The Camera Mobile

By: Ieuan Dolby

Since I wrote the last article on mobile phones so much newness and advancement has been made that I just have to write another one. Of course there are thousands of lost souls still using their phones as a form of escape from the outside world and many others talking to a dialing tone, but now they can take photographs of themselves as they do it.

The mini-camera phobia has now reared its ugly head and although it has long been a futuristic novelty idea it is now with us for real – phones with cameras in them. The James Bond life style can be with us all! The cost of these phones is prohibitive to all but the fashion conscious desperate, those with lots of money and the Koreans. In Korea 4 million handsets have already been sold to the gadget crazed population. Four million little mobile phones with a camera lens in them have been purchased by four million potential spies.

Allot of bad publicity has followed the development, introduction and us200200age of these cameras worldwide. Most of the bad press has focused on the possibility of spying on others in a simple and effective manner – as highlighted by the woman who used her new acquisition to photograph a poor innocent bather in one of Koreas many public baths. The bathers were naked: the young girls showing off their fine bodies and in the corner was a crabby old lady talking on a mobile phone, ignored by the crowd. Only she wasn’t talking on the phone she was taking photographs of the nudity surrounding her. A few days later this lady sold these photographs to Web Sites around the world and made allot of money.

It is not all bad though.

Recently a phone was used to photograph a sex maniac on the prowl. A young lad snapped shots of the driver and the license plate of a car and subsequently submitted them to the police. The driver had followed the boy making rude suggestions and innuendo but soon found himself arrested: with the possibility of five years in prison.

Although the hype and media opinions have focused on the negative side of these expensive gadgets it is not without cause. Happy ending stories like the one above are far and few between and even in the short lived history of these phones they have been used illegally or for illegal purposes on numerous occasions. It has been such a worry for the thirds largest mobile phone manufacturer that they have banned them in their office buildings to prevent spies from having an easy time. Samsung the very company that pioneered the sticking of a lens into a phone have banned them on the factory floors, the office buildings and corridors and have even gone to the extent of fitting X-ray machines that will sound warning if a person has one on their person. A Samsung Official was asked about this latest ruling and he stated that, “camera phones are handy and the quality is so good it can be used for Industrial Espionage". So whilst trying to justify the ban from the very place that they were invented he also got in a good bit of advertising.

At 400,000 Won (300 GBP), a third of a typical households monthly income these phones are expensive. But it has not prevented a country were 3/4 of the population possess a mobile phone and were all have become crazed over them. Their popularity is soaring, their uses are multiplying and their dependency is increasing on a daily basis. Everybody must have one; everybody will scrimp and save on food and clothes until they have one and without which life is not worth getting up in the morning for.

Since their introduction in 2001, one fifth of mobile phone carriers now have a camera type one. It is not just the camera that attracts such fervor and desperation to own one. As one Korean housewife called Moon Ae-ran said, “I can turn on the washing machine and other home appliances with my mobile phone even when I am out shopping". In fact she went on further to say that, “How can I live without this thing?"

“A mobile phone can get you to your destination, for example, the closetBusiness Management Articles, gas station or whatever" said Lee Sang Chul. Mr Lee is a thirty seven year old business man who spends 200GBP on his phone bills every month. How he has survived without it is anybodies guess and how he has ever managed to conduct business when he doesn’t even know where his closet is even harder to imagine but such is life in Korea. He went on to say that “it has so many cool functions. It’s a part of my life".

Back at Koreas majority phone producers’ headquarters workers and visitors are trying to come to grips with a life without a phone. Directors are desperately reading instruction manuals on ‘How to Use a Land Line Phone’ and workers are queuing up to use coin phones that have been dusted off and re-installed.

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