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The History of Camera Phones

The age of the camera phone began with the release of the Kyocera Visual Phone VP-210 in 1999 and the Samsung SCH-V200 in 2000. The Sharp Electronics J-SH04 J-Phone followed soon after and made history as the first camera phone that didn’t need to be plugged into a computer. It was able to send photos and became extremely popular in Japan and Korea. Camera phones reached the United States in late 2002 with the November release of the Sanyo SCP-5300 on Sprint. Camera phones quickly took off in the U.S. market and the camera technology improved with each new release. Then in 2007, Apple launched the iPhone, kicking off the age of the smartphone. For a time, features other than the camera took precedence in the cellphone market. But as Apple and its competitors released phones with better and better cameras, photo and video capabilities became an increasingly important feature of the smartphone. Phone memories were expanded to allow for more photos, CCD sensors were replaced by more efficient CMOS chips, and 3G, 4G, and 5G made instant photo-sharing possible. Today, recently released phones from Samsung, Apple, and Google all have multiple top-of-the-line cameras built in, and camera phone innovations are expected to continue.

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