The camera phone market is skyrocketing with worldwide annual shipments up more than 200 percent in 2004, according to In-Stat/MDR. The rapid success is being fueled by manufacturers offering camera features in most new models, and improving image quality, the research firm reports.
"The devices have gone mainstream in less than 4 years," says In-Stat/MDR analyst Neil Strother. "Now, one needs to look hard to find a handset that doesn't feature an embedded camera."
Despite the popularity of the picture phones, the hoped-for economic boost from photo sharing, storage, and related applications has yet to take hold for many carriers. Carriers need to reduce the prices for these services to encourage more consumers to use them, Mr. Strother says.
In-Stat/MDR has also found the following:
Consumers have adopted camera phones rather quickly, with U.S. penetration at about 14 percent, and growing.
Photo quality, though improving, needs to move beyond the VGA level rather quickly in order to stimulate greater photo taking.
Improved interoperability is necessary to allow photo sharing among U.S. consumers who use different carriers.
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