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Saying that camera-enabled mobile phones are a popular technological gadget will surprise almost nobody these days, but market research firm Strategy Analytics is putting some numbers behind that perception in its latest evaluation of the global mobile phone marketplace, forecasting that the number of cameraphone owners will exceed one billion people by the end of 2007. And by 2011, one third of the global population will own a cameraphone.
“The camera phone market is now entering its third phase where the focus will move from Megapixel and basic image enablement to the quality of the imaging experience,” said David Kerr, VP for the Global Wireless Practice, said in a statement.
The report notes that CCD sensors continue to lose market share to CMOS-based vendors, but that sales of comparatively low-resolution (e.g., VGA) camera phones in emerging markets will continue to drive sales, even as replacement phones with camera resolutions over one megapixel dominate mature markets. “In North America, and Western Europe, one megapixel devices are now table stakes, while niche devices with five megapixels or more will rise to over 2 percent of sales this year,” continued Kerr. “Features such as zoom, flash and autofocus will become critical differentiators in 2008 and beyond.”
Strategy Analytics forecasts that the global cameraphone market will grow to over $120 billion by 2011; however, during that time, VGA camera phones will fall from 38 percent of the market to under 7 percent, as sensor resolution increases and part costs decline.