From its inception, Canon has focused their goal to produce great photography cameras with good image quality and be followed up by a hune number of photographers and so far did quite well with that goal.
To keep pace with their goal they have already launched some of the best digital cameras which have been very appreciated by camera geeks. Like the Canon DSLRs 5D, 7D, 1Ds series to the point and shoot ones such as the Canon Power Shot G12, Power Shot S100, Power Shot SX30 or some more, Canon is building a good reputation at the world wide camera market.
However competition is getting more and more tough and Canon is looking at what the best future strategy may be. Many photographers are switching from mirror lens cameras to mirrorless interchangeable ones also known as compact system cameras. However Canon is now at a dilema as if it launches a good compact system camera that may cannibalize their sales of the DSLR series such as the Canon 600D, 7D, 5D, 1Ds which are used and admired in the world of photography.
During presentation of their first quarter earnings call, they informed the world that they will launch a compact camera system very soon. By these upcoming compact cameras from Canon, they will focus about the outlook and also will increase the quality of the image which will compete with SLR cameras. They are also going to integrate the advance technology like network connectivity or maybe even GPS in their cameras.
As for the sensor most likely will be the four thirds sized already used in their Canon G1X camera. What is quite important to read here is that Canon mentioned that their future compact system cameras will have almost an SLR image quality. So this means that Canon in the end may decide to slowly discontinue their DSLR line (keeping just their 5D and 1Ds series) and join the bandwagon of compact system cameras following up decision of Olympus and Panasonic (with their micro four thirds compact system cameras), Sony with the E-Mount, Nikon with the Nikon 1 mount, Pentax, Fuji with the Fujifilm XF system to name a few.
If this happens to be true there will be clear winners and losers from this race. If Canon is to adopt a four thirds sized sensor the winners in the long run may be both Olympus and Panasonic with their micro four thirds system and Canon as well. This because third party manufacturers like to produce lens that can reach a broader market. With similarly sized sensors it is quite likely that Sigma, Tamron, Voigtlander, Samyang, Tokina, SLR Magic to name a few will be producing lens for both Canon Compact System Camera and Olympus, Panasonic Micro Four Thirds compact system cameras which will bring out a wider variety and big selection of lens to consumers. Also in terms of sensor manufacturers this will be good news as so far only Panasonic was officially producing a four thirds size sensor (used in both Olympus and Panasonic cameras) stirring up competition and most likely enabling Olympus to use a high number of manufacturers. Now as a question, could it be that the sensor used in the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Micro Four Thirds Compact system camera is in fact manufactured by Canon that provided it to Olympus to trust the waters?
If prediction of Canon moving towards creating a line of compact system cameras goes correct in the end losers will be Nikon (with the Nikon 1 system) due to the quite small size of their sensor (meaning that they played wrong when they tried to anticipate Canon), Sony and Samsung (for their APSC sized sensors) due to fact that lenses in their systems just have to be quite big and comparable to DSLR ones. As for Fuji will do well as they position themselves in a more niche market.
From their own words, it is assumable that they are very close to announce the interchangeable mirrorless cameras, most likely during or before Photokina 2012. If is now the the age of digital interchangeable mirrorless cameras and Canon started to realize its importance and likely will be one of the future leaders of this ongoing trend.