Tech Pioneer Philippe Kahn to Star in Super Bowl Ad

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2012-02-05 Print this article Print

Philippe Kahn, an icon in the software and overall IT industry, is slated to talk about his invention of the camera phone as part of a Best Buy commercial that will air during the Super Bowl.

IT industry pioneer Philippe Kahn is set to star in a Super Bowl advertisement during the big game Sunday evening.

Kahn, who founded software tools powerhouse Borland International and other concerns, is slated to take part in a Best Buy spot focusing on tech innovators during the Super Bowl. The Best Buy Super Bowl commercial is expected to air during the first quarter of the game. In addition to Kahn, other innovators in the ad include Kevin Systrom, creator of Instagram; and Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square mobile.

In his spot, Kahn will be talking about his €œinvention€ of the camera phone. In 1997, for the birth of his daughter Sophie, Kahn rigged up a MacGyver-like cell phone, camera and network connection to snap and distribute photos of his new arrival. A link to an interview with Kahn about his innovation can be found here.

€œIt€™s not like people hadn€™t put lenses in phones before, but what I€™d done was made the Polaroid of the 21st century€”the first camera, the first phone that could point, shoot and share instantly,€ Kahn said. €œThis was 1997; the Web was only four years old.€

eWEEK initially covered Kahn€™s part in the creation of the camera phone back in 2007. That report read:

Kahn said he took his laptop, digital camera and cell phone into the hospital with him to take photos of his new baby and send them around to friends. He said he had to make a kludgy device to make his invention work as a unit, but he rigged a primitive camera phone.

"Andy Seybold, the well-known wireless guru, was on my list and got those pictures and contacted me immediately and said: This is really cool, it looks like you€™re doing this in real time, live. How do you do this? I want one," Kahn said. "That€™s when Sonia and I realized that this would be the essence of our new company, LightSurf. Motorola was in the process of acquiring Starfish, and the rest happened in the market.€

Today, Kahn goes back to when he realized he had something that could really take off.

€œThe €˜ah-ha€™ moment was the moment I realized that 2,000 people were going to get that very first picture,€ he said. €œThat was the first application. And then we thought there€™d be applications in all sorts of areas. Citizen journalism was a big one, but telemedicine, scanning, bar codes€”all kinds of stuff we can name. We realized there were lots of implications.€


Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel