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  • Wireless Internet & Mobile Computing

    I have been analyzing wireless communications for 31 years. I am president of Wireless Internet & Mobile Computing, a pioneering consulting firm that helps create new and enhance existing wireless data businesses in the United States and abroad.

    I write a weekly column for about the wireless and wired Internet as well as writing a mobile blog and producing videos.

    Previously, I created the world's first wireless data newsletter, wireless data conference, cellular conference and FM radio subcarrier newsletter. I was instrumental in creating and developing the world's first cellular magazine.

    I also helped create and run the first association in the U.S. for the paging and mobile telephone industries.

    Phone: 1-301-715-3678

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    « Camera phones threaten Kodak's disposable camera business | Main | Siemens introduces CFX65 VGA camera phone, "flashlight" »

    Thursday, June 17, 2004



    There are two ignored parts to the cellphone-camera-quality question. First off, it doesn't matter what kind of features your cellphone-camera or super-duper Nikon have, if you don't know how to take a photo. IMHO, skill can overcome a lot of technical handicaps. Woe to the guy who thinks an extra thousand dropped at the camera store means he becomes automatically endowed with the techniques of Ansel Adams.

    Secondly, one overlooked facet of the problem is that cellphone displays/viewfinders aren't up to the job. When I bought my phone, a 4096-color display was pretty neat, never mind that I can barely tell where the horizon is when I'm taking a picture of a sunset. And even now, it seems to me that one of the first things a manufacturer does to cut costs is to install a display with lower resolution. I'm underwhelmed by the adequacy of the current crop of 65K-color resolution screens.

    I, for one, would be very happy with the equivalent of a pinhole camera on my phone - infinite focus and depth-of-field, and with a good enough display, very predictable response to light conditions. No flash, no zoom, maybe adjustments to the length of the exposure. The folks who want more probably need to buy a dedicated camera.

    Håkon Styri

    It would be nice to know what kind of OTUC they've used in the test. Both lens and film quality varies a lot.

    Likewise, there's no such thing as generic 2 MB and 3 MB digital camera.

    My main issues with phone cameras are battery capacity, memory size and speed. Image quality comes close to speed, but image quality doesn't matter if you've drained the battery or filled up the memory.

    It's also important to remember that the camera units used for the camera phones can be used for compact cameras as well. They certainly will be used if they're better and cheaper.


    I don't believe.

    I've received numerous cameraphone pictures from friends in my email.

    Honestly, they look like crap. They're out of focus, there isnt enough light and the images have a lot of noise and have been been overly softened to compensate.

    Meanwhile, I've seen decent pictures from disposable cameras. At least they have decent resolution and a decent flash.

    Next time you want a report, I'll do one for you for half price.


    What I don't understand is how a 2 MP camera phone with fewer features than a 3 MP digital camera (zoom, focus, exposure) can take "better" pictures. Anyone?

    Dave M.

    Wouldn't it be a ton cheaper to simply take a picture with a camera phone and go to a Walgreens and get the image printed? Even buying a camera phone and testing it would be cheaper than paying almost $2000 to read a "report". Sheesh!


    I definitely agree with the "convenience gap" - granted, I'm dealing with a two-year-old SE T300, but it takes me 14, count 'em, 14 button-pushes for me to transmit a photo from the camera to my laptop. This is beyond the two-to-three step process for me to "snap" the initial photo. Who the heck designs these things? Doesn't anyone do focus groups or apply human-engineering principles anymore?

    The comments to this entry are closed.

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