Blast from the Past: The Daily Show Slams Camera Phones as a Useless Combination

In 2004, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart took on a burgeoning technology that they saw as a completely nonsensical mix of two things: the camera phone. As Ed Helms puts it in the “digital watch” segment above, the technology “combines the rapid battery depletion of a high-powered digital camera with the image production capability of a phone.”

Vox dug up the clip yesterday, and we have to say, it’s a GEM of a find. Hindsight being 20/20, it seems absurd to mock camera phones now, but most of us would have probably agreed with Helms at the time. Kodak had only JUST in January of that year stopped selling film cameras to Europe and North America… do you really think they were already looking for the next threat to their bottom line?


It’s also funny to see Helms talk about the privacy concerns raised by having a camera in your pocket at all times… seems ridiculous now, but will this be how we feel about the issues raised by Google Glass detractors today? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Check out the funny segment for yourself up top, and then drop us a line in the comments about what technology of today you think people are underestimating the way Helms and Stewart underestimated the camera phone.

(via Vox)

Update: Here is a YouTube edit (with one small joke cut out) for those of you who aren’t in the US and can’t watch the Daily Show embed at the top:

  • JFo

    next new tech: phones that can print.

  • John Reinert Nash

    Zink phone!

  • Mark Philpott

    It’s no wonder (with a few notable exceptions) that America as a nation is sliding backwards compared to the rest of the world.

  • Dover

    Because walking on the moon, sending spacecraft out of the solar system while relaying images back to Earth and landing on Mars is sooooooo backwards.

  • SeoulFood


  • Mike Smith

    C’mon, seriously? This clip is from *ten years ago*.

  • Smarten_Up

    I still carry a separate phone and camera, each doing what it does best.

  • AgiHusseinofy

    my buddy’s sister makes $87 every hour on the internet
    . She has been unemployed for 6 months but last month her payment was $19402
    just working on the internet for a few hours. go right here M­o­n­e­y­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

  • Dover

    It was just a little kibble…..

  • Mark Wheadon

    And when that video was shot, they _were_ a joke. Just not any more.

  • David Alex

    What year was this?

  • Josef Ferguson

    The first two words of the article.

  • the truth hurts


  • happybana

    This is actually what I keep thinking whenever people mock Google glass. I remember people making the same comments about camera phones and smartphones when they each came out. Everyone will have wearable tech in a couple years.

  • ddt9

    Well, it’s also pretty similar to the mockery faced by the Segway on its announcement, and Segway creeped out far fewer people than glass. Whether the citizens of 2024 will be wearing their technology is a different question from whether they’ll be wearing an unsightly high definition video camera strapped to their head.

  • happybana

    It’s unsightly because it’s a baby technology. Go back and look at the first camera phones and smartphones. I’ll wait.

  • ddt9

    You missed the bulk of my argument to focus on the crack at the device’s aesthetics. Yes, it took visual improvement to sell people on smart phones and tablets. No, that doesn’t mean wearables will catch on when they get put into shinier packages. History is littered with interesting ideas that were rejected by the mainstream.