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

(There are no comments yet)
Leave a Comment

Hot News

Team Tweets

CCS Insight
Mobile's now an essential part of shopping on Black Friday, says @IBMWatson
Follow CCS Insight
Shaun Collins
RT @George_CCS: Free VR headsets all around this holiday season! This one from @EE for #blackfriday #wearables #cardboard…
Follow Shaun
Ben Wood
RT @George_CCS: Free VR headsets all around this holiday season! This one from @EE for #blackfriday #wearables #cardboard…
Follow Ben
Martin Garner
20%: the battery life left on a @dell #XPS13 on landing at SFO from Heathrow, having spent much of the flight using Excel. Awesome.
Follow Martin
Geoff Blaber
Intriguing. Google applying to FCC for a license to test in 28Ghz and 31Ghz bands
Follow Geoff
Nicholas McQuire
Love Network Rail's mobility strategy & journey> #NetworkRail rolls out 22k iPhones & iPads, en route to wearables
Follow Nicholas
Paolo Pescatore
Huge loss to @canalplus. Not only loosing subs but key content rights as well. Massive coup for Altice, #4K too!
Follow Paolo
Marina Koytcheva
And now BBC's predictions for 2035: even bolder than @CCSinsight 's? :)
Follow Marina
Kester Mann
Free overtook Bouygues in 3Q15 based on total subs. Incredible market impact given launch was less than 4 years ago!
Follow Kester
Jasdeep Badyal
RT @benwood: Nice to see @FT's @DanielThomasLDN picking up @CCSInsight predictions in this morning's paper! #ccspredicts…
Follow Jasdeep
George Jijiashvili
Following successful 'Free Power Bar' promotion, @EE is giving away VR headsets to increase footfall #wearables
Follow George
Rebecca Morley
CCS’s yearly forecast sees telecoms mergers and rise of wearables -
Follow Rebecca
Katie Taylor
RT @motherboard: Tomorrow's drug lords will be dealing cranial implants:
Follow Katie

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post
Watson Says It's Mobile Black Friday In the US, One Third of E-Commerce Sales Will Come from Mobi... Read more
Blog Post
The Leisure Class of Wearables The Travel Industry and Smart Bands: A Perfect Fit German... Read more
Blog Post
Loon Launch Google's Big Float The concept of floating base stations ... Read more
More blog