The 1997 Birth Of The Camera Phone

June 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the invention of the camera phone. That is, the sharing of a digital photo delivered via cellular phone. On that day, Philippe Kahn shared a photo of his new born daughter with about 2000 people.  The photo was uploaded to a server that Kahn had stored in his kitchen. At which point, it became available instantly to those included in an email list created by Kahn.

Philippe Khan had been working on a server solution that would enable him to share digital assets, instantly, with a simple link sent within an email. At that time, the standard practice was to send photos and documents to each person individually. Where IP traffic would become congested with sending and receiving multiple copies of the same individual asset. Khan’s solution was to store the assets on a server and share a link to them.

On June 11th, 1997, Khan thought he would use his technology to share a photo of his new born daughter with friends, family, and business colleges. As his wife went into labor, he was encouraged to quickly grab his Motorola StarTAC cellular phone and his Casio Digital camera. He though, he would use the camera to take the picture and tether it with his phone to upload it to the server he had created to share his digital assets.

Once Kahn and his wife got to the hospital, he realized that he didn’t have the correct cable to connect the camera to the phone. In a pinch, he engineered a cable from the speaker phone cable he kept in his car. Connected the camera to the phone, and finally uploaded the picture of his daughter to the server he created. Philippe Khan became the first person ever to share a photo instantly to people in his social group.

This event was later detailed in a production put together by the creative studio Conscious Minds –  1997: Birth of the Camera Phone

Author: Joshua Johnson

My name is Joshua Johnson and I am the founder of UA1 Labs. I am passionate about helping other developers to become successful in their paths. When I started developing software, I didn't have many resources to help me out. UA1 Labs is my way of giving back to all those who helped me.

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