With a competence base inmechanics, these firms could notkeep up with Casio, Sharp, Texas Instruments and the others.
After the shift to electronics, the calculator industry became a warzone of competition. New, cheaper and better models werelaunched at a furious pace.
Many companies entered theindustry in the early 70s to diggold, but very few survived this Klondike business.
Casio andSharp emerged as two of thesurviving giants after the war.
In the 70s and 80s, thecompany thundered into the watch industry and massproduced electronic watches.
Casio and its electronic relatives Seiko and Citizen put 1000 of the 1500 Swiss watch manufacturersout of business from 1970 to 1985.
The eternally increasing performanceand decreasing prices implied that Casio had to integratemany functionsinto one gadget in order to remain competitive.
Creating a calculator-wrist- watch was one attempt to deal with the continuing decrease in prices.
After these two electronic revolutions, Casio emergedas a household name with avery strong consumer brand.
The success was essentially built around an ability to rapidly wire new and better electronics intoconsumer-friendly applications.
Both these products were based uponintegrated circuits and an LCD screen. The LCD was perfect since it was light, cheap, required very little energyand could displaythe simple figuresthat were needed.
As time passed, thesemarkets became saturated in the early 1990s and Casio started to look for new applications for its core technologies.
These were the early days of digital photography…
But the concept ofhaving a LCD screen andthis design turned out to be very attractive.
Photos could now beviewed instantly, bad onescould be removed and new ones taken directly.
Now the big Japanese dragons like Canon, Nikon and Olympus invested a lot indeveloping this concept.
The Japanese firms worked jointly in an industryassociation to solve critical technical issues.
The QV 10 came to define the core elements anddesign of a digital compactcamera and now it was just a matter of improving key components such as the image sensor, the batteris and the LCD display.
However, Casio hadlittle past experience in optics and therefore collaborated withPentax in the beginning.
The Pentax Optio was co-developed with Casio. Pentax provided the optics and Casio made the electronic components. Thanks tothe modular structure of digital cameras, this kind of collaborations worked well.
The corresponding Casio camera was called Exilim.
Once the digital cameras had reached goodprice and performance levels, sales exploded.3025201510 5 0 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 Number of film and digital cameras sold in the United States.
Having destroyed mechanical companies and fought similar warsbefore, Casio went into the fight and crammed more and more pixels into their consumer cameras.
Casio kept breaking records, launchingthinner and cheaper cameras with more pixels every year…
Casio was the first company to launch a 3Mpixel compact cameraand the second one after Toshiba with 4 Mpixels.
The company was also the first one that broke the 10Mpixel barrier for compacts.
But the Megapixel war wasover only a few years later and the market forcompact cameras becameincreasingly unattractive.