Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Photo Phones Hurting Cameras

Last week, I blogged about ABI Research's prediction that low-end camera phones would take market share away from low-end standalone digital cameras in the next two years.

The RED HERRING takes the story a step further by getting the thoughts of Forrester analyst Charles Golvin on the subject.

Golvin agrees that camera phone will threaten the low-end digital camera market, but believes it will take longer than two years. He points out that low-end cameras are currently two megapixels and that there are very few camera phones of this type on the market. "They’re very high-end devices for phones. Most of the camera phones in the market today are much lower resolution than low-end digital cameras," Golvin said.

"Even if the megapixels improve, the optics just aren’t nearly as good as equivalent-resolution digital cameras. Most phones don’t have flash, or not as good-quality flash, so they just don’t do as good a job in low-light conditions," he added

Golvin claims "only one phone on the market could be considered a digital camera replacement. That’s the two-megapixel Nokia N-90 with the Carl Zeiss lens." Of course it costs more than a standalone with five or six megapixels. "Its Nokia’s highest-end device," remarked Golvin.

The article notes both ABI and Golvin believe the high-end camera market is still safe. ABI's Ken Hyers commented that the "success of camera phones will gradually push the digital camera sector to focus on high-end products."