Can you still remember your first mobile phone? We bet it’s pretty different to the one you’re rocking now! Over the last 20 years, we’ve seen a truly amazing rise in technology that’s taken mobile phones from big and bulky to sleek and smart.
That said, some of those older phones did have a certain chunky charm – join us on a little trip down memory lane and check out a few classics from some of the biggest names in mobile design.
There was a time when it felt as though everyone had a Nokia 3310. The characteristic, two-tone design was ubiquitous in the year 2000 and there were plenty of good reasons why. This mobile wunderkind was basically a smaller, lighter and snazzier version of the earlier 3210 model and boasted all the same great features, including a usable texting system, 35 ringtones (as well as the ability to compose your own) and the gaming classic, Snake.
The handset was affordable, boasted swappable front and back panels, fit a hand in a very pleasing way and had loads of smart features that we take for granted now. The brand might not be quite as iconic as it once was, but it still produces reliable, charming and affordable phones like the Nokia 215.
Another classic hit the shelves in 2000 and while it didn’t sweep the market in quite the same way as the Nokia 3310, it was a real favourite with music buffs. Which was no surprise, as the Samsung SPH-M100 was the very first phone to offer an MP3 player with integrated storage.
With around an hour of playtime, it’s a far cry from the kind of performance we see from today’s smartphones but it was a real breakthrough at the time and music fans snapped it up. Samsung still puts plenty of focus on music features, the S6 Edge Plus has Bluetooth audio accessories that support UHQ Audio.
There are few phones that have been as influential as the BlackBerry and without the 957, would push messaging have ever really become a thing? The BlackBerry 957 Internet Edition used a BB Redirector to make sure that when an email arrived in the user’s inbox, it would also be pushed onto the phone – a revolutionary development for affordable handsets and a real boon for business folk of all stripes.
Sony Ericsson T68i
In 2002, there were few phones as popular as the Sony Ericsson T68i, which came with a glorious 1.3 x 1.1-inch screen boasting 256 colours. It wasn’t the first colour phone to come out but it was the first one that really caught people’s imaginations. Maybe because it also had a cool, futuristic looking body as well as loads of popular features, like two-way MMS, Bluetooth, WAP browsing and email. It put the internet in people’s pocket – and they’ve never looked back since!
Motorola Razr V3
With the Razr, Motorola rewrote the rulebooks. It was the first really thin phone to hit the market and in 2004, it went down a storm. In fact, it started a trend that continues to this day, as manufacturers still work at making phones as thin as they possibly can.
This nifty little flip phone also had a flat keyboard and a tough metal skin and it really was the design that hooked people in, because it wasn’t as powerful as plenty of other phones released at the time. These days, design is still important to Motorola, but performance is taking centre stage too, just look at the Moto G4 and its clutter-free version of Android and focus on speed.