Shipments of camera phones in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) grew by almost a third in the third quarter of 2003 compared to the previous three months.
According to the latest market estimate from analyst Canalys, over 10 million were shipped by the end of Q3 and this is likely to be more than 16 million by the end of the year. Next year, sales of camera phones are expected to double.
"Many operators are already offering these phones 'free' with a new contract, and they are available for next to nothing to existing contract customers who are eligible for an upgrade," said Rachel Lashford, analyst at Canalys.
"[Camera] phones are being promoted very heavily by operators and vendors and will be a popular gift item this Christmas.
"It is quite possible that supply will outstrip demand for some of the leading models. This will open the door for the less well-established vendors, provided they are able to ship product in sufficient quantities."
Canalys predicts that imaging phones will account for around half of all mobile phone shipments in EMEA by 2006.
"While we believe they will continue to be popular with consumers, some companies are bound to be nervous of the presence of so many cameras in the workplace and will resist adoption," said Chris Jones, senior analyst at Canalys.
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