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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 August 2006, 13:52 GMT 14:52 UK
Photo messaging is 'on the rise'
Person using camera phone
Photo messaging has seen a boost in the US and Europe
Sending pictures over the mobile phone network has seen a boost in the US and Europe in recent months.

Analysis revealed photo messaging in the US has risen by 32% since February, while the UK, France and Germany saw increases of between 16-20%.

This appeared to be linked to picture quality: owners of higher-resolution camera phones were more inclined to send photo messages.

The snapshot of phone usage was carried out by research company M:Metrics.

Working with phone networks, analysts examined the mobile phone market in June in the US, UK, Germany and France, and compared it to previous months' usage.

Resolutions

The survey found an increase in the proportion of people owning camera phones.

Mark Donovan, vice president and senior analyst at M:Metrics, said: "At 50.7%, the number of mobile subscribers in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States owning camera phones has grown 22% since February of this year.

"We also see a direct correlation between camera resolution and propensity to use photo messaging, as 44.3% of subscribers who own phones with cameras with resolutions exceeding one megapixel sent a photo over the network, versus a global average of 30.5%."

Motorola's Razr was found to be the most popular camera phone in the US and UK, while Germans opted for the Nokia 6230 and in France, the Sagem my-x5 was the camera phone of choice.

Mobile phones are still all about communication
Mark Mulligan, JupiterResearch

Advances in technology have also enabled camera phone users to send their pictures straight to blogs or photo sites like Flickr.

Mark Mulligan, vice president of Jupiter Research, commented: "These trends are over a very short period, but they do seem to correlate with what we would expect to see.

"However, the growth in MMS (multimedia message service) has still been very very slow compared to what mobile phone operators had hoped for.

"Mobile phone operators have found it very difficult to sell to users what MMS is all about, and if it has taken so long to convince consumers about MMS, imagine how long it will take to convince them about mobile instant messaging, mobile email and various other more complex concepts.

"Looking at what is happening in terms of handset ownership, a growth in uptake of camera phones has been fuelled by the fact that there are decreasingly small amounts of non-camera phones available in the market place."

"Mobile phones are still all about communication: the things that are driving it are voice and SMS(short message service, or texting)."


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