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Study: Camera phone market will top digital cameras

The market for camera phones soon will exceed that for low-end digital cameras, says market researcher ABI Research.

Low-end camera phones will grab most of the market share that is currently held by low-end digital cameras within two years, according to a new study by ABI Research.

Mobile phones with 1.3-megapixel cameras will soon be very common and will outsell VGA camera phones by early next year, the market researcher said Wednesday. Subsequent years will see 2-, 3- and 4-megapixel camera devices replace lower specification models, it said.

"Within the next two years, the quality of a mobile phone camera will be such that people won't need low-end standalone digital cameras. This will dramatically impact camera sales," Kenneth Hyers, principal analyst at ABI Research, said in a statement.

The camera phone market will organize itself based on quality, ABI analysts said. While some device makers such as Motorola are targeting the low end of the market, vendors such as Sony Ericsson, Samsung and Nokia are touting higher-end models with greater resolution and better lenses.

The factors that will influence the market include storage capability, multimedia message interoperability, better imaging and picture-management software, the research firm said.

A recent IDC study has pointed out that though digital camera sales are growing, the rate of growth seems to be slowing down. Sales of digital cameras in the U.S. grew 20 percent in the first half of 2005, compared with 50 percent the same period last year.