To be happy in this world, first you need a cell phone and then you need an airplane. Then you're truly wireless.
~ Ted Turner
~ Ted Turner
Well, well, well.... the desire to be truly wireless may be the driving force for modern-day technology but the desire to capture and preserve memories goes a long way back in the history of human civilization. Even before they learned the use of coherent vocalizations for communication and expression purposes, our cave dwelling ancestors recorded the memories of their primitive lives and exploits in the wilderness in the form of cave paintings. As Homo sapiens became more and more civilized, technology in all spheres of life just kept getting better and ways and means of capturing and preserving memories became jazzier and more efficient. Various types of recording devices, both audio, visual and AV, have come and gone but the one that has made the most revolutionary impact is undisputedly the camera phone! Wondering why? Well, this is one device that allows you to capture visual memories in their still as well as moving frames besides taking care of all your communication and connectivity requirements! The following segment seeks to briefly acquaint you with a few significant milestones in camera phones history. So, click..... oops! I mean, scroll right ahead!
Brief History of Camera Phones
Any idea which is/was the first camera phone to have ever hit the consumer market? Okay, forget about model, just make a wild guess about the manufacturer brand. Nokia? Nopes! Sony? Nah! Motorola? Nein! It was Kyocera and the model in question was VP-210 which was popularly marketed as the Visual Phone! This Kyocera model was developed and marketed in the year 1997. Sharp, Kyocera's closest competitor for the camera phone, also had the design of a camera phone ready around the same time. Both mobile phone models had integrated cameras and the only difference between both was that while the Kyocera model was designed for peer-to-peer video sharing, the Sharp model focused on instant still picture sharing. The first, most elementary camera phone was invented, however, by Philippe Kahn who integrated a small camera in his Motorola cell phone in 1997. This marked the genesis of commercially viable camera phones history. It is in collaboration with Kahn that Sharp developed its first commercial camera phone.
Going back to where it all began, you'll be surprised to know that designs and patents for complex technological blueprints that involved the convergence of multiple diverse technologies into one in a way that would enable the user to take advantage of all of their functionalities on a single platform, similar to voice communication devices with integrated cameras, had been around since as far back as the 1950s. The first viable camera phone prototype was developed by Daniel Henderson in the year 1993 and it looked nothing like the compact, stylish devices that we are familiar with today. Soon after the first camera phone model hit the consumer market and way before the rest of the world became aware of this technological innovation, more than half of Japan was already using camera phones! By the year 2000, camera phones took the rest of the world by storm! During those initial 2-3 years, owning a camera phone was considered a luxury and a status symbol. The ever-increasing popularity of camera phones became a bane for camera manufacturers and two of the biggest camera manufacturers, Konica and Minolta, were compelled to go out of business owing to the massive losses faced by them in the face of the most formidable competitor of their products till date - camera phones. Between the years 2006 and 2010, camera phone technology saw a new height in terms of design, integration and economy and this led to more varieties of lower priced of camera phones being launched in the market.
Post 2010, even inexpensive cell phones that offer very basic utilities such as making calls and texting started coming with cameras. The steady advance in image technology (right from resolution and picture clarity to sharpness, contrast and color accuracy, etc.) and performance of camera phones have led to the emergence of multimedia messaging and the recent video calling phenomenon in cell phones. Also, the emergence of PDAs, Smartphones and 3G/4G technologies have only served to increase the demand of and preference for camera phones. Nokia, Apple, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Samsung are biggest cell phone manufacturers to have introduced some of the best camera phones till date. Judging by the fast pace at which camera phones have made technical progress and seen commercial success, we can definitely expect to see more innovations in the future. Now, wouldn't a camera phone that snapped up pictures or recorded videos on voice command or on clicking fingers be awesomely tech-a-licious?