When integrated camera phones started hitting the shelves I was pretty skeptical. I seriously couldn't think of a single application that would make me personally bother. Now I'm not so sure.

There's been a lot of press in Australia over the last year about the negative social implications of having mobile phones with integrated cameras, but I've been wondering a bit lately about the upside. Okay, apart from remote sex. And apart from lame uses like the ones you normally see on TVC's from phone vendors.

A few people have suggested to me that it will make it harder to lie to your partner about where you are...

“sorry honey, I'm stuck at the office.“

“really? show me.“

But that's why they still come with OFF buttons.

That feature would be better for checking out what your kids are up to (mine are only 3 years old but I guess it won't be long... I see kids walking around not much older than them with phones these days).

I'm more interested in the other break-through applications.  Keith Shaw at Network World discusses the application for industries such as law enforcement and insurance.  He also draws the obvious analogy of the amount of amatuer footage of major news events that started turning up when video cameras became popular and extrapolates that out to a factor of ten. But what else? What else could happen?

For those who don't think the resolution is worth bothering with, Daniel Scuka points out that phones in Japan now have resolution over 1.3 megapixels (and 2mp is coming very soon).