photo sharing via mobile phones likely to grow

Camera data for flickr show that camera-phone users who upload photos to flickr upload about 7 photos per day at the median rate across different camera-phone models.  More capable smartphones have higher photo uploading frequencies.  For example, the photo upload frequencies among iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 4 users are 7.0, 9.7, and 11.1 per day, respectively.[1]  The highest photo uploading frequency among devices with 100 or more active users on flickr is the HTC Evo 4G.  Its users upload 12.6 photos to flickr per day.   The Evo 4G is a highly capable smartphone released in June, 2010.  It has a 4.3 inch (diagonally measured) screen with 480×800 pixel resolution, a front-facing camera for video calls, and an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera with dual-LED flashes and a variety of camera exposure controls for photos.  That’s industry-leading technology.  Evo 4G owners seem to be putting it to frequent photo use.

The flickr photo upload frequencies for camera phones are roughly comparable to the U.S. average of 13 mobile calls per day per mobile phone user.  flickr photo uploaders are likely to be more technically savy and web-engaged than a representative sample from the whole population of mobile phone users.  In addition, voice call frequencies depend on ill-specified accounting rules for uncompleted calls and calls reaching voice mail services.  Nonetheless, the data suggests that for some share of mobile phone users, photo sharing is an activity with frequency roughly comparable to voice calls.

Looking at the data by camera technology aggregates, camera-phone photo uploading frequencies are only about half that for DSLR and point-and-shoot cameras.  DSLR and point-and-shoot cameras are less oriented to ordinary communication among family and friends than are camera-phones.   The former also generally have less capable photo communication capabilities than the latter.  One can reasonable expect that in the future camera-phone users will have higher photo sharing frequencies than roughly comparable DSLR and point-and-shoot camera users.[2]

Unlike traditional wireline phones, mobile phones enable communication via voice, text, and visionText messaging exceeded voice calls in frequency in mid-2007 in the U.S.   Photo sharing via phone is becoming quite popular.  Video calling technologies are also developing rapidly.  The value advantage of mobile phones over traditional wireline phones is much broader than just mobility.

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Data:  flickr camera data on Needle.  The Needle dataset is loosely coupled to flickr, continually acquires data, and allows anyone to query the data.  Tools like Needle welcome everyone to the technological frontier of an open, real-time web of data.

Notes:

[1] Calculations based on data from May 5 to 15, 2011.  These and other figures above may change slightly as Needle acquires data for subsequent dates and automatically updates the calculated statistics.

[2] The characteristics of DSLR and point-and-shoot camera users are likely to differ from the characteristics of camera-phone users.  Camera-phone users are also a much larger population.  Users characteristics undoubtedly will affect frequency of photo uploading.   The point is that camera-phones are more oriented toward photo communication than are DSLRs and point-and-shoot cameras.

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