Dan Gillmor: Camera-equipped mobile phones are just starting to invade the United States, after many years in Asian markets and several in Europe.
Simply put, these devices are going to change the very nature of photography. I can’t begin to tell you all the ways, but I can make several educated guesses.
Among others, it’s a camera you use with one hand. You point, looking at an LCD video screen, and shoot. It takes pictures that are not great but not terrible. You can send them by e-mail to any computer or by multimedia messaging to another phone. Or you can send them into your own PC by short-range Bluetooth or infrared wireless communications.
This is, in effect, the ultimate snapshot camera. It takes pictures. It doesn’t take photographs, in the sense of images that you might want to spend time fixing in a darkroom or with Photoshop. (I’ve been posting pictures from this camera on my weblog; they aren’t serious photography, but they convey what I’m doing.)
This particular camera model also captures short segments of video with audio.
I’ve noted before the potential for making these cameras an integral part of tomorrow’s journalism, as when everyday folks might capture breaking news or get evidence of wrongdoing.