When is a camera not a camera? When it’s a phone

Nokia, this week, launched a new phone. The main selling point of the new Lumia 1020 isn’t its battery life, the size of the screen or how well you can use it to make calls. No, its main feature is that it sports a 41 megapixel camera. Yes you read that correctly, 41, not 4.1, but 41!

Now this isn’t the first time that the Finnish phone company has pulled such an outlandish stunt with one of its phones. Last year it put the same sensor in its Pureview 808 phone, however, that didn’t fare too well mostly because the phone runs the aged Symbian OS, which is so 2000 and not 2013.

The new Lumia 1020 runs Windows Phone and so has the benefit of the 160,000 or so apps that are available on the platform and so stands a better chance of success.

So what about this megapixel camera? Well in principle it certainly is impressive and could well be the hardware that Nokia has been looking for in order to stay alive in a market dominated by Apple and Android.

It also shows what we as mobile phone users go for now in our handsets. It used to be battery life, in terms of talk time and standby. Now it’s things like the number of apps available or how good the camera is. After all, with smartphones the thing we probably do least of all with them is actually make calls.

They are our portable entertainment devices, playing games, films and music. In fact the list of devices the smartphone has killed off seems to grow all the time. They’ve replaced MP3 players, portable games consoles and are chipping away at the digital camera market now too.

At this rate it won’t be long before they are the only computers we use.