Remember when Motorola, Siemens, and Sony Ericsson offered camera attachments for their best phones?

Remember when Motorola, Siemens, and Sony Ericsson offered camera attachments for their best phones?
Cameraphones have become ubiquitous. Nearly all of the phones on sale today, even many of the dirt cheap ones, have a camera of some kind. It hasn't been always like this, however. Remember how in the early 2000's, a built-in digital camera was something that only the best phones could brag with?

Back in those days, there were also several phone models that didn't have a camera, but could be paired up with a detachable one, which was sold as an optional accessory. The highly acclaimed Sony Ericsson T68i was one of them. As a matter of fact, its makers used the phone's camera functionality to stealthily market the device prior its official announcement. Actors were hired for the purpose. They were instructed to act as tourists asking people on the street to take pictures of them. With a Sony Ericsson T68i, of course, which had a CommuniCam module attached to it. In case you're wondering, Sony Ericsson's camera could take fixed-focus images at 0.3MP (640 x 480 pixels).

The Siemens S55, launched in late 2002, was a high end phone and an alternative to the Sony Ericsson T68i. Like its rival, Siemens's handset could be paired with a digital camera, known as the QuickPic, for snapping 640 x 480 pixel photos. What is interesting is that the module used with the S55 had a built-in xenon flash, which made it usable in low light environments. Video recording wasn't an option, but then again, the Sony Ericsson T68i couldn't handle that either.

The year 2002 also saw the launch of the Motorola T720i flip phone, which was touted for its snap-in digital camera attachment. The snapper took photos at the same mediocre (but okay for its time) resolution of 640 by 480 pixels and had no flash. What made it different, however, was that the camera could be rotated at 180 degrees - ideal for both photos of others and for old-school selfies.

What was the first cameraphone you ever had the pleasure to own? Did anyone of you, guys, had one of these handsets? Let us know in the comments!

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34 Comments

1. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Wow, technology sure was pathetic back then...

3. baldilocks

Posts: 1543; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

No. Technology was rapidly improving. Your comment, however, will always be pathetic.

8. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

It was definitely improving, but at that point it was pretty pathetic compared to today's technology. It's blatantly obvious...

9. Johnnokia

Posts: 1158; Member since: May 27, 2012

This first smartphone with camera was Nokia 6600

13. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

What an ugly curve in shaped weird looking Symbian S60 phone

18. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

It was huge hit in that timed. And it wasn't bad looking phone though.

20. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

6600? that fatty was a "smart"phone.

23. Blazers

Posts: 764; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Actually the first was the Nokia 7650. It was a dual band 900/1800 S60 handset, that was only available in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The first for the US was the 3650 S60 handset with its strange circular keypad layout. The 6600/6620 followed next, with its unique barrel shape, but at least had a normal keypad.

24. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

I think it was Nokia phone in the movie minority report of Tom cruise that was the first camera phone. Not sure if its 7650?

25. dratomic

Posts: 483; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

no it was nokia 7650

33. Piotrek007

Posts: 119; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

The first one to RECORD A VIDEO was Nokia 6600. 7650 was the first Nokia with camera

10. baldilocks

Posts: 1543; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

'Pathetic' is the wrong term. Could you do better?

16. AntiFanBoyz unregistered

Agreed that 'pathetic' is a weird way to look at it. Was the first Apple computer pathetic? Was the first airplane, or automobile, or bicycle, etc, etc, pathetic? Seems to me 'revolutionary' or 'disruptive' or 'innovative' are much better terms for these early phone cameras.

17. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

If you put any of those phones next to one of today's high-end smartphones, it sure would be "pathetic". There is no doubt that it was revolutionary technology at the time, but now it is also pretty pathetic compared to today's technology. I don't want to fight; that's just my opinion...

22. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Because those phones were the base for today's smartphones. If they didnt exist, then we wouldnt have cameras on our phones. Thats called evolution. Dont disrespect them by calling it pathetic.

27. AntiFanBoyz unregistered

He just doesn't get it. Sad when someone doesn't know how to maintain the context of history and thinks all past innovation is pathetic because it's, you know, old and stuff.

19. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Nokia 7280 is still unique........familiar with 007

31. nghtwng68

Posts: 108; Member since: Nov 26, 2009

Very well put baldilocks!

26. alumoyo

Posts: 392; Member since: Aug 26, 2013

That is a very negative way of looking at the world - so what we are NOW is just the PATHETIC OF TOMORROW? Pretty bleak world view dude!

2. fsalto98

Posts: 31; Member since: Apr 25, 2014

Yeah i know needing to push one button to get the letter you want

4. maccess

Posts: 742; Member since: Jan 16, 2013

I was a hardcore SE fan back then.. especialy their walkman phones the w550i.. that was the loudest speaker phone i ever had.. and their first autofocus 2mp camera the k750.. but since they come with android i hate them more than any other manufacture.. their xperia x10 was a total crap.. and yes i remember how cool the t68i in one of james bond movie back then.. kudos sony ericsson..

5. MacWiNux

Posts: 128; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

i still love their K750 aside being a camera its a useful torch light because of its twin led flash :D

7. blingblingthing

Posts: 980; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

Loved my T68i. Loved my W800i even more. Liked the P1i

11. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

I remember my GH388 Sony Ericsson Motorola Tac2 Sony Mars bar from 1990

6. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

If its 2 piece items to carry I rather bring a dedicated pocket camera.

12. drunkenjay

Posts: 1700; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

my first phone was the s55

14. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Are you referring to Siemens S55 phone I had one of those phone

15. AntiFanBoyz unregistered

I had the Samsung A500 with the separate Magic A100 vision camera for Sprint. It was... a great phone and an awkward camera.

21. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Because those phones were the base for today's smartphones. If they didnt exist, then we wouldnt have cameras on our phones. Thats called evolution. Dont disrespect them by calling it pathetic.

28. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

I remember when back in ~2003 I had my Siemens M55, it also had camera attachment. :)

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