How To Really Screw Up a New Product Release

By: John Honovich, Published on Dec 20, 2013

2 years late and nearly 3x expensive as the previous generation? That will do it.

Unfortunately, pre-announcing products is the norm. Indeed, 3 months from announcement to shipping is common. Even 6 months is not surprising. A year becomes aggravating but 2 years?

Alas, Fujinon and Immervision have pulled this off. In September 2011, they trumpeted the first 360 5MP lens. It was pushed back again and again in a series of increasingly comical measures.

Now, in fall 2013, it is finally available [link no longer available] but the kicker is that it is $800 more than the 1.3MP previous generation one (~$400 vs $1200 USD).

A Lot Happened in 2 Years

In the meantime, the overall competitive positioning of the market shifted. Back in 2011, there were very few 180 / 360 cameras. And then in 2012, the market blew up: Everyone's Going 360. This continued in 2013, with even more vendors adding panoramics, to the point now that almost every manufacturer has an offering typically, 3MP or 5MP. Equally importantly, pricing has gone down. Once an expensive niche item running $1,000+, now many panoramics can be found for $500 to $700 (see our Panoramic Camera Shootout). 

What Will Become of the 5MP Immervision / Fujinon Lens?

The situation looks poor.

On the plus side, having a 5MP Immervision version is important as the 1.3MP Immervision version is no longer competitive (as our tests show) with 3MP and 5MP fisheyes are commonplace. Plus, this new (finally released) model works with box cameras, allowing the rare opportunity to use best in class professional cameras (true WDR, true D/N, super low light, etc.) with 360.

On the negative side, the 5MP Immervision / Fujinon lens is more expensive than almost every 360 fisheye camera in the market and that includes camera and lens). Once you add a camera to the 5MP Immervision / Fujinon, the total cost is close to $2,000, which will be hard for most to justify.

All is not lost for Immervision as they do have an M mount higher resolution lens they are now providing for 360 minidomes. As our Brickcom / Immervision test showed, these are competitive.

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