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.