High-res camera phones boost digital strengths

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High-res camera phones boost digital strengths

How far are the Korean mobile phone developers willing to go in upgrading camera phone functions?
LG Electronics has been aggressively advertising a camera that can take sharp portraits under extreme speeds.
LG Electronics in late October last year released a 5 mega-pixel phone, the LG-KU990, also known as the Viewty.
The lens attached to the phone is certified by the world-renowned lens developer Schneider.
It also has a manual focusing system, an automatic face tracking system and a built-in stabilizer.
It can shoot up to ISO 800 and the video function can record 120 frames a second.
It’s now edging closer to the resolution that you’d expect of a digital camera.
The camera phone has also been doing well in the European market, according to the company.
LG Electronics said last week that as of Jan. 18 daily sales exceeded 10,000 units.
The company said that despite price of 550 euros ($736), the phone has reached impressive sales after just 12 weeks on sale in Europe.
This is exceeding previous records set by the company’s other popular models, such as Shine (LG-KG70) and Chocolate (LG-VX8500).
It took Shine 14 weeks to reach the 10,000-unit mark and for Chocolate, 15 weeks.
In counter-attacking LG’s Viewty, Samsung Electronics released a camera phone with a 5 megapixel resolution,
SCH-W380, known as Photogenic, was launched in mid-December.
In addition to a high resolution, the camera can track automatically the faces of up to 10 people.
This means that at least 10 people will have their faces in focus in a group picture.
Additional features include an automatic stabilizer and a system that automatically adjusts when a backlit picture is taken.
The camera shoots up to ISO 400 and videos at 120 frames per second.
The phone retails at 750,000 won ($792) in the local market.
Sales of the Photogenic have been halted for the last couple of days.
A bug was found in the software.
Samsung Electronics said the phone will be back on sale later this week.
Previous owners can upgrade their software through the company’s Web site.
Compared to previous camera phones with a 2 megapixel resolution, these new camera phones compete with compact digital cameras.
Still, because these phones use CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) instead of CCD (charge coupled device), the image quality isn’t as good as that of more advanced digital cameras.
However, Korean mobile phone companies hope their premium phones will boost sales this year.
Global sales for Samsung Electronics have increased 42 percent, selling 161 million units.
The company now ranks second after Nokia, surpassing Motorola, which sold 159 million units in 2007.
LG Electronics didn’t do too badly, either. Sales last year increased by 27 percent on the previous year. The company sold more than 80 million units.
Samsung Electronics forecasts that the global mobile phone market will increase by 9 percent to 1.2 billion units.
LG Electronics has a similar forecast of 8 percent growth.
But both companies are targeting a 25 percent increase.
It is up to the companies whether they can reach their goals with their high resolution camera phones.

By Lee Ho-jeong Staff Reporter [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]
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