« Mossberg on Danger | Main | This Is Just Too Strange »

Digital Cameras or Camera Phones?

infoSync is running an article on Strategy Analytics' prediction that digital cameras will lose ground to camera-equipped cellular phones:

Strategy Analytics today released a new Market Forecast report entitled "Strategic Perspectives on Cellular Camera Phones." The report notes that 16 million camera phones will be sold worldwide in 2002, growing strongly to 147 million in 2007. By comparison, although 22 million digital still cameras will be sold worldwide in 2002, their slower growth rate of 34% will result in only 95 million sales in 2007.

In other words, digital cameras for the man in the street may face extinction in not too many years, since cameras integrated in mobile phones will become commonplace. Image quality will increase over the years, and when it meets the needs of the average consumers, chances are that only professionals and photo enthusiasts will turn to dedicated camera devices if mobile phones can deliver what Joe Consumer needs.

I'm not in Strategy Analytics' camp on this one. Will camea-equipped phones be popular? Yes. Will they necessarily displace dedicated digital cameras? No. I believe that camera-phones will serve a different market, providing low-quality photos with the instant gratification of quick posting on the Web. They will also serve as springboards for a variety of interesting services: it's easy to imagine a mobile, near-real-time version of Hot or Not, or a sort of LastMinute.com of matchmaking services for people already out and about but without a companion (just to name two). But it will be some time before the digital cameras in phones will approach the quality of today's dedicated cameras, and while that is happening, the quality of dedicated cameras will be rising dramatically (thanks especially to Foveon).

Post a comment