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Mobile Phone Users Say 'Smile For The Camera'

Consumers are expected to buy a half billion camera-phones this year, which amounts to 2 out of every 3 mobile phones purchased, a research firm said.

The latest forecast from Future Image Inc. means that 5 out of every 6 digital cameras sold this year would be embedded in phones.

The buying spree is expected to continue at least through 2009, when camera-phone sales are expected to rise to 900 million units, or 90 percent of the 1 billion mobile phones projected to be sold that year, the research firm said in a statement.

“The explosive growth in personal network-connected image capture devices is a fundamental shift, comparable for instance to the rapid spread of PCs in the 90’s -- but on a much larger scale” Alexis Gerard, president of Future Image, said.

Consumer demand for digital photography has spawned numerous secondary markets, such as desktop software for photo editing and organizing, photo-sharing services, such as those offered by Web portals Yahoo Inc. and America Online Inc.; and photo-quality printing through the Web and from home printers.

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