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Definition: camera phone


A cellphone with a built-in camera. The first cellphones with cameras were reportedly in Japan in 2000. Camera phones appeared in the U.S. a couple years later.

Today, most cellphones and all smartphones have still and video camera capability. Hundreds of billions of photos are taken every year with camera phones, because everyone has a phone handy nearly all the time. In addition, camera quality has become so good that, except for the professional photographer or serious amateur, the average family no longer uses a dedicated camera. Although the test of camera quality has always been printing large photos, even 8x10" prints from many camera phones are extremely good. See smartphone, point-and-shoot camera and DSLR.

The Camera Phone Has Changed the World
Having a camera handy at all times means that any event can be captured on the spur of the moment. Riots, protests and other upheavals from around the world have been documented by videos and sometimes become the only evidence later on. On a less ominous note, the camera phone has become a useful note taker by making it easy to capture a sign in a store, a label on a bottle and a serial number on a device for later reference. The cellphone camera and all the other functions in today's smartphones have changed society in countless ways.