Lytro CEO: “Multiple Breakthrough Products in 2014”
These days, “big tech companies” nowadays have a typical product cycle of about 12 months, meaning that a new generation of their latest products will usually be presented every year. In contrast to that, it’s been 1.5 years since (relative) startup Lytro presented their first generation Lytro light field camera, and we’ve been waiting to hear about hardware news.
In a recent interview, new Lytro CEO Jason Rosenthal promised “multiple breakthrough products” set for 2014:
“We’re working on what we think will be our Model S,” Rosenthal said, referring to the latest Tesla model that earned a nearly perfect score from Consumer Reports. “We have a packed product roadmap for next year, we’ll introduce multiple what I think are just breakthrough products. I’m super excited and the world will be as well.”
He declined to color in that roadmap much, but said the long-term vision is to become “the new software and hardware stack for everything with a lens and sensor. That’s still cameras, video cameras, medical and industrial imaging, smartphones, the entire imaging ecosystem.”
Rosenthal hinted at “widely different price points” for their upcoming products, which will cover both low-end and high-end markets. According to him, strides in software, which were previously only possible with expensive hardware, will help them make the newest advances available relatively cheaply (likely by using fewer specialized, expensive hardware components).
Margit Wennmachers, a partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, also hinted at new Lytro products in the making: At least one of these products will include features that professional photographers are looking for, she said. The original report’s author wrote that Wennmachers also mentioned video, but she declined to elaborate.
Industry sources are quoted saying that Lytro’s first camera generation isn’t selling too well, so it may be time for some physical upgrades. However, let’s not forget that Lytro has basically been building a consumer market for light field cameras from scratch. Lytro and business partners seem to be happy with the results so far, and state that sales have exceeded their internal projections.
“Our expectation wasn’t as high as people on the outside had,” [Wennmachers] said. “Analysts and everyone else have to understand the full and complete vision, and you don’t really share that when you’re shipping Version 1.0.”
Neither Rosenthal nor Wennmachers actually specified whether they were concentrating on hardware or software products. In the light of rising competition from various directions (be it Olympus, Pelican Imaging, Toshiba, or Mems|Cam), we believe their hints and suggestions point heavily towards at least one interchangeable lens camera. Light field video will be a likely addition. First of all, though, we expect the release of 3D software features.
What do you think? Could Lytro also have something completely new and unexpected up their sleeve?