Following Japanese companies, U.S. wireless carriers have begun letting users transfer photos over their 2.5G and 3G networks. AT&T, Cingular and Sprint PCS now offer clip-on phone cameras that may be a boon for businesses, says Yankee Group analyst Sarah Kim.
Cingular users can get a Sony Ericsson T68m with the clip-on CommuniCam MCA10 for $167. AT&T's camera-compatible phones range from $79 to $199, and users pay about $12 monthly for 2MB worth of transfers over AT&T's mMode service. If you won't need to make that many transfers, you can get basic service for as low as $2.99 a month.
Transfers average 40Kbps to 60Kbps on 2.5G networks. But Sprint PCS offers businesses a pricier 3G digital-imaging service with speeds of 50Kbps to 70Kbps, which requires a subscription to www.activephoto.comto view your image files.
As 3G network transfer speeds reach 3Mbps to 5Mbps, wireless imaging could develop into cheap videoconferencing, says Kim. But that won't happen before mid-2004.
San Francisco-based Erik P. Nelson is a frequent contributor to Entrepreneur.