Excerpt from a feature in Digital Imaging Reporter, January, 2017
If there’s one recent product that has changed the direction of photography the most, it’s the smartphone. Not only has the smartphone camera unleashed a new generation of snapshooters and citizen journalists, it’s created a whole new ecosystem of apps, accessories and services with valuations in the billions of dollars.
Major smartphone vendors—Apple, Samsung, LG, Google—feature photo and video capture as the main features of their new handsets, to the exclusion of other functions (like making phone calls). Maybe we should stop referring to them as smartphones and call them “smartcameras” (that make phone calls).
This is the time of the year to dust off the crystal ball and look to coming trends. For 2017, the trends are looking to include some new hardware configurations and capabilities to drive consumer upgrades. This accelerated activity is necessary because the camera is becoming more and more of a differentiator between brands and products.
“The camera is probably the most-used feature on a smartphone. But there’s no way for vendors or carriers to make money off the camera itself,” says Carrie Sylvester, mobile imaging consultant for InfoTrends. As a result, technology advances like low-light capability, optical image stabilization or multiple sensors are ways to push consumers to upgrade sooner.