I think it's a matter of likely having your expectations set too high as to what a cameraphone can produce in terms of image quality. Even the lowest-end dedicated digicams out there today offer 2-3X the Mexapixels, highly superior optics, longer focal lengths, far superior CCD's for image processing, etc etc etc. They are dedicated cameras and even the worst of them is designed to deliver a print-quality image.
OTOH, a cameraphone is an "add-on" device to most US cell phones. It was an afterthought, not designed to be core to the functional capabilities of the unit. It's a gimmick designed to appeal to consumers. I can state for a fact that the component-level pricing of the camera optics and CCD unit in the Curve, Pearl or just about any other camphone is less than 1% of the total cost of the entire device.
So if you were really expecting the cameraphone to rival even a 3-year old digicam, you'll be disappointed. It's just not up there.
That said, holding the device steady, only taking pictures outdoors of static images (landscape, houses, cars, etc) or for small on-screen snapshots (used as caller ID tags and such), it's fine. It just takes a bit more practice.
I should also note a more obvious issue for many of the cameraphone images I've seen. People forget to clean the lens as it's flush with the back of the unit and their hands are always touching it. That accounts for more smudgy pictures than many care to admit.