Phones and smartphones are a part of everyone’s life nowadays. Features like access to the internet and flashlights are useful for everyday life. Yet when did phones start having flashlights?
The first phone with a flashlight appeared in the 2000s, but here is what led to the design.
The Japanese Electronic Company Sanyo released the Sanyo SCP-5300 phone in 2002. It was the first cellphone with a camera and a flash. Although it was not very high-tech, it was a revolution.
There was no front camera, so the flash and the camera were in the back of the device. Somehow, both the companies and the users started to realize the trick. It serves as a flashlight if you hold the flash for some time.
So, companies started creating flashlight apps so the user would click a single button to activate the flashlight for a long time. Who was the first company to do so? Yet, there are reports of phones with such a feature from 2006, like the Kyocera KX21 Storm.
When Did Smartphones Get Flashlights?
More research about flashlights in smartphones or phones, in general, needs to be done. Smartphone companies use the flash with the camera to take visible pictures in dark places.
People realized turning the moment on longer was possible, just like a flashlight. So, the invention of the flashlight was an accident.
With this discovery came the thought of how to keep the light on. That was necessary because the LED light would only turn on when the phone user took a picture. Therefore, it was essential to find a way to keep this light on without turning the camera on.
The first cellphone with a camera and LED flash was the Sanyo SCP-5300, released by the Sanyo Company in 2002. The phone had a button dedicated to the snapshot.
It was revolutionary since it allowed the user to see the photo on the phone’s screen. Plugging the device into a computer to see the picture was no longer necessary.
Some years afterward, the Indie Devs companies created the flashlight application. The app commands the phone to turn the flashlight on until the user asks to turn it off.
The technology behind a smartphone’s flashlight is pretty simple. It is similar to having a lamp in your house that you can turn on and off anytime.
What Was the First Phone to Have Flashlight?
Nobody knows which phone was the first one to create a flashlight. In the 2000s, the cellphone market was highly competitive. Countries like Japan, the U.K., and the United States were competing to release the next great smartphone.
The first smartphone created was the Simon Personal Communicator (SPC), invented in 1994 by IBM (Internation Bussiness Machine), a United States tech corporation.
The SPC had a touchscreen and could receive and send faxes and emails. Although it does not look like a contemporary smartphone, it has many features that every smartphone has.
A smartphone must have strong hardware capabilities and extensive mobile operating systems. The Canadian BlackBerry, Nokia’s Symbian, and Windows Mobiles were important and famous smartphones.
The first smartphone similar to the ones that we use nowadays is the iPhone, released in 2007 by Apple Inc. It was a big hit in the industry, and it was a revolution in the entire world. The invention of the iPhone changed the world’s communication.
Yet, the flashlight was only available on iPhones in 2013, when the iOS 7 brought flashlight controls. It took Apple three years to install LED lights on the back of their phones.
Before 2010, some apps would turn the iPhone’s screens bright white, and there have been unofficial flashlight apps for iPhones since 2010.
Do All Smartphones Have Flashlights Now?
Yes, they do. Only a few OS are available nowadays besides Android and iOS, and these two have a flashlight app built into their systems.
The HTC Dream, released in 2008, is the first Android smartphone globally. The product is from the Thai company THC. Meanwhile, Google bought Android Inc in 2005.
The date of creating the first flashlight app for Android devices has yet to be determined. That is because Android is very different from iOS. Anyone can develop apps for Android, while Apple makes most iOS apps.
Android 5.0 Lollipop was released in 2014. It enabled the flashlight toggle for all Android devices with this update. Before it, some devices used the flashlight app while others would not.
The flashlight app is safe?
Nowadays, every smartphone OS comes with a flashlight app built-in. However, from 2010 to 2014, many users had to download unknown flashlight apps to use their phone’s flashlights since Android and iOS did not have this feature.
Older phones still do not have an OS built-in flashlight app, forcing users to download unknown flashlight apps. These apps seem harmless, but they are not. Security companies and apps discovered that the flashlight apps sold the users’ information to advertisers and data companies.
This 2013 The Guardian article shows a flashlight app responsible for sending the users’ location and device data to advertisers. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged the flashlight app company over 50 million downloads. Even though the app would ask for the user’s permission, it would lie about using the licenses and collecting your data even when you refuse it.
The Komando report shows some apps contain malware, so be careful. However, you don’t need to download a flashlight app nowadays.
The Sanyo company released the first phone globally with a camera and LED flash in 2002. The smartphone companies saw it could keep the LED on longer to use as a flashlight.
So, the flashlight became a thing during the 2000s. The iOS 7 brought the flashlight toggle feature in 2013, and the Android 5.0 Lolipop got the same quality in 2014.
The phone market is very competitive, so knowing which flashlight app or smartphone was the first with a flashlight application is impossible. The flashlight invention indeed occurred somewhere between 2006 and 2010.