Mobile Imaging: Ready for Its Close-Up

Mobile Imaging: Ready for Its Close-Up


There's an app for that.

Perhaps no five words ever uttered have carried the kind of weight those five do today. I'm sure there are those of you out there who will tell me the five the doctor once said to you that went something like, Mr./Mrs. (fill in the blank), here's your baby boy/girl, were a bit more profound. I'll grant you that for sure, but indulge me for a moment, and check out this recent statistic from Parks Associates.

U.S. consumers will spend more than $500 million in 2013 for imaging applications on their mobile phones. Really, $500 million on apps that help them take, share or play with their images on their mobile phones?

Parks adds that they actually see this market expanding beyond photo-sharing services to personalized content management and social networking applications.

While the digital camera is still hanging on to a slim margin as the preferred capture device among consumers, that hold continues to slip each year. Add to this the fact the absolute love affair consumers are having with their smartphones shows no signs of waning.

From the recently completed Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, comes news of smartphones with dazzling 3D video capabilities, major advancements in Augmented Reality and continued hardware advancements that will greatly benefit those already insane mobile imaging app numbers.

The excitement surrounding all this mobile imaging mania doesn't have to signal the death knell for digital cameras but it should certainly serve as a wake-up call for imaging retailers. The mobile imaging waves are washing ashore and your customers' imaging habits are constantly changing as a result.

And while the imaging part of the equation has traditionally been an afterthought in the handset market, that strategy is quickly evolving in addition to the dramatic changes taking place in application development and marketing.

“Recent trends, including the launch of Google's Android MarketPlace and Apple's success with the App Store, have revived interest in the camera phone platform among carriers, handset makers, and application developers,” said Harry Wang, Director, Health and Mobile Product Research, Parks Associates.

Mobile uploads of images to Facebook are increasing dramatically and most consumers generally feel the convenience mobile imaging affords on the sharing front is the single biggest advantage the smartphone carries over their digital camera.

Gee, consumers still seem to really enjoy sharing their digital photos, isn't that fascinating. Perhaps how they capture them shouldn't throw us all for so much of a loop.

However, it's still all about understanding and catering to this new paradigm and mobile imaging will continue to play a major role in that moving forward.

In our feature on Best Buy Mobile in this issue, you'll read how a strategy the chain was thinking about dropping is now credited with helping them weather the storm over the last year.

Decisions, decisions.

Michael McEnaney