In my travels, I am amazed how many photos are now being captured using mobile devices. At one time, I thought mobile cameras were just third-class cameras used when you donâ€™t have the real one. In just a few years, my opinion has changed: mobile cameras are becoming, if not already become, the real cameras, the other cameras are more specialized devices used only on special occasions. Mobile cameras are now taking the role of the â€˜penâ€™ that became more powerful than the sword about two century ago. Mobile cameras are facilitating not only capturing â€˜momentsâ€™, but taking notes, creating stories, sharing compelling experiences. The only thing lacking is really a powerful environment to facilitate use of the captured data easily and appropriately.
Recently many interesting photo applications â€“ most notably Instagrams â€“ have been gaining popularity. Flickr was good but was developed before mobile cameras started becoming mainstream. Applications like Instagrams are becoming popular, because they do serve an impulsive sharing need. I am sure we are going to see many more like those. But currently, such services are being designed considering a component in the information sharing eco-system that has visual component. Clearly a nice step.
But is this the real revolution in use of Mobile cameras? Somehow it appears like the first step that is like climbing the tallest tree when your ambition is to get to the Moon. So, the real question is how can we really develop technology eco-system that will take us to the Moon of compelling visual communication for sharing experiences.
Have spent quite a bit of time trying to understand Instagram, Hipsmatic, Path and others. They are all addressing socializing with photos instantly captured on mobile devices and shared on FB, Twitter, MySpace etc.
Their plan is to create photo-based social networks and I’m not convinced how this is going to be possible. For example, >100m photos are uploaded to FB every day and how long before FB has a similar capability to Instagram et al? Since these startups are all investor funded the strategy must be to sell to FB, Twitter, MySpace, or Yahoo!
Btw, there was a NYT article last month (sorry, don’t have the link) which discussed the sales slowdown of digital cameras as people begin to take most of their photos with mobile devices. As mobile cameras improve it will only hasten the demise of the digital camera.
Mobile is the most Borg-like technology there has ever been. It consumes other markets over and over again.
You have some good points here. Clearly mobile phone cameras are going to make most point-and-shoot cameras redundant. A point that I will make in my new post.