Mobile cameras used to be sold as add-on devices, plugging into memory card slots of handheld computers.
A device by Sony, released by 2001, shot low-resolution pictures with distorted colors which fared worse than photos made on a mid-1990s digital point’n’shoot camera. In two years, an HP-branded camera let users take much legible photos.
Due to the development kit made public by an OEM, the HP camera found its use in computer vision research, accessibility projects, and portable database apps.
Add-on mobile cameras returned in 2010s to cold consumer reception, as some people were looking for phones with less features, not more.