SOURCE: Future Image

October 27, 2005 07:01 ET

Future Image Revises Camera-Phone Forecast Upward to Half Billion in '05

Consultations With Broad Range of Industry Stakeholders Yield Bullish Projections

SAN MATEO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 27, 2005 -- In an update to be published in today's edition of its Mobile Imaging Report continuous information service Future Image is announcing that, following discussions with a number of industry players at its just completed Mobile Imaging Summit executive conference (Monterey, Ca October 11 & 12), the firm is substantially revising upward its forecasts for camera-phone sales for 2005 and the next four years.

The new forecast anticipates sales of 500 million camera-phones in 2005, meaning that five out of every six digital cameras sold this year will be embedded in phones. The total will rise to 900 million by 2009.

At the beginning of this year, forecasts for total mobile phone sales were around 700 million, with camera-phones expected to account for 50 percent of the total. In an effort to not over hype an already extraordinarily dynamic market, Future Image estimated 320 million camera-phones for this year. Now the forecasts for mobile phones have been revised upward to 760 - 780 million, 67 percent of which are expected to include cameras, resulting in the new forecast of half a billion. The percentage of mobile phones that include cameras will rise to 90 percent by 2009.

"The explosive growth in personal network-connected image capture devices is a fundamental shift, comparable for instance to the rapid spread of PCs in the 90s -- but on a much larger scale," said Alexis Gerard, President, Future Image Inc. "Just as ubiquitous PCs converged with other technologies to birth the mass-market Internet, ubiquitous camera-phones will converge with emerging technologies like image recognition, virtual displays, and others that were topics at our recent Summit, to change business and society in profound ways."

While the projections for global sales of mobile handsets in the coming years are likely to be conservative as the strength of both established and emerging markets continues to surprise vendors and analysts alike, the percentage that will have at least one camera will not change much, therefore Future Image estimates that even its revised forecasts are likely to prove conservative. "It's interesting to note that so far no one's forecasts have over-estimated the size of the market," said Tony Henning, Managing Editor of the Mobile Imaging Report continuous information service. "Despite the unprecedented numbers, the global appetite for mobile imaging devices continues to grow unabated."

Henning also noted that there is still plenty of room for growth. "Mobile subscribers are expected to increase from two billion to more than three billion by the end of the decade, but that's still less than 50 percent of the estimated global population in 2009. Eighty percent of the world's population is currently covered by cellular networks -- a target market of five and a half billion people."

Future Image's most recent forecasts are:

Year    Total mobiles       % Camera-phones       Camera-phones
2005    750 million         67%                   500 million
2006    875 million         83%                   725 million
2007    938 million         85%                   800 million
2008    984 million         87%                   856 million
2009    1 billion           90%                   900 million
About Future Image

San Mateo, CA-based Future Image Inc ( is the leading independent center of expertise on the convergence of imaging, technology and business. Future Image hosts the Mobile Imaging Executive Summit (, a by-invitation executive conference held yearly in the US and Europe which has the unique distinction of gathering senior executives from the imaging, information processing, and telecommunications industries. Topics covered include developments in optics, sensors, image processing, flash technology, camera-phone design, interoperability, and next-generation network rollouts, as well as opportunities around specific applications, content types and market segments.

Future Image publishes two continuous information services, The Future Image Report which monitors the impact of new technologies on the imaging industry as a whole, and the Future Image MIR (Mobile Imaging Report) which focuses on camera-phones and the intersection of imaging and wireless communications. Future Image also underwrites and publishes primary research studies on the impact of emerging, imaging-focused technologies or business trends, and provides consulting services to vendors, investors and large-scale users. Future Image is the official information and research partner of the International Imaging Association (I3A).

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