Pick your super-slim, super-powerful smartphone out of your pocket today, and it’s easy to forget just how far mobile technology has come in the last 20 years or so—and here we want to pay tribute to the major firsts in the industry. Not the first mobile phone itself—which we covered in detail here—but other first phones, like the first phone with 3G or the first phone to have an app store.
Can you imagine a phone without a camera? If you’re of a certain age, you’ll be able to: The first digital cameras took rather shoddy images, and it was then several years before even the most basic photo-taking tech could be squashed into the confines of a cell phone.
As best we can tell, the honor of the first camera-enabled phone goes to the Kyocera VP-210 (VP for Visual Phone), which boasted a 0.11-megapixel selfie camera and launched in May 1999. You could only store 20 photos at once though—how wonderfully retro.
The VP-210 was quickly followed by the Samsung SCH-V200 and the Sharp J-SH04 the following year. As for the U.S., the first camera phone to go on sale appears to be the Sanyo SCP-5300: its 0.3-megapixel camera was capable oftaking 640 x 480 resolution photos.