Converged devices that enable mobile workers to snap and share digital images might seem like expensive toys now. But according to recent research from In-Stat/MDR, the market for camera phones is set to skyrocket in the near future. And if mobile technology has taught us anything, it’s that these will somehow, someway make it into the enterprise. Just as the advent of PDAs ushered in an influx of new devices to corporations all over the world—with a resultant strain on IT resources—camera phones are sure to start popping up soon.
Shipments of mobile handsets with integrated cameras are expected to grow at a rate of 53.2 percent annually through 2007, In-Stat predicts in a new report entitled “Market for Smartphones and Camera Phones Heats Up.” The devices will be “ubiquitous,” according to the research firm. During 2002, camera phone shipments totaled 18.2 million units, but during the second quarter of 2003 alone, 7.8 million units were shipped.
By 2008, the report foresees, there will be little to distinguish smartphones from camera phones, and new handsets will come equipped with built-in cameras. However, the expansion of the camera phone market still faces significant challenges. These devices are hampered by low-resolution image sensors, small onboard memory for storing photos and short battery life. Privacy fears and the ability to share photos across wireless networks are also issues, according to Neil Strother, an In-Stat/MDR senior analyst.