Cameras in mobile phones are well past being a low-grade gimmick. The quality of camera phone images has increased significantly, and the sheer convenience makes cameras an indispensable feature in mobile phones today.
Camera phones, like most mobile technology, have come a long way in a very short space of time. The concept of the camera phone has been credited to Philippe Kahn, former CEO of software developer Borland, who hatched his idea while waiting impatiently for his daughter's birth with a camera and a phone and a desire to combine them to share the experience with the rest of his family.
In the last decade and a half, proud parents have used the invention to take thousands upon thousands of pictures of their newborns, toddlers, infants, tweens, teens and grumpy adolescents. The high-points of the convenience and accessibility of camera phones met equally with controversy; whether as an easy tool for peeping-toms, or as the world's unflinching eye during the execution of Saddam Hussein.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a mobile phone in Australia these days that doesn't include a basic still photography camera as a minimum. Many record video as well, and some include point-and-shoot camera features like flashes and focusing tools. Manufacturers are bundling photo-blogging applications onto the phones, USB cables for transferring photos onto desktops and notebooks, and some will communicate with your printer via USB so you can spit out prints sans the digital middle man.
With an endless list of possible uses, it's redundant to assess who can get use out of a camera built-in to a mobile phone: we all can. The question is which camera phone is right for you?