Mobile phone sales in 2006 will rise to 986 million, according to a report from research group Gartner.
The analyst has seen stronger than expected sales of 251 million mobiles in the third quarter of the year, 21.4 per cent rise on the same period last year.
The rise came in spite of a slow down in the sales of replacement handsets to existing customers.
Instead, the slowdown was offset by extra momentum in sales to first-time buyers in emerging markets such as India and China, says Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi.
'We have also started to see increasing sales of replacement models in these emerging market, which helped push up total sales in the third quarter,' she said.
Camera phones could also be used to store and share documents.
Scientists working at the Xerox Research Centre Europe (XRCE) have developed new imaging technology that could turn mobile phones first into portable document scanners and eventually into devices you could use to acquire, store, read, print, and share documents.
Xerox's patented mobile document imaging software enables camera phones to better manage the poor lighting, image distortion, and other challenges associated with processing images captured by digital cameras in hostile environments. "We saw the potential of mobile telephones as a vehicle for advanced imaging technology from the outset," says Christopher Dance, senior scientist and image processing manager for XRCE. "However, we had to wait for mobile phone technology to catch up so that the cameras integrated on them were of a high enough resolution. It wasn't until this year, with the advent of mega-pixel mobile camera phones, that we saw a potential route to market for our technology." This new technology would allow employees working remotely to capture information from handwritten notes, documents, screens, whiteboards, etc., and transmit it without delay.
The software works through a four-step process. First you take the photo, then you apply Xerox software to correct for blurring. Next, you convert the image to black and white and eliminate shadows and reflections. Use color saturation and white balance contrast techniques for handwriting and colored text. Finally, you compress the image. Xerox uses a G4 fax compression format that produces images one-tenth the size of JPEG, the standard for mobile image transmission. The file can then be delivered via Bluetooth wireless technology, multimedia messaging, or fax.
"The ability to capture the image in a mobile environment, and then transmit that image while on the move, is just the beginning," said Dance. "Once this is achieved, then in the future we will be able to apply other Xerox document technologies such as indexing, retrieval, or summarization. Ultimately we will be applying business-to-business document functions to the basic consumer 'snapshot' technology and, in doing so, will have changed the way in which people communicate."