Camera Cell Phones -- More uses than you could have imagined
by Elizabeth Edwards
I was shopping in the large superstore with my five-year-old
daughter, perfectly unaware that in the next few minutes I would
be living through every parent’s nightmare – in an instant my
child would disappear from my side. She had been looking through
the little dresses right beside me and, when I called her to go
try one on, she was no where to be found. I loudly called out
her name, trying to keep the panic from my voice, as I
frantically looked all around.
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I rushed to the front of the store to inform security and the
first thing he asked me was, “What was she wearing?” Wearing?
What was she wearing? We had dressed quickly that morning,
looking forward to a Saturday spent shopping for clothes she
would soon wear to kindergarten. Next Tuesday would be her very
first day of school. In my panic I couldn’t remember what I had
pulled from her closet that day. Was it her blue shorts set…no,
she had worn that yesterday. I simply couldn’t remember.
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As I fought back the tears of an anguished parent, I saw my
precious little girl walking toward me, holding the hand of an
alert clerk who had found her wandering toward the back of the
store. When I asked her why she had left me, she innocently
explained that she had seen someone who looked like her
grandmother and she had simply followed her.
As I hugged her through my tears, I noticed that she was wearing
her purple checked shirt and green shorts, and that I had
braided her hair that morning before we left home. In my fear
over not being able to find her, I had forgotten all those
little details about her appearance. And, even worse, I had left
my large purse at home with my other wallet that held my most
current picture of her.
Later, as my husband and I were discussing what had happened, he
mentioned one of his customers had told him the last time he had
taken his four children to the theme park, he had lined them all
up at the entrance and taken each one’s picture with his wife’s
cell phone camera. That way if one of them became lost, he could
instantly show security his child’s picture, complete with the
very clothes they were wearing at the time they disappeared.
The day of my ordeal, my camera-equipped cell phone had been in
my bag around my waist the entire time. It had never once
occurred to me to snap my child’s picture in the parking lot as
we walked toward the large store. Honestly, I hadn’t used the
camera feature that much, and had purchased the phone more for
some other features than the fact that it could take a picture.
Camera cell phones were first introduced in the US about two
years ago. Since then, their popularity has skyrocketed.
Industry officials estimate that 12% of all cell phones sold in
2003 were equipped with a camera and that figure is steadily
increasing. The camera cell phone may well be the most popular
electronic device this holiday season.
Concerns over picture quality are diminishing rapidly as the
digital electronics in cell phone cameras become more and more
advanced. One and two megapixel models are readily available
and, according to an independent study released this past
summer, pictures from these tiny cameras make “significantly
better” 4” x 6” prints than those from both digital and
traditional film “one-time-use” cameras.
Convenience of obtaining prints from cell phone cameras is still
something of an issue, as it may be difficult to print from the
camera itself. But as more consumers purchase and use the
digital devices, manufacturers will no doubt fill that need with
inexpensive, convenient and high-quality printing options.
You would think that a camera in a mobile phone wouldn’t be much
different than having a small, stand-alone digital camera. In
reality, however, the phone is always at your side while the
camera may not be. And, the photo can be immediately transferred
to anyone with the click of a button.
Phones are being used to document accident scenes, take pictures
of car license plates and even potential attackers. Just last
month a Nashville man was accosted by a man with a knife, later
identified as James Robert Baker, who demanded money. The victim
snapped the assailant's photo with his camera cell phone as the
mugger made his escape. Police used the photos from the camera
phone to broadcast an accurate description of Baker and his red
GMC truck. A police officer stopped the truck and arrested Baker
approximately 10 minutes later.
Camera phones are finding favor with small business owners who
are using them for any number of uses that range from verifying
that the correct repair part is ordered to documenting the
satisfactory completion of a job. Real estate professionals can
quickly inform prospective buyers of a hot property just on the
market, insurance agents can speed accident and damage claims
and contractors can quickly verify building details without
leaving the construction site.
Recent developments in cell phone applications include using the
camera as a bar code scanner enabling savvy shoppers to
instantly download coupons, product information and perhaps even
suggesting alternative locations where the item may be found at
a better price.
Given the enormous popularity of camera phones, it is not
surprising that there is even more exciting mobile technology on
the horizon. Nokia has introduced a phone (Model 3650) that can
take video clips as well as photos.
Since that incident with my daughter, it has become our morning
ritual to snap a quick picture of her as we head out the door in
the morning. I think she understands now that she is never to
leave my side in a public place for any reason without
permission, but children are apt to do the most unexpected
The next time you are shopping for a cell phone, you may wish to
consider the many options available, and give an extra long look
to the camera phone models. That camera cell phone that you
thought was just a passing fad may be a much more practical
purchase than you would have ever imagined.
About the author:
Elizabeth Edwards is a successful freelance writer, providing
consumers with tips and helpful advice when purchasing camera
cell phones, family cell phone plans and motorola cell phone
accessories. Her numerous informative articles provide online
shoppers with the tools to make smarter buying decisions. Read
more about the latest in cell phone technology at
Camera cell phones