World Photography Day: How Selfies Evolved Cell Phones

Like virtually any innovation, cameras were unique objects for a few in the last century. For a long time, the act of recording photos was a very expensive hobby and was done only by professionals, the results of which were placed on boards and displayed on the walls of the families.

With the cheapness of lenses and the aggregating power of cell phones, which today have replaced calculators, banks, GPS, video games, digital readers, etc., photography has become popular and is just a few touches available in the pockets of billions of people across the planet.

TecMundo took this Thursday (19), which is remembered as World Photography Day, to tell a little about the history of cell phone front cameras and how they were important in shaping an entire culture.

It is not known who influenced whom, but the fact is that the front camera is one of the main factors responsible for popularizing selfies. Self-portraits exploded in the 2010s on social networks, where it was rare not to find a profile of a person who did not have a photo taken by themselves with only the face framed.

Because of the importance of devices, we have listed ten devices that tell a bit of the history of the technological revolution that the world has experienced in recent decades.

Kyocera Visual Phone VP-210 (1999)

The Visual Phone VP-210, from the Japanese brand Kyocera, was the first cell phone model with a built-in camera in the world. Released in 1999, it had a pretty weird design, with the lens on the front of the device. Although other models have had prototypes in previous years, the Visual Phone VP-210 was the first to be marketed to the general public.

Kyocera Visual Phone VP-210

Sony Ericsson Z1010 (2003)

With the traditional and expected evolution of technology, in 2003 the Sony Ericsson Z1010 was launched. The device in flip format (which was quite successful in the early 2000s) had a front camera that could even be used for video calls when it was open. It was one of the best-selling products in the period, helping to catapult Sony Ericsson as one of the most important brands in the industry that decade.

Sony Ericsson Z1010

Motorola Razr V3 (2004)

Most Brazilians who are at least in their “30 something” remember the Motorola Razr V3. The device exuded an “air of ostentation”, mainly because of its flip format considered large (since at the time consumers still preferred smaller models). With a VGA camera and 4x zoom, you can say that the “era of selfies” started there.

Motorola Razr V3

Sony Ericsson W300i (2006)

The Sony Ericsson W300i was launched in 2006, at a crucial time for the electronics industry. With more than 15 million units sold, he helped make cell phones more popular than digital cameras. Also in foldable format, it had a VGA camera that could record 176 × 144 (3GP) resolution videos and 640 x 480 stills.

Sony Ericsson W300i

iPhone 4 (2010)

Despite entering the mobile market in 2007, when the devices already had built-in cameras, Apple only launched its first front-facing camera phone in 2010, on the iPhone 4. The sensor was VGA and recorded 720p videos at 30 FPS, it had access to FaceTime and video calling support.

iPhone 4

Oppo N1 (2013)

Oppo, a Chinese brand still unknown to the large Brazilian public, launched in 2013 the first mobile phone with a rotating camera: the Oppo N1. The device was launched with a 13 MP camera that could simply be rotated to become a frontal.

Oppo N1

Essential Phone (2017)

With smartphones already transformed into essentials, the co-founder of the Android operating system, Andy Rubin, launched, in 2017, the Essential Phone. Despite not having the success that was expected, the product was the first mainstream cell phone to feature the front camera in the “notch” format.

Essential Phone

ZTE Axon 20 5G (2020)

China’s ZTE last year launched the ZTE Axon 20 5G, the first under-the-screen selfie camera phone. Even though it was not a commercial success, it presented the world with the possibility of removing the notches from the screen and hiding the lens under the display, which increases the use of space.

ZTE Axon 20 5G

Mi Mix 4 (2021)

Representative of one of the most relevant companies in the smartphone market today, Mi Mix 4 was officially announced in August 2021. Xiaomi even said that the device, which has a selfie camera under the screen, had more than 400,000 orders in just a few days after opening the pre-sale.

Mi Mix 4

Galaxy Z Fold 3 (2021)

Another relevant company these days, Samsung showed the world on August 11th the Galaxy Z Fold 3. The foldable model that has a 4 MP camera hidden under the display.

Galaxy Z Fold 3

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