Canon was late to introduce a hybrid or mirrorless camera, but it was probably inevitable the firm would chose to revamp its three-year old APS-C sensor design to keep the body size to reasonably compact dimensions while at the same time offering good image quality. It doesn’t match the best sensors used by the Sony NEX hybrids by quite a margin in some instances but it outperforms the much smaller (by surface area) 1-inch type used in the Nikon 1 series.
Those cameras are particularly compact, as indeed are the series 1 lenses, but the choice of APS-C sensor format means Canon can compete on equal terms with Sony and Samsung with regard to size. It remains to be seen, however, if Canon can vie on sensor performance. Should they decide to move away from their older 0.5 micron process generation and adopt state-of-the-art fabrication, advanced pixel sharing architecture and column-parallel ADCs in their APS-C (and FF) cameras, there’s every chance Canon can.