But Does Anyone Want A Camera Phone?

from the if-you-build-it... dept

There seem to be two opinions when it comes to camera phones: either people think they're going to be the greatest thing since the first internet browser or they're a silly waste-of-time trinket that's only going to make mobile phones (that don't work all that well already) more expensive. As with any such situation where there are extreme viewpoints, it often helps to have someone take a bit more of an objective look at what's really happening in the camera phone space. The summary seems to be that they're coming, no matter what. What people aren't quite as sure about is whether or not people want them. In fact, in areas where camera phones are being offered, there's really not much evidence that they're using them all that much. Also, while much of the push for camera phones has focused on how it will help the carriers by driving more wireless data usage, some providers have said they've seen no evidence to support that. Does this mean the whole camera phone concept is set to come crashing down before it's really begun? It's certainly possible. As with so much in the wireless space, the ridiculous level of hype has a tendency to do more damage than help. However, there are a few reasons why camera phones may work out after all. First off, people aren't buying camera phones for the camera. They're buying them for the phone. The camera just comes along with it. As such, handset makers and wireless carriers don't have to be nearly as concerned about the success of camera phones early on. It's almost a "stealth" way of seeding the market (if you can call this stealth). Next, whether or not users think they'll use camera phones isn't so much of an issue compared to whether or not they actually will use camera phones - and that will depend on the applications. People are going to realize that there are an awful lot of connected cameras out there - and that presents an opportunity. It's not the fact that everyone will have a camera in their hands, but the fact that those cameras are connected that will drive people to start creating applications that take advantage of that - whether for productivity, for safety or for fun. It's those applications that will make the camera phone worth while. I doubt that it will happen nearly as fast as most folks in the industry would like, but I certainly don't think it's the fad that some columnists/analysts are predicting will quickly go away.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Tony Lawrence, May 11th, 2004 @ 3:50am

    Privacy concerns

    One problem I've already seen is banning of cell phones in areas where people are concerned about privacy - since no one wants to determine if a phone does or doesn't have a camera, they just ban all cell phones.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Chris O'Donnell, May 11th, 2004 @ 5:53am

    No Subject Given

    There are many unresolved social issues too. If everybody has a camera phone then we are all esentially under 24 hour surveillance. I'm not sure that it is a good thing overall, even though there are spefific times when it will end up being a very good thing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    AMetamorphosis, May 11th, 2004 @ 6:53am

    Big Brother has been watching for a long time ....


    waaaaahhhhhhhaaaaaa .....

    ( maniacal laughter )

    Face it Chris, we are ALREADY under 24 hour surveillance ! As it stands now, we are unwittingly video taped coming & going out of minit markets, gas stations, your employers building, down major routes of traffic, etc. Does anybody have some reliable figures on how many times a day we are actually under surveillance WITHOUT giving informed consent ?

    A camera phone enabled society won't make much of a difference ...

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    NOBODY, May 11th, 2004 @ 7:05am

    Re: Big Brother has been watching for a long time

    Get a grip. If there's no expectation of privacy, you don't get any. In fact, people can legally tape you walking down the street and falling on your face. If that piece of video ends up on america's funniest dipshit videos and they win a million dollars, you don't get a red cent, because there was no expectation of privacy. Only problem with this whole expectation of privacy issue that I have is, what happens when people expect less privacy?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Phibian, May 11th, 2004 @ 7:23am

    No Subject Given

    Having just been to Japan (where *everyone* has a camera phone, and maybe more than one "real" digital camera too) - I think that camera phones here are just a matter of time, although probably not to the same degree.

    Even tiny kids had their own camera phone, which they used to take pictures and videos of their friends and whatever was going on around them. And it wasn't that big a deal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    AMetamorphosis, May 11th, 2004 @ 7:35am

    Re: Big Brother has been watching for a long time


    My point exactly.
    We don't have any expectation of privacy currently so what difference does a cell phone camera enabled society make ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2004 @ 8:49am

    No Subject Given

    What's your obsession with Camera Phones Mike? It seems you have a camera phoen story every day or two, and nothing new. I just don't get all the hub bub you posess with camera phones.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Chris, May 11th, 2004 @ 9:07am

    No Subject Given

    The difference as I see it (and I admit it may not end up being a real difference) is that the surveillance we are under today (atm machines, security cameras, etc) are not aimed at anybody personally. The human intelligence factor of tens of millions of people with connected cameras 24 X 7 is what I find concerning.

    However, since I probably can't stop it I really needto get working on +4 suit of invisibility :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    AMetamorphosis, May 11th, 2004 @ 9:19am

    Re: No Subject Given


    Are you taking pre IPO $$$ for that invention ?

    Patent ...
    Patent ...
    Patent ...

    :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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