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Neil Enns - Why would anyone want a cell phone with a camera on it?

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Neil Enns works on the SmartPhone team (the guys who build the operating system that runs cell phones) so we wondered "why would anyone want a cell phone with a camera in it?"

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  • moofishmoofish Living in Scotland, UK
    I did that, I had the first digital cam phone from nokia in dundee, scotland, uk (nokia 6750). I used to take a pic of the bus timetable for those exact reasons. Alas no one had a mobile I could send a pic to, but I could send through email.

    Now everyone's got one and its not cool anymore, so I reverted back to a vintage mobile.

    samuel
  • I agree...today's cameras are mainly used for disposable snapshots.  They hardly make or break my decision to buy a phone(i600 owner)...The current Laws(Moore/Metcalfe) of computing will eventually get us to camera/corder phones with high bandwidth which would indeed be a killer app & device. 

    Anyone remember the marketing video MS made back in 2001 (trying to show what life in the .NET/Hailstorm world was like) where a kid was video conferencing and tracking his family through a Zoo on his pda?  I think that vision remains...

    BTW, First 3mp Camera Phone:
    http://www.engadget.com/entry/5833841284105838/
  • NeilNeil Neil
    tnerb.truell wrote:


    The whole megapixel race is interesting too. 3MP is all well and good, but what's the quality of the sensor and the lens? I'd be happy with my 640x480 pixel cameraphone taking better quality pics than bigger.

    Neil
  • Stevan VeselinovicSteve411 Me, all suited up!
    Dad bought me a camera phone a year ago i think it was, it's great, camera phone, ofcourse. I don't take alot of pictures with it because there is no possible way to get the pictures on the computer. Well, the only way is to send over the internet, and the internet over phone costs way to much.
  • NeilNeil Neil

    Hey Steve, that avatar you're using wasn't taken with your camera phone, was it? Big Smile

    Neil

  • NeilNeil Neil
    tnerb.truell wrote:
    Neil, is their another User Group Tour in the works?


    Not one that I'm aware of at the moment. We just finished our last one and I think we're all still trying to recover!

    Neil
  • Neil wrote:
    tnerb.truell wrote: BTW, First 3mp Camera Phone:
    http://www.engadget.com/entry/5833841284105838/


    The whole megapixel race is interesting too. 3MP is all well and good, but what's the quality of the sensor and the lens? I'd be happy with my 640x480 pixel cameraphone taking better quality pics than bigger.

    Neil


    Jumping off topic a bit, I saw qualcomm is working on a chipset to support both GSM & CDMA bands.  This is exciting for the 40mil+. CDMA customers in the US!  Hopefully MS Mobile & Hardware manufactuers will have the economic justification to release devices with this chipset.  GSM has a double figure lead on CDMA in devices(if not now, definitely by this fall).  I hope this or competing chipsets will set a precedent of negative correlation between consumer reach and production costs. 

    That said, I can't wait for SP2k3!  I'll trade in a built-in 6mp camera for the .NET CF anyday Smiley  Keep up the hard work!  Neil, is there another User Group Tour in the works?
  • Stevan VeselinovicSteve411 Me, all suited up!
    Neil wrote:

    Hey Steve, that avatar you're using wasn't taken with your camera phone, was it? Big Smile

    Neil



     hehehe, not, not at all, my camera phone takes worse pictures then that.hehehe.
  • Cameras on phones? For home/fun users, a novelty. The sharper image phones coming out might help in some shopping decisions.


    For business users, realtors taking quick photos of houses and other properties, one of my local cell phone gurus told me of a car dealer who takes quick photos on his lot to send to other dealers he is doing business with. The outdoor light solves lighting issues and the resolution doesn't have to be great to get a good pic.

  • In many ways, I see it as a tool for democracy.  In the UK the majoriy of "news" from camera phones is Z-List celebs snogging each other.  But it won't be long until a crime is caught on camera and submitted as evidence.
  • AlanReiterAlanReiter Alan Reiter
    Microsoft has an opportunity to leverage its expertise in corporate markets to generate interest in the camera phone business as part of its Smartphone efforts.

    The wireless industry, in general, has been incompetent (yes, that's the correct word) in promoting the business value of camera phones.  Indeed, if you watch many of the TV commercials of cellular operators, you get the impression that the only reason to use a camera phone is if you're a 20-something who wants to take photos to embarrass friends!

    Camera phones have a huge number of uses for businesses: Real estate, construction, healthcare, law enforcement, meetings and conferences, journalism, retail sales, insurance, etc.

    With one megapixel camera phones entering the U.S. this year, three megapixel camera phones in Japan (in June), combined with optical zooms (2x to start) and flash (albeit really poor), plus a greater emphasis by some vendors on higher-quality components, camera phones are going to be extremely useful for business applications.

    Microsoft should not just rely on its OEM partners to promote camera phone value.  Many of the OEMs are doing a terrible job.

    Indeed, although the camera phone business is booming and only going to get bigger, there's a death of information about it.  That's why I created my second Weblog:  www.CameraPhonereport.com.

    With camera phones becoming multimedia powerhouses (well, in some sense!) as cameras, video recorders and TV receivers, Microsoft needs to promote how wireless imaging can be integrated with its software.


    Alan Reiter
  • NeilNeil Neil
    AlanReiter wrote:
    Microsoft should not just rely on its OEM partners to promote camera phone value.  Many of the OEMs are doing a terrible job.


    Alan,

    We are doing just that by offering a great set of new camera APIs, both native and managed, in our next platform release. When we go to events like MDC and TechEd we talk about how those APIs are coming to get our developer community excited about the potential of using these new devices in line-of-business applications.

    Thanks for your detailed comments!

    Neil
  • If you make Smart Phones with cameras built in, please make an equal product that is identical except remove the camera. I'm starting to get tired of leaving my cell phone in my car when I go to the gym or to a concert, the other night I even had to convince the guy at the movie theater that the camera didn't work in my phone. A mobile phone should be convenient; to me it's becoming a hassle having a camera built into my phone.

    It seems like such a downgrade to get a phone without a camera these days.

  • phillpricephillprice huh!
    My SPv e200 is handy for when I'm in the pub, or out and about. I did however use my old 7650 to take photos of a friends notes rather than write them out Smiley
  • AlanReiterAlanReiter Alan Reiter
    Neil wrote:


    Alan,

    We are doing just that by offering a great set of new camera APIs, both native and managed, in our next platform release. When we go to events like MDC and TechEd we talk about how those APIs are coming to get our developer community excited about the potential of using these new devices in line-of-business applications.

    Thanks for your detailed comments!

    Neil



    Perhaps it would useful for the SmartPhone team to create a camera phone/wireless imaging section on an MS Web site with information for developers and partners/potential partners.

    I have pondered doing a camera phone weblog designed for the public, rather than my industry-centric Camera Phone Report.  However, with two Weblogs, I don't have time to create another free one!
  • Luke_SkywalkerLuke_​Skywalker Skywalker
    As Neil Enns has stated yes 3G IS real. I had the oppurtunity to phone from UK to Italy and experience Video Call on my mobile. It was a great experience!
    I get frustrated between the bandwidth availablity between wire and wireless.

    SmartPhone has the advantage of putting down the user experience advantage that Microsoft got from the desktop to the phone but while thinking of getting my "Three"  phone I looked into using SPV. It still has some way to go. Maybe the Motorola deal could help them on their competition with the Symbian Operating System.
  • BillKosMDBillKosMD BillKosMD
    Alan, when you talk about healthcare applications of cameraphones, of course the first thing that comes to mind is the tremendous liability issues involving patient privacy rights as mandated by the HIPAA regulations. I've yet to see any discussion about suggestions for possible policies for cameraphones in the hospital or clinic setting, but I'm confident that this will be worked out.

    The possibilities include pt care areas where cameras are already routinely used such as burn units, ER's, dermatology services or even when the nursing staff must monitor decubitus ulcers on immobilized patients.

    An even more exciting possibility is the use of smartphones for public health support in third-world countries. You can begin to get an idea by going to the Voxiva Web site (www.voxiva.net/). They are receiving funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In these situations you can see the need for telemedicine capabilities supported by pocketable devices. I'm getting involved in a project in Rwanda that will include looking at the uses of cameraphones.
  • NeilNeil Neil
    AlanReiter wrote:
    Perhaps it would useful for the SmartPhone team to create a camera phone/wireless imaging section on an MS Web site with information for developers and partners/potential partners.


    Alan,

    Try visiting MSDN's Mobility section, as well as the Windows Mobile Developer pages.

    Neil
  • clarkezoneclarkezone clarkezone

    <shamelessplug> 
       http://www.atomiclava.net is the perfect accessory for a Windows Cameraphone
    </shamelessplug>

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