50 years ago. Not only was this a light and portable camera for everyday use, the film came in a sealed cartridge so users didn't have to hunt for a dark place to drop in the film and thread the leader.
Although Kodak offered the Instamatic in a wide range of sizes and technical capabilities over the years, with various price points to match, the entry-level point and shoot variety (with or without flash) was especially popular with teens and young families.
In the Instamatic's first 7 years on the market, Kodak sold 50 million units. These days, Kodak is busy getting its finances in order to exit from bankruptcy. The new Kodak will focus on commercial printing equipment and services, not cameras and film.
Now compare the Instamatic's sales history with Instagram's free photo-sharing app, available first for iPhones and then for Android phones.
Launched in 2010, Instagram now has more than 100 million users. Of course, the price (zero) has a lot to do with Instagram's success, as does the almost universal desire to instantly share photos with friends and relatives. Another key element is the incredibly speedy adoption of smartphones worldwide.
Instagram is part of the Facebook family of apps these days. What new innovations will it launch next?