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Financial Times report: Smartphone manufacturers focus on cameras to boost sales

Wednesday, October 5th 2016

The Financial Times published a report today by Stephen Pritchard in its Connected Business series describing some of the key trends in smartphone camera technology and its influence on smartphone brands’ sales. The full article may be found here. Selected excerpts may be found below.

Smartphones have made personal photography ubiquitous. In the 1990s, the number of pictures taken on film stood at about 80bn images a year, notes Paul Lee, a partner in Deloitte’s technology, media and telecommunications practice. The number of images taken on digital cameras and smartphones has long since surpassed that figure. The growth is partly driven by rapid improvements in camera phone technology.

“Smartphones have become a direct substitute for digital compact cameras; camera sales have declined rapidly in recent years,” says Peter Becker-Pennrich, head of Vodafone’s handsets range. “Smartphone camera quality improvements have been achieved through better and bigger sensors, high-quality lenses, image stabilisation, fast and sophisticated image processing, and fun features like filters,” he says.

Annette Zimmermann at industry research company Gartner says: “The camera is one of the key uses for a smartphone, and vendors put a lot of effort into it to keep people interested [in new phones]. People expect to use their phones to take high-quality pictures.”

Ms Zimmermann sees camera manufacturers adding dual-lens cameras, which work better in low light, and even 360-degree cameras at the more expensive end of the market.