Another Clueless Analyst On Camera Phones

from the analyze-this dept

Thanks to Alan Reiter for outing yet another clueless analyst saying that camera phones are just a fad. How do these people get jobs as analysts? Once again, as all the camera phone naysayers seem to do, Avi Greengart from Jupiter compares camera phones to regular cameras and points out that the resolution isn't as good. As Reiter points out, the resolution is getting better very quickly (and this follows the classic disruptive technology trend lines). However, from my standpoint that's not even an important point. The problem is focusing on this being a camera and not (as is the case) a connected camera that you always have with you. It's the two other parts (connected, always with you) that makes a camera phone an entirely different beast than a camera. Suddenly, it allows people to do things entirely unlike a regular camera - and that's where the real benefits will appear. Already, we're seeing simple applications like the ability to use a camera phone as a barcode reader to get more info about a product, and news organizations are letting people upload "on the spot" photos of breaking news stories. This isn't about "resolution". Update: And, then, there's John Dvorak's latest column (found at Engadget) suggesting that camera phones "should all be confiscated immediately and crushed by a steamroller in a public square." Way to show how you understand the power of new technology. Who let the Luddites in?
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  1. identicon
    Director Mitch, 6 Apr 2004 @ 5:56pm

    They Need to Get Out More

    These analysts need to get out more as well as look at the history of the digital still camera (DSC), which surpassed film cameras in volume last year. The first DSCs had really poor quality - barely better than toys. Add a learning curve, customer demand and Moore's law and you have great, low cost DSCs on the market today. Same thing is happening to camera phones. Here a few of the camera phone trends:

    - 1.3 Megapixel camera phones will be the dominant resolution by numbers sold by the 4Q of this year. In fact, ALL new camera phones by the majors going into production use at LEAST 1.3 megapixels. The only phones with lower resolution are for secondary markets and by the lower tier cellphone manufacturers.

    - 2 Megapixel camera phones are already hot items in Japan. Quality on these things is GREAT. The screen swivels back and around so it is pretty close to handling a "real" DSC.

    - Market data has worldwide penetration of cameras in cellphones at 25% this year and 33% next year, and it would probably be higher if the supply chain could be managed. Individual cellphone vendors - think the top brands - plan to have as many as 2/3 of the phones they produce to have cameras by the end of this year with no plans to back off that number in 2005, 2006, fact it will go up.

    - The carriers (Sprint, Verizon, etc.) love them since it raises ARPU - average revenue per user - so are going to eventually give the camera away for free anyway to make more in the monthly statements, which is already pretty much the case in Japan and Korea.

    A fad? Just like cellphones themselves are a fad, I guess.

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