A new report from Strategy Analytics claims that by the end of this year more than 1 billion people will own a cell phone with a build-in digital camera. The firm also estimates that this will increase to one third of the global population by 2011.
"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."
I've been part of that group for a couple of years now. First with my Sony Ericsson T610 and now with the HTC S710 which I reviewed a week ago.