Camera Phones to Steal Low-End Digital Camera Market
Aug 11, 2005
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Within 2 years, low-end camera phones will take much of the market share now held by low-end standalone digital cameras, according to research firm ABI Research.

Kenneth Hyers, ABI's principal analyst of global wireless operator research, says that within the next 2 years, the quality of a mobile phone camera will be such that people won't need low-end standalone digital cameras. "This will dramatically impact camera sales," he notes.

Within a short period, says Mr. Hyers, the typical 1.3 megapixel camera phone will be ubiquitous, and 5 megapixel models will not be uncommon.

"We are in the midst of a megapixel race," he adds, "and by early 2006, 1.3 megapixel models will outsell VGA camera phones. In the following years, 2-, 3- and 4-megapixel devices will replace the lower specification models." At the higher end of the range, the rest of the camera phone components grow in importance, including software, zoom, and lens quality.

Mr. Hyers believes that the market will organize itself in tiers of quality. "Certain manufacturers, such as Motorola, are targeting the low end of the market, which is fine for getting enough inexpensive devices out there," he notes. "But you've also got to have some higher-end models with greater resolution and better lenses, such as models being produced by Sony Ericcson, Samsung, and Nokia, which establish them in consumers' minds as makers of prestige, high-quality imaging devices."

ABI says that other requirements for success include adequate storage capabilities, MMS interoperability among carriers (now in place throughout Europe and is becoming standardized in North America), and improved imaging and picture-management software.

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