(commentary) Originally appeared on bythom.com at time of Coolpix A announcement
This table says it all:
|Coolpix A||Fujifilm X100S||Canon EOS M|
|16mp DX sensor||16mp APS sensor||18mp APS sensor|
|no viewfinder||full hybrid viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|28mm f/2.8||35mm f/2||35mm f/2 (interchangeable)|
|230 shots||330 shots||230 shots|
|US$1100||US$1300||US$800 (+US$100 discount)|
And there's Nikon's problem in a nutshell: if you really want a fixed-lens compact, for US$200 you can get a faster lens, more shots per charge, and be able to look through either an optical viewfinder or EVF while shooting. For US$400 less (currently), you can get more megapixels, a faster lens, and be able to interchange to other lenses. The primary thing that column A gives you over column B and C is a smaller size, but not small enough to match the Sony RX-100.
So the question is simple: what does the Nikon A provide that no other camera doesn't? If it isn't unique in some sense, then you have to do comparison tables like the above, which are going to be hard to win. Who knows, perhaps it has superb image quality and usability going for it. Or maybe Ashton Kutcher can make it cool. We'll see soon enough.