It's Going to Be an Eight-Megapixel Christmas

If the rumours I'm hearing are correct, there will be at least six mobile phones featuring eight-megapixel cameras appearing in the second half of 2008.

The relentless megapixel "arms race" shows no sign of letting up and it leaves me wondering, "Why?"

My personal experiences suggest there's still a lot of work to be done in improving the quality of camera phones with five-megapixel sensors.

The jump to eight megapixels just makes this even more challenging. Resolution (pixel count) has little to do with picture quality. Colour and tone are more important, as is the competence of the person taking the picture. A decent lens and compression software help, too. In my opinion, there are several phones with 3.2-megapixel cameras that take far better pictures than some five-megapixel models.

Admittedly, if you have more pixels you can blow the image up to a larger size — but just how many people are going to create billboards from pictures taken on their phones or crop postage-stamp size pictures out of the original image?

So perhaps it's a case of the megapixel myth — consumers want the latest and greatest, and what better way to express this than via a bigger number? We've seen in the naming of phones for years. People assume that product xyz 900 is better than the xyz 600. Harvard professor, Gerry Zaltman supports this view in his extensive research and books.

Compact digital cameras seemed to stabilise at five megapixels for some time and there's a consensus among experts that six megapixels are enough for compact camera sensors. The big difference between mobile phones and digital cameras is that the mobile phone industry has shorter life cycles, larger portfolios and a relentless requirement to differentiate.

With five-megapixel devices such as Samsung's G600 and LG's KC 550 heading toward the high end of prepaid portfolios, and Nokia pushing its five-megapixel 6220 into the mid tier, how can manufacturers differentiate their flagship camera phone products? Easy – bang in an eight megapixel imaging unit and buyers immediately assume it must be better.

Undoubtedly distributors and retailers have encouraged phone manufacturers to go in this direction. Christmas sales are always about having a fresh product on offer. As people don't seem interested in new services like mobile TV, retailers are turning to the number of megapixels (or gigabytes in the case of music phones) to stimulate upgrade sales.

At some point people will realise the futility of ever-increasing megapixels and pay more attention to the quality of the image that camera phones deliver. In the meantime, we'll probably see strong sales of eight-megapixel camera phones when they hits the shops for Christmas and 10-megapixel devices are almost certain to emerge in 2009.

This entry was posted on June 11th, 2008 and is filed under Devices. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Posted By Ben Wood On June 11th, 2008


Comments
(There are no comments yet)
Leave a Comment

Hot News

Team Tweets

CCS Insight
Windows 10's Edge browser could need more than its home-field advantage to win users http://t.co/t4mfUd2kXz
Follow CCS Insight
Shaun Collins
RT @paolopescatore: BT 1Q 2015/16 results: Rev £4,278m (down 2%); £48m negative FX impact. Adjusted EBITDA £1,449m (up 1%). EPS of 6.7p (up…
Follow Shaun
Ben Wood
Holy crap! I appreciate the value of Top Gear but quarter of a billion!?! https://t.co/fMMdyibv0Y
Follow Ben
Martin Garner
#Windows10 launch party in London - demos from Raspberry Pi to Surface Hub. http://t.co/ZE5XbxlFaR
Follow Martin
Geoff Blaber
RT @oneplus: The #HYPE is real! Over 1,000,000 fans have reserved their #OnePlus2, in just 72 hours. http://t.co/7CBjiXrOgp http://t.co/tYA…
Follow Geoff
Nicholas McQuire
RT @CCSInsight: Money for Mobi will boost awareness of global managed mobility services, says @nickmcquire http://t.co/PoZXyXBlJB
Follow Nicholas
Arnaud Gagneux
RT @saritakAR: 4,800 Internet connected devices being added per min in 2015; @IDC forecasts 7,900 per min in 2020 @vernonxt #IoT http://t.c…
Follow Arnaud
Paolo Pescatore
Great to see/hear BT step up its marketing efforts for #BTSportEurope in the last week http://t.co/bclnv57YBL http://t.co/VnwZSqeI6u
Follow Paolo
Marina Koytcheva
AR/VR device market to top $4bn in 2018. Check out @CCSInsight's new forecast: http://t.co/TgWX9M8FNM http://t.co/S4h6J9j9Za
Follow Marina
Kester Mann
Encouraging results for Telefonica as revenue in home market stabilises in May and June - the first time since Dec 2009.
Follow Kester
Jasdeep Badyal
So 3 new handsets at #motolaunch. Underlines Lenovo's intent of using the Moto brand to target Samsung + others, esp. in developed markets.
Follow Jasdeep
George Jijiashvili
RT @CCSInsight: Nokia's Ozo hopes to inspire must-see VR content http://t.co/0DYZo6oYnD
Follow George
Rebecca Morley
RT @katietails: @HuaweiDevice Thanks so much - this is fab! :)
Follow Rebecca

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post
Fox and the Hound Browser Power Battle Resurfaces Almost 20 years ago to th... Read more
Blog Post
Nokia Makes a 360 The Company Enters the Virtual Reality Camera Market At a... Read more
Blog Post
Another Big Plus Will the OnePlus 2 Alter an Industry? Chinese smartphone ... Read more
More blog

Latest Company News

Blog Post
Augmented and Virtual Reality Devices to Become a $4 Billion-Plus Business in Three Years CCS Insight Releases First Forecast of These Rising Technolo... Read more
More news