Watch how this 2001 news item reported the first (super basic) camera phone

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Trevor Mogg

By Trevor Mogg February 8, 2024 10:15PM

A photograph connected an early camera phone.A photograph connected an early camera phone. BBC

There was a time, would you believe, erstwhile handsets weren’t smart. A clip erstwhile beautiful overmuch each they could do was make calls, nonstop matter messages, and play Snake.

At nan commencement of this century, starring compartment telephone manufacturers of nan day, Nokia among them, aimed to boost income by pushing nan boundaries of what a handset could do.

Using nan disposable exertion of nan time (this was, don’t forget, six years earlier nan iPhone showed up), engineers stuffed a camera module into nan alleged “candy bar” phones, allowing group to return and stock photos of appalling quality. But photos nonetheless.

A BBC news study from 2001 looked astatine nan first camera telephone to deed nan U.K. market:

When BBC reported camera phones backmost successful 2001 pic.twitter.com/FdJctyydVW

— Historic Vids (@historyinmemes) February 8, 2024

A contributor successful nan BBC’s study says: “It brings a full caller magnitude to nan mobile telephone industry, allowing group to return images, nonstop them, and for group to person not conscionable colour images but besides matter and audio — arsenic a message.”

The first camera telephone to make inroads successful nan U.S. marketplace was the Sanyo SCP-5300 successful 2002. The handset costs $400 and sported a alternatively chunky clamshell design. The phone’s camera took photos comprising a specified 0.3-megapixels, though that was capable for nan mini display. The Sanyo SCP-5300 besides came pinch a flash for illuminating nan subject, white-balance control, a self-timer, a integer zoom, and select effects specified arsenic sepia, achromatic and white, and antagonistic colors. And that was conscionable astir it.

But group couldn’t get capable of these early camera phones, pinch much than 80 cardinal of them flying disconnected nan shelves globally by nan extremity of 2003.

Thank goodness, nan exertion quickly improved successful nan years that followed, pinch smartphones offering a elephantine leap successful position of some value and functionality. And remarkable advancements are still being made, truthful conscionable ideate wherever nan exertion will beryllium successful different 23 years …

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Trevor Mogg

Not truthful galore moons ago, Trevor moved from 1 tea-loving land federation that drives connected nan near (Britain) to different (Japan)…

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