A new survey shows that, contrary to public belief, cell-phone cameras have spurred consumer interest in digital photography and cameras.

U.S. marketing group IDC said the camera phone has become a "gateway" device for people who are making the switch from film cameras to digital.

According to the survey, more than 30 percent of camera-phone owners said they were considering purchasing a digital camera in the near future for use in archiving images online or e-mailing them to friends.

A relative lack of progress in sharpening the resolution of camera phones seems to have consumers looking to separate cameras for better-quality pictures.

The study also found that printing hardcopies of camera-phone images was on the decline, a trend that IDC said in its release indicated that the public had a growing faith in digital storage technology.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International