It's somewhat amazing how vocal certain technology columnists have been in shoving each other aside to make sure that their damnation of camera phones is even more over the top than someone else's. Last week it was David Coursey trashing camera phones and this week (thanks to picturephoning.com) it's Andy Ihnatko of the Chicago Sun Times who really, really, really dislikes camera phones. His complaints seem to be that (a) in his official-judge-of-cool capacity, they don't make you look cool (b) they take bad pictures and (c) because of all this talk about banning mobile phones in locker rooms, if you happen to have one, you may get arrested for answering it where you're not allowed. The responses are easy: (a) who made Andy Ihnatko the judge of cool? (b) the picture quality will improve, and it isn't the picture quality that people care about when they're using camera phones and (c) just because some people are over reacting to a new technology, no one should use it? When telephones were first becoming popular, some people felt they shouldn't be allowed in the office, because they could be distracting. According to Andy Ihnatko's line of reasoning, that initial over reaction is reason enough not to have a phone at all. By this point we're preaching to the converted, but the reason people like camera phones is not because they're wonderful cameras. There's a time and a place for high quality cameras, but people don't carry them around all the time. The innovation that camera phones bring, and which many people find useful for both work and personal use, is twofold: (1) they always have it with them and (2) it's connected to the network. These are two things that a regular camera does not provide - and both open up possibilities to do something different with a camera. Everyone who complains about camera phones seems to be doing the common mistake in misjudging a disruptive technology: they look at the current technology and all the ways the new technology doesn't measure up. What they miss is the new things the new technology allows - and the fact that people seem to be snapping them up by the dozen, no matter what these people say.
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