Water-proof video cameras are nothing new. The explosion of the action-camera market is evidence that not only have they been around, but there's a demand for them. But while action cameras are becoming popular for their versatility in mounting, there still something to be said for class form-factor: The camcorder.
JVC's new Everios are camcorders though and through, and they make no attempt to hide it. In fact, they look much like any other camcorder from the last ten years. The difference is that this one is waterproof to to 16 feet, drop-proof to five feet, and freeze-proof to 14 degrees F. It also has a 2.5M back-illuminated CMOS sensor, which lets in a lot more light than more action cameras, and it has a 40x optical zoom, which no actions cams have. It's got 4.5-hour battery life, too, even while shooting in 1080p at 60fps. For that, you're sacrificing being able to wear it on your head, but hand-held shooting will certainly be steadier and more comfortable.
The Everio comes in two flavors. The GZ-R10 will be available in March for $400, and the GZ-R70 will be available in April for $500. The R70 will have 32GB of build-in storage and a built-in LED light, where as the R10 will be always require an SD card.