Smartphone and Tablet Shipments Turn Billions Into Amateur Photographers

One of the essential features of any smartphone is the built-in camera, and the quality of photos a device outputs plays a role in our evaluation of these devices. For many, a quality camera is no longer a luxury, but a necessity in an increasingly social landscape, so is it any surprise that smartphone and tablet shipments have turned us all into photographers?

According to ABI Research, over 1 billion cameras shipped in smartphones and tablets during 2012, and by 2018, that annual figure will jump to 2.7 billion, the research firm predicts. Mobile device makers are privy to the importance of a quality camera and continue to push the envelope with new features and higher quality optics.

LG Optimus G

"Advancements in imaging technology are opening new doors for smartphones and media tablets," says senior analyst Josh Flood. "Mobile device cameras are becoming more than just a digital camera for taking snapshots of your kids and pet. New services like augmented reality and gesture recognition are now easily conceivable in mobile devices."

Interestingly enough, the rear-facing cameras on most smartphones hover around 8 megapixels. Sprint's LG Optimus G (we reviewed the AT&T model) sports a 13MP camera, but that kind of resolution is still rare. ABI Research says that's because mobile OEMs are putting more focus into adding features, like autofocus, rapid capture mode, and so forth.

Do you find yourself using your smartphone and/or tablet camera more often than your dedicated point-and-shoot these days?