Digital cameras to die, claims phone retailer

Europe's biggest mobile phone retailer, Carphone Warehouse, claims that sales of camera phones will eventually overtake digital cameras as consumers opt for converged handheld devices rather than standalone cameras.

According to the company, one billion camera phones will be sold worldwide by 2010, with 84 percent of mobile phones currently sold in the U.K. already being equipped with cameras. "There is high consumer demand for gadget convergence--one all-purpose device to replace cameras, MP3 players and PDAs," said Andrew Harrison, U.K. CEO at Carphone Warehouse. "The next stage in the evolution of the mobile phone is taking the mobile device beyond talking and texting to fulfill this demand."

However, camera manufacturers have not admitted defeat: "Mobile phone cameras still suffer from slow image processing, high shutter lag between photos and poor zoom. Camera phones are likely to get even higher megapixel counts than today, but they will never be able to cram in the same lens technology as digital cameras feature," said Theo Georghiades, product manager for digital cameras at Fujifilm. "If anything, I think mobile phones with high megapixel counts could mean more sales for digital camera manufacturers. As people get more used to taking photos, many will upgrade to a camera offering more quality shots."

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