Taking The Camera Out Of The Camera Phone

from the backwards-thinking... dept

We’ve had a lot of stories in the last six months or so about shortsighted companies deciding to simply ban camera phones outright. In the past, I wondered if such rules would have an impact on mobile phone sales, but I didn’t expect the carriers to jump on this topic so quickly. Put me in the same surprised boat as Alan Reiter to hear that carriers are convincing mobile phone handset makers to offer multiple versions of their phones: one with a camera and the other without. I really thought that with only a few companies overreacting and missing the point about camera phones, it would blow over, and a decade from now we’d be laughing at silly companies banning camera phones. At this rate, that might not be true. This is going to be a huge waste of money. Designing a new phone will take some money, and will create a phone that offers less value to the customer (and less opportunity for revenue for the carrier). However as camera phones begin to find more acceptance in the marketplace, people are going to get angry when their boss tells them the expensive phone they just bought can’t be brought into the office. They’re not going to want to buy the version without the camera if part of the reason they’re upgrading is for the camera in the first place. This is a (costly) over reaction to a technology that will do nothing to stop the real problem (theft of corporate secrets or invasion of privacy), but will cost lots of money and anger many people.

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Comments on “Taking The Camera Out Of The Camera Phone”

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Michael S. (user link) says:

the other reason non cam versions are good

you are leaving out an important amjor customer of the cellular providers, the government! You can’t have a camera in a gov’t facility, imagine you’re sprint and want to push your most expensive phoe to the Dept. of Defense but they say they will only take the cheap phones b/c of the cams now say the co can offer cam-less version of the most expensive phone….
anyway i really enjoy the site, just wanted to put in my 2 cents

Director Mitch (user link) says:

Re: Options Have Been Done

Cellphone after-market attachments have been an option in Japan for three years or so – and in fact some of the first camera phones were add-on modules, Ericson had an add-on camera as one of its first offerings in this space, etc., so I don’t see the big deal. When at work, leave the attachment at or in car. After work, slap it on and you’re in business.

OldYeller says:

Same Old, Same Old...

The reality is that policies will always trail capabilities. My firm’s buying Zire PDAs since they have a nice set of features for the price, and they come with embedded cameras too.

So now let’s ban cell phones AND PDA’s with cameras, and a year from now we’ll add in tablet PCs that embed them for videoconferencing, etc., etc. – even as I walk in the door with a slim profile digital camera and snap away, and even as I Xerox confidential reports and walk out the door with paper.

If you don’t approach this through trying to orient peoples values around a code of behavior, it’s ultimately a pointless exercise.

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