How a Proud Father Changed the World of Communication Forever
Tech entrepreneur and new dad Philippe Kahn took the first cell phone picture ever
For anyone under the age of 30, life before cell phones probably seems like the dark ages. The thought of not being able to snap a photo and immediately post it on their social media or send it to a friend probably gives a lot of young people anxiety. Instagram alone has over 10 million users.
I remember having to take photos with an actual camera, place the used film in an envelope, drop it in the bin, and then wait a week before returning to pick up the photos, most of which were terrible. Everyone I knew had stacks and stacks of photo albums because that was the only way to store your priceless memories.
I don’t remember the first photo that I took with a cell phone, but I’m sure it was of something dumb. Philippe Kahn, however, wanted to take a photo of something so precious that he actually invented the cell phone camera. The first cell phone photo ever taken was of his newborn daughter, who was still adjusting to life in the outside world of the maternity ward.
Kahn was born in 1952 in Paris, France, to Jewish immigrants. His mother, Claire Monis, was an Auschwitz survivor and a lieutenant in the French resistance, while his father was a self-educated mechanical engineer. Kahn studied mathematics at the ETH Zurich in Switzerland and at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis in France, where he received his master’s degree. While only a student, Kahn developed software for the MICRAL, which is the first-ever microprocessor-based personal computer.
After joining the workforce, Kahn founded four software companies, Borland in 1982, Starfish Software in 1994, LightSurf Technologies in 1998, and Fullpower Technologies in 2005. His companies focused on technology ranging from wireless synchronization to wearable technology. As many contributions as Kahn has made to the tech world during his career, it was a personal endeavor that cemented his place in modern technological history.