Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Are Cell Phones the New Digicam?

There has been a lot of speculation over the past year that camera phones are set to take over the entry-level digital camera market, and even the standard “MP3” player. And there’s a big possibility of this happening…eventually.

Think about it: cell phone cameras are now touting 3 and higher megapixel resolutions, and the quality of photos taken with them are surprisingly quite good. One of our writers sent me some great, landscape photos he took with a Sony Ericsson camera phone, and I was amazed at the quality. Had he not told me the pics were shot with a camera phone, I’d never have guessed. Camera-related functions are also getting more sophisticated: I’ve seen everything from flash, to exposure compensation, and even self-portrait assisting mirrors on the back of mobiles. But would I forego my point-and-shoot digital camera for a camera phone just yet? No way!

Don’t get me wrong: I like the thought of only having to carry around one device that “does it all”. But on the same token, does this device become a jack of all trades, master of none? And what if I lose it? The thought of all my pix, music, e-mails, text messages, and address book being gone at one swipe of a thief is frightening.

I use my cell phone for voice calls, and the occasional text message. That’s it. It has camera capabilities, but I can’t remember the last time I took a photo using it, although I do observe many doing just that at trade shows or out and about on the street. Checking my e-mails on a portable messaging device is great, but I’d never want to forego being able to do the same on the PC at work or home. The same goes for surfing the Web. And I like that I can put MP3s on my cell phone and play them back using headphones; yet any time I want music on the go, I load up my dedicated MP3 player.

Eventually, people may become used to performing all of these functions solely on one, multi-functional, device. But until the “super-duper” smart phone hits the Canadian market (and at a reasonable price!), we’ll be seeing entry-level digital cameras and MP3 players for years and years to come.

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