It seems impossible to find a cell phone that doesn’t take photos these days. The built-in cameras in the cell phones are getting better and better. The resolution has evolved from VGA (640×480) resolution just a few years ago to the 5, 8 megapixel found in some high end phones. But is the digital evolution powerful enough to endanger the digital camera species, as this article claims?

With the integration of phone and camera, people can share photos instantly in many different ways: MMS, email, and social networks. With most digital cameras, people have to upload them to a computer first before they can share the photos. People also tend to have their cell phones with them all the time. The same cannot be said for their standalone digital cameras. Do all of the above spell doom for the standalone digital cameras?

Perhaps not.

First of all, not all people want devices that can do anything but do nothing particularly well. To put multiple functions together in one device, compromises need to be made for cost, form factor, marketing reasons. People want smaller cell phones. So it is impractical or near-impossible to add optical zoom or optical stabilization to the built-in cameras without making a bulky device. Electronics can be made smaller by squeezing more transistors into integrated circuit chips but optics do not scale quite well. This is dictated by fundamental physics principles.

Secondly, not all people are casual shooters. Many people want not only better image quality but also capturing images that are difficult to capture with the cameras on the cell phone. Camera phones fail miserably in those aspects. The examples are plenty, just try to shoot your kids running around on the soccer field using your cell phone. Currently the DSLR market still is expanding and it seems to be expanding faster than digital compact cameras. The latter is where the erosion of the market share is likely to happen due to camera phones.

Finally, it is more likely for devices to co-exist rather than one killing off another. People who have netbook most likely have another laptop or desktop computer, although they can do mostly what they want on either of the devices. When given choices, people can select the most appropriate device to get the job done.

Source: Yahoo Finance

Posted in: Technology on August 15th, 2010. Trackback URI

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