Picture This: Most Mobile Phones Now Have Cameras

Camera phones accounted for about two-thirds of all mobile phone sales in the third quarter, according to a market study.
Two-thirds of all mobile phones shipped worldwide in the third quarter of 2004 were cameraphones, according ot a market study released Thursday by market research firm Canalys.

In addition, about 56 percent of all phones sold in the first nine months of the year were cameraphones, according to the study. Of those cameraphones, Nokia was the market leader with 48 percent followed by Sony Ericsson with 12 percent and Samsung with nine percent. Motorola and Siemens were in fourth and fifth place in sales of cameraphones, according to the study.

While the ability to take still photos with phones has exploded in the last year, other types of multimedia over phones has not.

"There has been a huge rise in cameraphone shipments, but multimedia messaging usage has not exploded in the same way," Chris Jones, a Canalys director and senior analyst, said in a statement. He also noted that consumers seem hesitant to pay to transmit the photos and, instead, tend to use the photos for wallpaper and screen savers.

"Operators need to keep a close eye on usage trends for signs of service revenue being eroded by behavioral changes prompted by technology advances in the hardware," Jones said.

Looking ahead, the study predicted that 3G services -- and sales of the phones that access those faster services -- will start to ramp up in the fourth quarter of the year and in 2005. But that won't occur quickly, Jones said.

"We expect 3G handset shipments will increase substantially in Q4 and beyond, but it will take a while to win consumers over and operators should not count on rapid uptake of the more advanced services," said Jones.

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