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Smarten up on smartphones – or someone else will!

Prints from cameraphones now account for 5 percent of the market and are a fast- increasing segment, according to Steuart Meers, Photo Direct.

The Nokia N8 has a 12-megapixel sensor supported by flash and a Carl Zeiss lens. and

‘It’s a niche category at the moment, but growing at a rate which can’t be ignored,’ he said. The five percent figure is based data from Lifepics online ordering software. Photo Direct is local distributor for LifePics.

Though there were some privacy issues around collecting demographic data, ‘anecdotally we see it as Gen Y, however I wouldn’t discount that what we previously considered the Yuppie is in the mix for convenience.’

He said that a lot more could be done by photo specialists to draw consumers’ attention to the fact that their stores were capable of making prints from mobile phones as well as cameras.

‘If we don’t, someone like JB will. It’s not going to make your fortune, but it’s now definitely in the mix and becoming more important all the time.  We need to tell the consumer we can do it.

‘Have a big sign at the back of the store saying “we print from mobiles”. Every customer who comes into the store – tell them. Because they honestly don’t know,’ he said.

Mr Meers comments on the growing significance of smartphones is supported by a report in Don Franz’ Photo Imaging News (October 24) on a recent presentation in the US by social networking guru, Alexandra Gebhardt:

‘Worldwide cameraphone images have a much higher growth rate than those captured with digital  cameras and, as more cameraphones ‘morph’ into smartphones, there are many more options for using saved images.’

If, as some predict, the smartphone becomes at least a partial replacement technology for compact cameras, retailer have even more incentive to establish themselves as service providers to the camphone snapshooter.

‘It’s really hard to predict whether the smarrtphone becomes tomorrow’s compact camera.  But with 8-megapixel smartphones out there with flash and zoom, it is a lot more convenient to have one device always with you,’ he said.

‘I wouldn’t buy another compact, but would and have purchased something bigger – a Sony Nex 5 – so given my survey of one,  I’d say compacts have a few years yet.’

(This is supported by a recent review in phone enthusiast website, which put some of the lasts smartphones up against a mid-range Canon compact. The conclusion was, ‘even the hottest smartphones out there are still pretty far from being as capable as dedicated point-and-shoots are. We can compromise to an extent of course, that’s why some of us are already willing to leave their cameras at home, but if we have to judge pure quality, it’s evident that cell phone manufacturers still have a long road ahead of them.‘)


  1. Angela Ciliberto Angela Ciliberto December 2, 2011

    Photo retailers are missing opportunities to sell smart phones and Prepaid is the simple option – no contracts to work through. Why not sell prints from smart phones and increase printing opportunties? Prepaid Smart phones generally give the retailer 20% and the facts are, more photos are being taken on phones than taken on traditional compact cameras. Everyone carries a phone but not everyone carrys a camera. The problem is consumers don’t know how to get the photos from the phones. The Telco shops staff sell contracts, they either don’t know or don’t bother to explain how to use the camera in the phone to consumers. Telco’s are only interested in the revenue generated from the contracts. There is a gap waiting for someone to take this space.
    C-Direct are distributors of both Telstra prepaid phones and Kodak products and are happy to help any retailer looking to get into this space.

  2. Phil G Phil G December 5, 2011

    When HP gets its act together and lets their systems talk to iPhones that will be really the day that makes a difference for us; Kodak has the solution why not HP?

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