Offshore: Don't take this wrong way... but your LX3 is a Panasonic... as is the D-Lux 4. It is NOT a Leitz lens. It is a lens built to Leica specs and with Leica supervision. I'm not saying it's a bad lens... but if there is anything in the world of cameras that rings loud and clear, it's that good glass is good glass and good glass NEVER EVER comes cheap.
Another thing, your lens is NOT 24mm. it is a 5.1mm - 12.8mm - because of the tiny sensor, it yields a crop equaling 24mm. So, it's a double hit here. You're talking a real piece of glass, a larger piece of glass and completely made by Leica. That's nothing to scoff at.
The X1 (if all of this is true) is 24mm equaling a crop of 35mm. If in fact it is a 1:6 crop factor, this means many less pixel per centimeter than your LX3. Hence, larger pixels provide smoother rendering of colors etc.
From appearances and a hunch, the X1 is going to rely heavily on its feel to the hands and it's emotional appeal. It's often said, if you feel good about the instrument you're using you'll produce better results. I truly believe (if this camera is what we think it is) this will be the case.
With all due respect to users of the D-Lux 4 and the LX3 and even the D-Lux 3... (I've owned several) in the end, they still fall short. Yes they take terrific images. But do my 5 year-old Digilux 2(s). Actually, in many ways, I feel the Digilux 2 takes better images and is BY FAR, a much nicer camera in the hands.
Now, "in the hands" may not mean much to you. I think, and I guess Leica is banking on it, there are a lot of people who feel "in the hands" is VERY important. A lot of them own M8s. A whole lot more would like to own M8s.... but the financial reach is rather lengthy.
No, Leica may have figured out that while they have to be Leica, they have to have a range of products that span a part of the market that is potentially Leica users AND find a range that will grow NEW Leica users. The Pana/Leicas don't do that. I think they give Leica a presence and help with brand visibility.... but they don't tell the Leica story. They don't carry the Leica heritage or continue the Leica culture.
I realize this may be all to esoteric and not meaningful to some... but again, I think Leica is banking on those that do feel it's important. In many ways, it's not unlike Apple's philosophy. There are zillions of people that don't feel the need to drink Apples' kool-aid. And while there are many PC owners who are curious or dare I say "dream of owning an Apple, most Apple ownders wouldn't dream of going the other way. They get it. They understand. I think the Japanese word is "otaku".... it's when "something" is shared by a smaller group of people who are obsessed with that "something." When something has "otaku" the people who care will tell everyone they know.... they will pay dearly... they will pursue it relentless. Why? Because to the people who love that product, deeply care about that product. They believe. And they will tell others who care. Leica has "otaku." They don't need to sell everyone a camera. They only have to sell those who care about the product. And those people will carry their message to others who care.
It's not about a large market segment. It is not about average products for average people. It's doing something well for your segment of the market and those who care.
If a company wants to be noticed in today's marketplace, they need to do something remarkable. Safe doesn't cut it. Safe doesn't get anyone's attention. Leica (possibly) has done something remarkable. They'll speak to the people who care (hence the 09/09/09 broadcast) and the people who care will carry the message for them.