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Camera Phones Take More “Primary” Pics

Arlington, Va. — Camera phones are playing a larger role in consumer’s photo habits, a pair of studies released this week show.

More than double the amount of consumers are using camera phones as their “primary still image capture” device compared with the previous year, the Consumer Electronics Association reported.

The firm updated its Sharing and Storing Photos and Video II study, noting that in 2006, camera phones account for 9 percent of primary still image capture, over twice the 2005 rate.

“Among consumers who now classify their cellphone as their primary image capture device, 47 percent also own a digital camera,” said CEA market research senior director Tim Herbert in a statement announcing the findings. “Consumers have yet to significantly engage in the practice of substituting devices, but rather use devices in a complementary manner. As cellphones progress to 3-plus megapixels, offering greater storage and more features, this trend may change,” he added.

Digital cameras have not foresworn the megapixel race either, the study found. Cameras with 6- and 7-megapixel sensors will grow 120 percent this year, CEA said.

A recent survey conducted by online mobile phone retailer InPhonic found that a camera is the most sought-after feature in a cellphone, topping MP3 playing, GPS or TV functionality.

According to InPhonic, 17 percent of camera phone owners take more than 15 pictures each month, while 63 percent snap between 1 and 15 images a month and 14 percent don’t take any photos with their cell cams.

InPhonic hosts the online site WireFly and surveyed 2,011 consumers who purchased phones on their Web site from Oct. 13 to Oct. 31 of this year.