updated 11:10 am EST, Wed February 24, 2010
Cellphone cams to reach over 5MP average by 2013
Cellphone cameras are on the verge of taking away significant sales of dedicated cameras for the first time, iSuppli said in a new estimate today. While the average camera on a phone had just 2.1 megapixels last year, that number is expected to more than double to 5.7 megapixels by 2013 and come close enough to full-size cameras that it cannibalizes entry-level still cameras. While resolution won't be the only factor, the analysts expect that new sensors, processing, flashes and other techniques will wipe out most of the existing quality gap.
Most of the transition is expected to start with Asian and European phones, where the audience is already more receptive to taking photos with a phone, but should eventually spread to other areas.
An average dedicated camera's resolution should also go up, from 7.6 megapixels last year to 13.9 megapixels by 2013, but this figure is already being challenged by the high end of the phone market. Phones like the Samsung Pixon12 and Sony Ericsson Satio already reach 12 megapixels and should become more commonplace as the cost goes down and image quality improves.
Image quality is poised to be an important factor this year even with relatively conservative companies like Apple, whose next iPhone may carry a 5-megapixel camera with flash.