DUBAI // “How good is the camera on this phone?” is the question consumers are asking at Gitex Shopper 2013.
Industry experts say that for customers in the region, the quality of pictures on smartphones is a major selling point.
“The phone has become a primary device for casual photography,” said Neelesh Bhatnagar, chief executive of Emax Electronics.
“The camera is one of the most important features that customers ask after. It’s a big plus to have a camera in your phone in your pocket when you least expect to take a photograph.
“It is not just about still photographs and uploading your status photo on Facebook, but also about taking video clips on phones and putting it on YouTube to show the parties and functions you have attended.”
Saeed Usman, an architect and regular at Gitex, asked salesmen more questions about image quality than battery life.
“The phone must be easy to carry and the camera in it should also be easy to use,” Mr Usman said.
He planned to buy a phone for his wife so she could take pictures of their newborn baby and send it to relatives.
“The camera should be easily accessible and our phones are always lying around so it is the fastest way to take a picture,” Mr Usman said.
“We need to take pictures in low light when the baby is asleep and send these to family abroad. So that’s the kind of phone I’m looking for, one device that is within reach and can take great pictures.”
The UAE has ranked the highest in the world in smartphone penetration, with 62 per cent of consumers owning handsets, a recent Google study showed.
“I believe overall that more than 50 per cent of photos taken are automatically uploaded and that is why good photo quality is so important on phones,” said Hayssam Yassine, head of telecommunications at Samsung Gulf Electronics.
“Smartphones with high-quality cameras are increasingly popular in this region. The camera is one of the top three features of a phone. An improved flash and zoom are key elements and important to our consumers.”
The country’s top smartphone, according to the latest Telecommunications Regulatory Authority report, is the Samsung Galaxy S3.
Cameras are also promoting connectivity as a strength. At Gitex, the company launched the Galaxy NX, a 3G connected compact camera that allows photographers to stay connected.
Nokia’s new flagship phone, the Lumia 1020, has also attracted attention with customers at Gitex asking many questions about its 41-megapixel capability.
“From a consumer point of view, imaging and sharing images is becoming more important,” said Vithesh Reddy, general manager for Nokia.
“Consumers want to create and share moments. A lot of pictures are taken in low light conditions when they are out in the evening or out to dinner, and imaging is our key strength.
“Also, Middle East consumers are very active on social networks and want to share what they do, what they see and where they are.”
Sales personnel at Gitex said that while cameras in phones drew consumer interest, the sales of high-end digital cameras with multiple lens and focus options continued to rise.
“People do not understand what a megapixel is but they say if it is a 41-megapixel it must be good,” said Siraj, a manager at Jacky’s at the Gitex show. “They are looking for video and photography all in one phone.
“They say their requirement is an easy to carry phone that can be used as a camera so they can upload photos to share with friends and media.
“But people who love photography and enjoy cameras are still buying digital cameras because of sensors and lenses that they don’t get in smartphones. Different people come here with different requirements.”
The eight-day show is on until Saturday at the Dubai World Trade Centre.