Letting Some Of The Air Out Of Camera Phone Hype

Stories trashing camera phones are nothing new. Usually they come in one of two forms: (1) the quality sucks compared to a regular camera or (2) I don’t want to take pictures all the time. David Coursey over at ZDNet’s AnchorDesk is now trashing camera phones as well, but does raise some more interesting points that are worth talking about. First, he takes issue with the article from earlier this week saying that camera phones are catching on faster than DVDs, by saying the comparison isn’t fair. He points out that people buy a DVD player to buy a DVD player – but they buy a phone to be a phone first, and not a camera. It’s just that right now, so many phones are camera phones, and if it’s coming along with the package, most people don’t have a problem with that – so the numbers of camera phones are inflated because many people don’t use (or even know about!) the camera they have on their phone. He also points out that a house (generally speaking) only needs a single DVD player, but each person needs a mobile phone – so the numbers get inflated that way. He predicts that not too many people will actually use camera phones, and the ones who do will be in the 12-24 year old range. While his points on the adoption rate are valid – and the the hype may be a little strong, the mistake that he’s making is that he’s comparing camera phones to cameras. He’s thinking about how he would replace his camera with a camera phone. Instead, he should be thinking about additional things that a camera phone lets you do beyond what you could do with a regular camera. That is, it allows you to communicate in pictures, whether by picture message or by something like moblogging. The point is not just that it’s a camera, but that it’s a connected camera. Too many times, when a new technology comes along, people compare it to an old technology rather than realizing what new opportunities the new technology allows.

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