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The first mobile phone with an inbuilt camera module was produced by Sharp and released in Japan by J-Phone (now SoftBank Mobile) in November of the year 2000. The J-SH04 phone could take photos, at 110,000-pixel resolution or 0.11-megapixels.  One of the features that differentiated the J-SH04 from other competitors of that era like the Samsung SCH-V200 was the fact that the J-SH04 allowed you to send your photos electronically. Cameras have gone from being a secondary feature to becoming the core reason why people purchase new devices. There has also been a lot of innovation in the camera department over the years. Beginning from the days of Nokia PureView camera devices to today’s dual camera systems and Google’s HDR+ image processing algorithm.  

Sharp J-SH04

The Sharp J-SH04, released in November 2000, had a huge success in the Japanese market. Since the technology was still new, it didn’t see much adoption in other regions like Europe. In November 2002 the Sanyo SCP-5300 was launched in the U.S on Sprint. It cost $400 and it featured a chunky clamshell design. With a 0.3-megapixel capability, it could capture shots at 640 x 480 pixels. The Sanyo SCP-5300 also had a basic flash, white balance control, self-timer, digital zoom, and various filter effects like sepia, black and white, and negative colors. By the end of 2003, camera phones were really taking off in the U.S. and becoming already becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Over 80 million had already been sold worldwide. The good news for consumers was that quality was rising and prices were dropping. Camera phones have become very common. Only few people see the need to carry a dedicated device for taking photos or videos anymore, and digital cameras are fast leaving the market thanks to the phone camera trend.

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This article was first published on 18th May 2018


Tobenna is a writer, programmer and musician who is passionate about God, tech, and music. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook by clicking the icons below.

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