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IDC: Video To Dominate Mobile Phones

Framingham, Mass. — The promise of camera phones will not be still images, but video, according to a new report from the research firm IDC.

The company’s camera and videophone forecast predicts that video “will become the key imaging application on mobile handsets over the forecast period, growing from only 44 percent penetration of global camera phone unit shipments in 2004 to 100 percent, or 766 million units by 2009.”

Video will dominate because the components required to record quality videos are cheaper and easier to integrate into a mobile handset, IDC said. Conversely, still camera technology “necessitates multidimensional high-quality glass optics, zoom motors, autofocus, 3-megapixel image sensors and advanced high-speed signal processing.”

While these features are available on any entry-level digital still cameras, camera phones would need to get bigger and more expensive to compete with this basic functionality, IDC noted.

The pieces for improved video recording — including high capacity removable memory cards and improved compression — are already in place and don’t require the burdensome integration that accompany enhanced still capture technology, making video the logical application for mobile imaging, IDS said.

Video recording as a consumer pastime is also poised to enjoy an uptick in popularity thanks to the growing number of devices able to capture “acceptable” quality video.

According to IDC, the aggregate amount of video captured globally in 2004 reached 12.32 billion GB, of which 12.25 GB came from camcorders.

Video captured by digital still cameras will grow an average of 28 percent. Over time, video captured by tape-based camcorders will lose share to camcorders featuring alternative media.

Archiving will shift over the forecast period, IDC noted, moving away from magnetic tapes to optical discs and hard disk drives.