Smartphones With Three Cameras Setup Taking Lead: Omdia

  • Apple, as per the report, lags as Android and Chinese OEMs adopt multi-camera configurations
  • Multi-camera devices accounted for 77 percent of smartphone shipments in Q4 2019

Triple-camera smartphones became the most popular type of model in the market during the fourth quarter of 2019. These exceeded sales of dual-camera devices for the first time as android and Chinese OEMs moved aggressively to offer more products with multiple cameras.

Models with three cameras, as per the report, accounted for 31 per cent of global smartphone shipments during the final three months of 2019, according to the ‘Smartphone Model Market Tracker’ report by Omdia. This total slightly exceeded the 30 per cent share held by dual-camera smartphones. Single-camera phones ranked third, with a 23 per cent share, while four-camera devices were in last place, at 15 per cent of shipments.

“Consumers use their smartphones for practically everything these days—but the most commonly utilised feature on these devices remains the camera. New smartphones launched over the past few years have been increasingly highlighting camera capabilities. As a result, consumers are gravitating toward smartphones with higher camera counts,” said Jusy Hong, smartphone research and analysis director at Omdia.

Multi-camera devices accounted for 77 per cent of shipments

Multi-camera devices, as per the report, accounted for 77 percent of smartphone shipments, up from 54 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018. For the entirety of 2019, dual-camera devices, at 40 per cent, accounted for the largest share of smartphone shipments. However, considering the rapidly rising penetration of triple- and quad-cameras, triple cameras are forecast to overtake dual-camera devices to claim the biggest share in 2020.

Leading Android smartphone brand Samsung has already installed four cameras on the S20+ and S20 Ultra versions of this year’s Galaxy S20 series. Meanwhile, Huawei is moving to a five-camera configuration with its new P40 series. Second-tier brands such as Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi are rapidly expanding adoption of quad-cameras rather than triple-cameras for their latest flagship smartphones.

Apple joins the multi-camera game

Apple first adopted dual cameras with the launch of the iPhone 7 series in 2016, but the feature was limited to the company’s more expensive Plus models. Since then, Apple has offered dual cameras only on its high-end models.

However, starting with last year’s iPhone 11 series, Apple’s cheapest model has also joined the trend of increasing camera lenses by adopting dual cameras. Triple cameras finally arrived and were featured in the company’s Pro models. Apple’s new iPhones, set to be released this year, are expected to come with an additional time-of-flight (ToF) camera.

In contrast, Android-based smartphone makers have been spreading multi-camera capability throughout their product lines more rapidly, expanding from high-end devices to mid-priced, and low-cost models.

Apple, as per the report, is the most conservative smartphone brand when it comes to multi-camera adoption, with 45 percent of iPhones shipped in the fourth quarter of 2019 still using dual cameras, while its competitors in Android have already moved to triple and quad camera with higher share.