We have come to a stage where smartphones can replace DSLR machines. There are devices like the Huawei P30 with 50x zoom, or the Pixel 3XL, which offers surprisingly low light performance. So, when did this journey begin? Which was the first company to place the cameras on the phones?
First of all, there is confusion about who introduced the first camera phone. According to Wikipedia, the first camera phone is Samsung’s SCH-V200, while the world’s first true camera phone is said to be Sharp’s J-SH04. However, the Japanese company released its camera-equipped phone a few months after Samsung’s SCH-V200. With all this information, when we continue to investigate a little more, we come across a camera phone that came out even before these two models.
The first real camera phone was actually produced by another Japanese phone manufacturer, Kyocera. The world’s first camera phone was the VP-210 Visual Phone. In Japan, as early as 1999, it was released earlier than the two models mentioned above. In addition to being the first camera phone, what was even more interesting was the fact that it had a front camera similar to today’s selfie cameras. The Kyocera VP-210 features a 110,000-pixel camera with a 2-inch color TFT display. Don’t be confused by this number of pixels, it’s actually a small camera sensor with only 0.11 MP. The price of the phone in 1999 (surprisingly) was around $ 335.
Now, let’s look at the other two models that Wikipedia claims to be the first camera phones. The Samsung SCH-V200 was officially launched in June 2000. On the other hand, Sharp’s J-SH04 was announced a few months later in November 2000. Both had cameras and could capture images, but there was a fundamental difference between the two models. The Samsung SCH-V200 was basically a phone with a camera module in the back. It had a 0.35 MP camera and the phone could take 20 pictures. You need to connect to your computer to share these photos.
Wikipedia, on the other hand, describes Sharp’s J-SH04 as the first real camera phone, because the J-SH04 has an integrated camera system. Since the Sharp J-SH04’s camera is fully integrated, you can still share your photos from the phone. Even though Sharp is better than Samsung with its integrated camera system, it lags behind Samsung in terms of camera quality. Sharp used a 0.11 MP camera like the Kyoreca.
It all started with a basically 0.11 MP camera. Today, 48 MP or even 64 MP camera sensors are spoken on smartphones. The number of megapixels will increase in the coming years. Don’t be surprised if you see cell phones with 192 MP cameras in the future, as a result Qualcomm’s high-quality chipsets support high-resolution camera modules.