Sanyo has been making pocket camcorders, and specifically high-definition pocket camcorders, since before it was cool. Part of the reason it wasn't cool when they were the only ones doing it, however, is that their products were largely underwhelming. Their supposedly high-definition compact camcorders usually failed to produce video of a reasonable quality, and their interfaces seemed to get more complicated as the devices got smaller.
That's a big difference between the Sanyo Xacti camcorders and the pocket camcorders that have come to dominate, like the Flip and the Kodak Zi8. As the saying goes, though, a rising tide raises all boats, and given the increased credibility given to pocket camcorders thanks to the work of Pure Digital and Kodak, Sanyo could perhaps benefit from the larger spotlight being directed at such devices. Consumers, unfamiliar with their less-than-stellar history, may give them a chance. They have an opportunity to finally prove themselves.
The Sanyo Xacti CG11 seems clearly intended for that purpose. It bears a cosmetic resemblance to earlier Xacti models, with its colorful body and sleek, pistol-grip form factor. It claims to record high-definition video in 720p resolution and to be able to take 10-megapixel still photos as well. That puts it right in line with its pocket camcorder competition. Unlike the competition, however, the CG11 includes a 5x optical zoom lens. Other pocket camcorders force users to rely on digital zoom, which can be very irritating. The longer, deeper form factor of the CG11 provides the room for a more robust, powerful lens. Like the Zi8, it utilizes SDHC memory cards for storage, meaning you can record hours and hours of footage without worrying about running out of room.
The Sanyo Xacti CG11 is currently slated for release in Japan this fall, but will almost certainly end up in North America in the coming months. Then we'll be able to tell whether the CG11 can truly compete in the continually evolving pocket camcorder market against some stiff, highly-motivated competition, or whether Sanyo hasn't learned from its past failures.