Ten years ago, camera companies had nothing to worry about except each other.
But poof! along came digital cameras and the Kodak, Fuji and Nikon's of the camera world had to worry about consumer technology companies like Sony or IT companies (at least back then) like HP.
Funny thing is, while the camera companies -- both old and new -- battled each other for survival (market share) their core imaging technology got scooped up as a cool feature in mobile phones.
Today, there are now more camera phones in the world than there are film or digital cameras. According to digital imaging analyst firm Lyra Research, the installed base of camera phones will reach approximately 850 million units in 2006, and this number will grow to more than 1.5 billion units in 2010.
Here's what Steve Hoffenberg, Lyra's director of consumer imaging research, had to say:
"In less than five years since the very inception of this product category, camera phones have gone from nonexistent to predominant. We're still in the early stages of market development for mobile imaging. Picture quality is still immature, and market penetration has largely been supply-side driven.
"But camera phone picture quality will improve substantially over the next several years, upstream transmission bandwidth will increase and consumers will become increasingly familiar with the incredible inherent benefit of wireless connectivity for images."
Will be interested to see what 2010 looks like ...