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Camera Phones Hot, Cameras Not

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moto phoneQuick – which is the number one digital camera maker in the world? If you guessed Cannon, Pentax, Olympus or any of the usual suspects, well you are wrong. According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, 257 million camera phones were shipped worldwide 2004. That’s a 200% jump from 2003 when 84 million camera phones were sold. In 2004, 68 million digital still cameras were sold up from 49 million in 2003. Put another way, in 2004 the sales of camera phones were four times the total digital still camera shipments.

Nokia had 18 percent of the camera phone sales, followed closely by Motorola at 17 percent, and Samsung in third position at 13 percent. Clear sign, hard times are ahead for digital camera phones. Chris Ambrosio, Director of Strategy Analytics’ Global Wireless Practice points out that, “The digital still camera market is running out of steam. Vendors such as Kodak, Canon and Fuji will find growth harder to achieve in 2006. Camera phones will eventually capture 15 percent of the low-end digital still camera market by 2010, while attempts to sell households in developed markets a second or third device will be restricted by the ubiquity of multi-megapixel camera phones.” Strategy Analytics says that while most of us will be getting VGA phones, but the handset makers are going to indulge in “pixel wars” and phone makers will use pixel counts as a differentiator in higher product tiers.

The analyst firm predicts that removable memory will be standard issue on camera phones by the end of 2007 but the wireless connectivity landscape for camera phones (e.g. USB, WLAN / WiFi, Infra-red, Bluetooth, etc.) will be fragmented, requiring printer, and other ecosystem, players to support a wide range of solutions based on regional market dynamics. To learn more about the future of the cellphones in the US, check out my Business 2.0 column, Waiting for Cool Phones.

9 Responses to “Camera Phones Hot, Cameras Not”

  1. The #1 phone for each and every one of the major carriers is a camera phone. Seven of the top 10 phones (in October) were camera phones. Because camera phones are that popular? Or just because the popular phones happen to have cameras in them?

    Wirefly’s top sellers:
    1. Motorola RAZR V3 (Camera Phone)
    2. Motorola E815 (Video and Camera Phone)
    3. Samsung PM-A740 (Camera Phone)
    4. Motorola V330 (Video and Camera Phone)
    5. Audiovox 8910 (Camera Phone)
    6. Motorola V220 (Camera Phone)
    7. Motorola i850 (Camera Phone)
    8. Motorola i710
    9. Motorola V188
    10. Motorola V260

  2. Camera Phones will not topple the profits of digital cameras for 2005 , a serious camera buyer is still not going to look for a digital camera phone over a regular digital camera since the megapixels seldom go over 3 mb and it offers very poor handling.

  3. Charlie Sierra

    Two points:

    1) Higher pixel counts are meaningless without a material improvement in the reverse link, which is an 07-08 event.

    2) Removable memory cards allow the user to bypass the carrier as gatekeeper.

    Much like the delay in WiFi-Cell combo phones the carriers have (intentionally?) positioned themselves are the wrong side and are going to fall really hard.

  4. Well I bought a phone with a camera because it was avialable.i have never used the crap camera that is on my phone. My point is most poeple buy phones, and cameras with phones in them..
    Atleast i hope i am right on this one.. ;-)

  5. It doesn’t matter how many megapixels these camera phones have. The bottom line is that they have mostly shitty lenses so the higher MP the higher you magnify the crap. If one of these manufacturers can pack in a nice lens in a cell phone I’ll buy it. With such small form factors though I have my doubts.