No end to Covid-19 webcam shortage

Videoconference on laptop

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When people couldn’t see each other in real life, they turned to virtual meetings that require a webcam

With the entry into force of the blocks of Covid-19 worldwide, millions of people have turned to remote work and the organization of virtual gatherings with friends.

During the night, webcams went from mundane computer accessories to gold dust.

Even now, the rise in initial demand in March has just decreased, with producers struggling to satisfy the many consumers who try to buy.

And while some consumers have been successful, there is much evidence that many others are still looking in vain.

‘Chasing the question’

Smartphones, tablets and laptops are generally equipped with integrated cameras.

But many users prefer dedicated devices that can offer higher video resolution or be easier to position using, for example, a tripod.

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Logitech is working hard to meet the demand

Logitech has started shipping its webcams by air rather than by sea, to reach retailers as quickly as possible.

“We are still chasing the question at this point,” says a spokesman.

“Production is at full throttle.

“Going forward, the offer may remain limited but we expect it to improve.”

Popular products

CEO Bracken Darrell told CNBC that the company “was working like crazy” to meet demand.

And he expected another increase in sales from students returning to university practically in the fall.

In the UK, Amazon, Curry’s and Argos all have some webcam models available for sale.

But many – including the most popular products made by companies like Logitech, Microsoft and Razer – are regularly listed as out of stock.

“Inflated prices”

“I’ve been trying to find one for my mom for months,” says software designer Matt Obee in the UK.

“He wanted to join his normal home business.”

In particular, virtual church and Pilates.

“I only found a few with stupidly inflated prices or unrecognizable brands,” he says.

Search for months

And when a friend bought Mr. Obee’s mother a webcam with a brand she didn’t know, it seemed to be causing software problems on her computer and Zoom kept crashing.

In the end, he managed to buy one from Curry – a little more expensive than the model he was planning to buy, but it worked as expected.

“I didn’t expect that we would have to spend months searching,” he adds.

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Monika Lee

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Internet streamer Monika Lee could not find a suitable webcam

In California, cosplayer and streamer Monika Lee already has two webcams, but she would like a third to cook demonstrations from her kitchen.

“Quite frivolous”

“It’s more important than ever to get in touch with people,” he says.

His need for the camera is “pretty frivolous,” he says.

But she is not satisfied with the quality of the integrated laptop camera she is using.

And while the specific webcam model you want is available again on Amazon, its price has increased.

Software updates

Similar frustrations were faced by the stream-game Casey Thornton, in the United States, which follows the pseudonym of D3ityCthulhu.

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Casey Thornton

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Casey Thornton is a game-streamer looking for a high quality webcam

The pandemic took the webcam market by surprise and it’s understandable that manufacturers have struggled to keep up, says Stuart Miles, publisher of the gadget news site.

“It was an industry that was just going on, nobody was so excited about it,” he says.

“Suddenly, through the blockade, we were forced to make Zoom calls and quizzes and try to stay connected by working from home.”

Some camera companies offer software updates, he says.

For example, this week Nikon released an update that allows users to turn their single-lens reflex digital cameras (DSLRs) into improvised webcams.

“You may see further innovations in lighting or [companies] selling lights to wrap the laptop screen to offer a better lighting experience, “adds Miles.

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