Canon to Spotlight Flash Memory for HD Camcorders

In a strategic move against competitor Sony for a bigger share in American sales, Canon said it will begin to pinpoint more of its energies toward the production of HD camcorders built with flash memory chips (no hard-disc storage).

Flash memory chips can be produced smaller than disc storage units and maintain longer battery charges, Canon said. In the field, flash memory chips can also better sustain severe vibrations and other trauma, according to the Tokyo-based firm. Canon is projecting it will hold one-third of the American market this year for HD camcorders. Its market share in 2007 was about 26 percent, it said in published reports, which was nearly four times its share a year earlier.

Nearly half of Canon’s first several camcorder models this year will use flash memory, which is the same technology used in USB memory sticks for computers. The devices hold more than five hours of video, compared to about an hour for previous tape models. The cameras (first introduced this month at CES) will hold about 150 minutes of HD on a 16 GB chip.

Canon predicts more than 700,000 HD camcorders (all brands) will be sold in the United States in 2008.