PalmOne Bows To Corporate Cameraphone Concern
By Carlo Longino, Thu Jun 10 04:00:00 GMT 2004

The Treo 600 is now available from one US carrier sans camera, evidently in reponse to corporate customer worries over security.

Sprint will offer the cameraless version after it said several customers, including financial services companies, manufacturers and government agencies expressed "credible concerns about the devices being used to copy sensitive information," a Sprint VP said.

Corporations' lack of interest in cameraphones is running contrary to that of consumers, particularly in some Asian countries where it's now difficult to find devices without a camera. 1- and 2-megapixel cameras are becoming so pervasive there that they are starting to eat into low-end camera sales and are looking to make a move on the middle chunk of the market. with the KDDI's release in Japan of the first 3-megapixel handset, a device from Casio, later this month.

While PalmOne looks to be protecting its popularity in the corporate world by removing the Treo's camera, it's hard to think that it will make any companies more secure. The FT quotes a Nokia exec saying as much: "Even 25 years ago miniature cameras from Minox and Leica were available. It seems a strange reason to make a phone without a camera."

So while factories, health clubs, labs and government buildings are so quick to ban cameraphones because of the huge perceived risk, keychain digital cameras and James Bondian film cameras continue to pose a more tangible threat. After all, the Treo 600's VGA camera -- and others like it -- frankly really aren't good enough to make industrial espionage all that easy.