back to article Smartphones eat games handhelds and cameras for lunch

As iPhones and other smartphone devices increase in popularity, their foothold in the mobile gaming market strengthens. This looks like bad news for traditional handheld options we generally associate Nintendo and Sony with. Some suggest the iPhone could even have a negative impact to the point & shoot camera industry, as …


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  1. Maxson

    I think somebody missed something

    The thing is, it's not necesarily sales that the iphone is stealing from cameras and traditional handhelds, it's sales that'recreated by the popularity of the device. I highly doubt that any self respecting photography enthusiast who'd previously own a Nikon D90 would buy an iphone, it's just that iphones have become popular and expanded the market.

    I generally appreciate what Pachter has to say, but he'd be the first to admit that he's been wrong before.

    1. Code Monkey

      Horses for courses

      I own a high-end compact that I'd never give up for a smartphone camera but the phone's more than adequate for snapping mates titting around in the pub.

    2. Neil 8

      'Second Camera'

      This also ignores the fact that a lot of DSLR owners probably also have an iPhone. So, it might just be a graph showing 'which camera people had on their person when the photo opportunity arose'.

    3. Ammaross Danan


      If you notice, it's % of users. Therefore, if new accounts are created for people to host their iPhone snaps, it (by the very nature of percentile statistics) will cause other camera types to drop. Of note is that the Nokia camera is still increasing, even with the iPhone increase.

      What should be shown? Number of users of each type. Of course this would expose their userbase count, but they could not display the numbers and simply give us a chart of "relative" camera use by user count. This will give us a true idea of which cameras are actually dwindling in use and which are increasing, having no bearing on each others numbers.

      Statistic fail, merely for hype.

    4. Adam T

      iPhone != DSLR replacement

      Agree with OP.

      "Figures also show popularity of Point & Shoot cameras is in serious nosedive"

      What a silly notion.

      People aren't dumping their DSLRs in favour of iPhones. Just happens to be more iPhone owners than DSLR owners.

      It's like saying the movie business has changed because more people are using iMovie than Final Cut.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    Be interesting to see what the % uploads are from DSLR, digital compact and smartphone sources a groups. That a £700 DSLR alone leads the iPhone4 suggests the phone uploads to Flickr account for near enough sod all in the overall scheme of things.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    iOwners photo-documenting how their lives have been iMproved by St Jobs

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "figures from Flickr show iPhone 4 becoming world's most-used photography device"

    Hmmm why do I not believe that statistic what so ever?

    The Iphone (all generations) isn't even close to being the worlds most popular phones have had cameras for quite a few years now there is no way that it is the most used photography device. Maybe on flicker....but flicker is not the world is it? Maybe it just shows that iPhone users are more likely to upload a picture to a public website so they can say "look at me look at meeeee....taken with my iPhone"

    Blackberry would be the most popular but RIM customers are too kinky...

  5. Vitani

    Missing data

    How much have the two markets expanded by? Was more DS software sold in 2010 than in 2009, and thus Nintendo are still making a tidy profit? Are there more photos being uploaded to flikr and thus Nikons "share" of said "market" is actually the same? Is it even fair to bundle iOS & Android together? They separated the DS & PSP after all. How many nine year olds have a smart phone (I know my son does not, but he does have a DS)? How many of those smartphone owners are really going to continue purchasing games after the initial novelty wears off?

    Pointless articles like this raise more questions than you can shake a 3DS at ...

    Smartphone cameras and games (imo) are a step BACKWARDS, they're fine for the odd snap to upload to facebook or whatever, or distract you for 5 minutes while you're waiting in the kebab shop, but they're not serious... they're not even good.

  6. Alex Walsh


    they used to say (even recently) that Nokia sold more cameras each year than Canon?

    Flickr uploads are misleading anyway, it's easy to upload from a smartphone, you don't even need to connect it to a PC. We have 8,000 odd pictures on our PC and online in Google Picasa. Precisely zero of them are on flickr but I do have the iPhone app and an account...

  7. Select * From Handle
    Thumb Down

    You can really compare iphones and mobiles with PSP's and DS's

    Yes they both play games, but they are two different kettles of fish... average cost per app game £0-£5 vs games you have to buy in a shop £10-£30. if you are going to put those two categories together what about chrome, ie, firefox, opera, safari? you can play games on browsers on the move free and many people do....

  8. James Hughes 1


    Some points that occurred....

    Nintendo 3DS £200

    Decent Point/Shoot camera £100

    Cheap phone £50

    GPS £100

    Smartphone £500, or less if you pay £25 a month.

    So the Smartphone is a more expensive, but combines all the above. Camera are getting better on phones all the time (although the iPhone is particularly rubbish), 3D performance in Smartphones is on a par with handheld games devices even now. Smartphones are going to get better and better in all the areas quoted.

    But what about the main demographic for handheld games devices. The under 16's. You know, the ones who cannot afford a smartphone or even the monthly tariff. You still need to feed them.

    So the handheld people need to develop their own app stores. How good would a DS be if you could download and run games for $1? Or where people could write their own games easily and publish to the DS app store.

    The camera people? Hmm. They are in trouble.

  9. Ru

    Smartphones will eat the low-end, sure

    ...but there's reasonably limited scope for putting a big sensor in a smartphone (for lower noise, better low light performance, better tolerance of cheap optics, shallower DOF) or a big lens (for zooming, rectilinear ultrawide FOV, wider apertures) or even a nice big flash... so they won't be replacing mid-to-high end compacts or dSLRs anytime soon.

    Similarly, there's not a lot of nice smartphones out there that would replace my GPS... IPX67 water and dust resistance, reasonably impact resistant, 40 hours battery life on lithium cells. Things like the Motorola Defy are getting there, but they're pretty niche and still not quite up to the job.

    There are a whole family of unexciting bits of consumer electronics out there which no-one will really miss when they get eaten by smartphones, though. Dedicated car satnavs spring immediately to mind.

  10. xperroni

    The curse of "good enough"?

    Smartphones seldom make for good cameras, and they generaly pale in comparison to proper handheld gaming devices. However for the average hack they may be just good enough.

    Besides, smartphones do have a definite advantage: they're a single device to carry – and one the user is most likely to have on them when they stumble on something interesting to photograph, or get some idle time for playing.

  11. Rupert Stubbs

    "Always With You" beats "Best In Class"...

    The crucial advantage of the smartphone is that it's always with you. How often do you have a dedicated camera with you (unless you're Cartier-Bresson)? I have a Nikon D3 and a Panasonic LX-3, but increasingly the photos of my kids are taken with my iPhone. Because I always have it with me.

    There's another wrinkle, as well - you can do far more with your photos on a smartphone than you can on pretty much any dedicated camera. You can crop, adjust, add fairly sophisticated effects - and then upload to Flikr, send as an email, etc. Snapper Thom Hogan has been arguing for some years now that camera makers haven't adapted to the connected, add-an-app world - and they still haven't. You can read some of his thoughts here: []

  12. 100113.1537

    I want what I want - not what gets pushed on me!

    Call me a dinosaur (you wouldn't be the first), but I simply don't want a single device that does everything poorly (OK, some things mediocre). I still have a Palm PDA because there is no smartphone out there that does what it does for me; my camera is a point and shoot, but cost USD100 and has an 8mp chip and a 3x optical zoom; my GPS does tracking and way-point marking in addition to navigation and route-planning through my PC. And my phone is for making calls and sending texts (somthing that seems to be the least important thing on a smartphone these days).

    I might be in a minority, but it is a big minority and I am getting mightily pissed off with being treated like a sheep and expected to just accept what is thrown to me!

  13. N13L5
    Thumb Up

    who hasn't been waiting to stop carrying 3 or 4 different devices around?

    Clearly, the iPhone is a bit of a surprise, cause its built-in camera isn't even good for smartphone standards, which are already low, lacking proper shutters or even the semblance of decent lenses.

    But people buy the iPhone for prestige and the retard-proof interface, so i guess they don't even notice that their photos are invariably crummy.

    The old truth is, that a bad shot is better than no shot, so for now, smart phones are going to clear out the low end of dedicated cameras. Camera makers will either have to move upmarket or include smartphone functionality into their cameras, which I would very much welcome :)

    Smartphones already have screens, processing power and UI, so the more ways you can use that with the many built-in peripherals, the more valuable it is to users, and the less cost for companies to bring new features to market.

    There is no reason why a smartphone navigation system should be worse than a dedicated one, it should actually be better, cause a company doesn't need to focus on building any hardware at all, they can spend all their time on making the software and UI perfect.

    Should only be a matter of time for tiny PC-Express Card slots to become available in Smartphones, where users can add their own choice of functionality underneath the battery, like medical scanners, geiger counters, athmospheric sensors, just about anything we've seen on tricorders... Maybe the phones get thicker or longer with some of the bulkier addons, but I see a smart phone as a ubiquitous computing platform, that will become more extensible as we go, and can be used to scan and measure anything we can do now with a vast array of dedicated devices.

    Smart phone voltage meter, resistance meter, oscilloscope, anyting could be added with minimal effort, when tiny expansion slots become the norm.

  14. A 31

    re: Maxton

    I agree with Maxton percentages alone do not provide a clear picture, growth of the market should be added there. Stats like that can lie easily, 30% of road accidents are causde by drunk drivers, meaning that 70% are caused by other normal drivers, drunks are therefor much safer behind the wheel ....

  15. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Not just cameras and games consoles...

    but wristwatches, alarm clocks and calculators too.

    Many of my generation don't bother wearing a watch because they have a phone in their pocket.

    All the fuctionality of a pocket calculator is also available on every mobile phone, and surpassed (scientific fuctions, graphing, specialist conversions etc) on smartphones.

    Every phone also has an alarm clock, although sometimes they are too complicated than would be preferred.

    FM radios and MP3 players too- though like the alarm clock, a dedicated unit often works much better.

  16. MJI Silver badge

    Hmm cameras

    I stopped using my SLR due to a light leak and film hitting £15 a roll.

    I was going to fix or get a DSLR but ended up not bothering.

    So what did I do?

    Did I use a phone ? No poor optics.

    Digital compact? rather have SLR

    No I use a video camera, my previous one produced quite decent 1MP pictures, better than higher pixel count phone cameras (due to optics). My wife took the mickey out of the stills mode so mentioning video mode I said can you shoot 64 minutes at 50 fields a second 720x576?

    Anyway I get quite good 5MP off my newer HDV camera, good enough for holiday usage, and the optics of course are a lot better than any phone.

    One day I will get my camera repaired or will get a DSLR.

  17. Steve Evans


    But there is a gaping void between quantity and quality in the world of cameras. You can easily see the difference between a smart phone photograph and one taken with a "real" camera. Sharpness, white balance, dynamic range are just a few things that will betray a phone. It gets even worse when the light starts to drop. It's a pity Nokia's play with a xenon flash equipped phone didn't catch on, that was quite impressive.

    Facebook is full of "taken with my iphone" pictures, and I have to wonder why they feel the need to put that tag on, even Stevie Wonder can spot the iphone shots! At least now they have a pseudo-flash the number of daylight silhouette shots might reduce a bit!

    For my part, despite owning a Nikon D300, I do still use my phone camera sometimes. It's convenient and I think that is probably why there are so many phone camera shots appearing. You can take a picture, press an icon and beam it straight up onto flickr/facebook etc before you even get home.You nearly always have it with you if something happens worth shooting (however badly). It's also far safer to have a phone in your pocket when doing various activities such as snowboarding and motorcycling than a Nikon DSLR being smashed into your ribs if it all goes a bit wrong!

    Hand held games consoles on the other hand have very little to offer which a mobile phone cannot. The phone actually has the advantage of connectivity, and the games are somewhat cheaper! The saving grace for the console is probably battery life, and the fact that you can use it until the battery is flat without leaving yourself with no phone, mp3 player and camera.

    @Dave 126 - I don't know what generation you are, but I haven't worn a watch for over 10 years since the last one clapped out and died.

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