with its stylish, curly letters. Since then, GE has been synonym for "electric fans" to me. To my great surprise, this same GE today announces their entry in the digital camera market. The introductory campaign uses the slogan "GE is changing the picture", and is illustrated by two fish bowls. The question however is whether it symbolizes that GE will be joining a very crowded market or is setting itself apart from the pack...

PRESS SUMMARY

Introductory information at the GE websiteAlready one of the most trusted consumer brands in the world, GE will soon become one of the hottest names in high-quality digital still cameras.

GE and corporate newcomer General Imaging Co. announced today that the two companies have reached an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement by which General Imaging will design, manufacture and distribute an all-new line of GE-branded digital cameras.

"We were seeking to enter the digital camera arena and found a perfect partner," said Brad Irvine, GE President of Trading and Licensing. "The cameras from General Imaging are truly worthy of the GE name, representative of GE's leadership in technology and innovation."

General Imaging Co. Chairman and CEO Hiroshi "Hugh" Komiya said the GE brand comes with instant credibility.

"GE is a brand that consumers around the world know and trust," he said. "This is a brand known for innovation and technical leadership. We fully intend to deliver on the GE brand promise and even further enhance the GE brand value."

Headquartered in Torrance, California, General Imaging brings together an all-star cast of photo industry veterans. Komiya is a former president of Olympus Imaging Corporation.

Leading sales efforts in North America will be Rene Buhay, a former Vice-President of Global Sales for ArcSoft who had also headed North American sales for both Samsung and Ricoh. Noted industrial designer Takeyoshi Kawano will be the company's chief designer. Kawano's design credits include the Sony Walkman, the Sony VAIO computer and the Olympus Stylus camera series.

"Style will play an important part in our product development," Kawano noted. "Consumers are demanding not just advanced features but stylish designs. We're responding to that demand with cameras that are a statement of style and at the same time have all the latest technology."

According to Kawano, advanced features such as image stabilization, high ISO sensitivity, and panoramic stitching will be standard on ALL models.

"With advanced features like this on all our cameras, it will be difficult to take a bad photo," he said. "GE cameras will literally change the quality of pictures for today's consumers."

Entry-level GE digital cameras will start with 7 megapixels of resolution and 2.5-inch LCD screens. Higher-end GE cameras will offer up to 12 megapixels of resolution and 3-inch LCD screens. A photo printer will also be included in the line.

The GE digital cameras will make their debut at the annual Photo Marketing Association trade show, March 8-11, in Las Vegas. Cameras will be available in North America from mid-April. Shipments to Europe and Asia are scheduled for later this year.

Buhay believes that response to the new camera line from retailers and consumers alike will be overwhelming.

"I've been in the electronics field for many years, and the GE cameras are like nothing I've ever seen before," he said. "Our aim is to be Number 1 in all aspects - quality, technology, performance and value - and these cameras will do that."

Additional information: Introductory information at the GE website
February 14, 2007
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