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Will mobile phones kill digital camera manufacturers?

December 7, 2010

Earlier this fall I wrote an entry entitled, PC vs Mobile Devices, to address how mobile devices are making PCs less of a necessity and to encourage PC manufacturers to innovate so they can remain relevant.   However after returning from a recent vacation, where I did not take my digital camera out of the suitcase once (preferring to rely on the camera in my blackberry and my partner’s iphone), I realized that digital camera manufacturers may lose more market share more quickly than their PC manufacturing counterparts.  Certainly, serious photographers will continue to invest heavily in digital cameras and many will prefer to have a camera, but as mobile devices perfect their camera-technology the desire to carry two devices that can snap pictures will grow old.

This past October Blogote wrote why one should always pick a digital camera over the phone here.  The reasons are compelling, but mostly revolve around the fact digital cameras provide higher quality images.  As that difference in quality narrows (and it will – mark my words) digital camera manufacturers will find that they need to update their product to remain relevant and appealing to consumers.  Many camera manufacturers were slow to embrace digital technology and companies like Kodak nearly went the way of the dodo bird because of their lack of vision. 

Camera manufacturers (and their marketing teams) could take a hint from other media manufacturers and add features that allow your photos / videos quickly (and wirelessly) upload to your FB pages, twitter, and other multimedia tools.  On this trip, I preferred my blackberry over my camera because with one device I could quickly snap a photo, upload it to twitter and text it to friends.  With my Sony digital camera this process would be far more onerous. 

So my question to camera manufacturers like Sony, Olympus, and Cannon is what will your next generation of cameras do – other than increase my pixel count?  How will you make sharing my pictures from your device easier and faster?

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