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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.

Most flip phones and all smartphones have still and video cameras, and hundreds of billions of photos and videos are taken every year because almost everyone has a phone handy much of the time. In addition, camera quality has become so good that, except for the professional photographer, the average family no longer uses a dedicated camera. A common example of camera quality is an 8x10" print, and many camera phones meet this test and beyond (see smartphone camera).

The Camera Phone 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 very useful note taker by making it easy to capture a sign in a store, a label on a bottle and a device's serial number for later reference. The cellphone camera as well as all the other functions in today's smartphones have changed society in countless ways. See smartphone, flip phone, point-and-shoot camera and DSLR.