It was in Japan, as with many crazy trends, that the idea of the camera-phone first surfaced. DSLRs were only really beginning to hit the mainstream, and the public still had an infatuation with film.
With the release of the Sanyo SCP-5300, the first camera-phone to be released in the US, things began to change, as convenience overtook consideration.
Here was a camera that could be carried at all times, putting the power of a 0.3 MP sensor in the hands of the masses. Though image quality was poor, a powerful idea had been planted, and flip-phones continued to lead the charge.