It is enough to look back a few years and we can see how fast the development in the world of mobile phones is. New technologies and trends are increasing practically every year, although not all of them will prove to be a new standard.
Over the past 30 years, we have had the opportunity to see a number of revolutionary devices that have fundamentally influenced the direction of the industry, or at least unforgettably enrolled in it. In this article, we have prepared for you the 14 most important mobile phones from the last three decades. We will remind everybody how he looked, and especially what he brought.
Nokia 1011 (1992)
Although mobile phones existed before the introduction of this Nokia, they were very expensive and limited devices available. The Nokia 1011 was certainly not a cheap, but it was the first mass-produced mobile phone for the general public. The phone used the global GSM band to communicate, so it could be used virtually anywhere.
Nokia 1011 had 99 contacts memory and even displayed SMS messages on the black and white display. This was one of the first phones to send and receive text messages in the GSM network.
Motorola StarTAC (1996)
Motorola StarTAC will impress with its design maybe even today. In 1996, however, she acted as a revelation. It was the first phone to use a hinged clamshell design. In addition, the StarTAC was incredibly small and weighed only 88 grams. Pocket size was a great marketing attraction. Magazine ads at the time included real-sized cardboard outlines that everyone could snatch and see how miniature a cell phone could be.
Motorola StarTAC was available in two versions. At first only as an analog phone, later as a digital device capable of sending and receiving SMS messages. It is also interesting that there was a possibility to buy a Li-Ion battery, which provided longer battery life than the then massively expanded NiMH batteries.
The phone attracted attention, appeared in many Hollywood movies and became a kind of social status symbol. No wonder, as early as 1996 it cost $ 1,000. In spite of the high price, however, about 60 million units were sold, which is a truly respectable figure given the conditions at the time.
Nokia 9000 Communicator (1996)
In the same year as the miniature Motorola saw the light of the world the first Nokia phone in the Communicator series. If Motorola went the way of a fashionable handheld device, in Finnish Nokia they bet on demanding professional users. Nokia 9000 Communicator is sometimes referred to as the first smartphone.
The Nokia 9000 Communicator was no crumb – the weight was almost 400 grams. But the equipment was worth it. The phone opened futuristically on the longer side, resembling a miniature laptop. When opened, a QWERTY keyboard and a widescreen monochrome display with a resolution of 640 × 200 px appeared. Nokia has equipped this phone with the PEN / GEOS 3.0 operating system, which used the services of the Intel i386 processor (24 MHz) and 8MB of shared memory.
As already mentioned, this model is considered the first phone that really deserves the attribute “smart”. In addition to making calls and sending SMS messages, the Nokia 9000 Communicator was also able to send and receive emails and faxes, and even had a web browser. Surfing the web was not quite comfortable, but it was possible – at that time really was not standard. The applications also included a calculator, notes, calendar or terminal.
Nokia 3310 (2000)
Nokia 3310 is perhaps the most famous phone in the world. The iconic “indestructible brick” features in many jokes and many still remember it for its steadfast reliability. It was a phone introduced at a time when ownership of a mobile phone was no longer a privilege of the richer and the market was already divided into different classes. Nokia 3310 was rather the lower one. Still, it offered interesting features that were not common with cheaper mobile phones at the time.
The equipment included a calculator, stopwatch, reminder, speed dial, profiles, or vibrating ringtones. These were not entirely new features, but only the Nokia 3310 standardized them. A completely new feature was a kind of SMS chat, but it didn’t take much – every message costed like a classic SMS. On the contrary, it was popular to support long messages, which could be divided into three SMS of standard length.
Nokia 3310 also inherently includes games, there were four: Pairs II, Space Impact, Bantumi and especially the massively popular Snake II. Not to forget the easy-to-replace Xpress-on covers, which allowed you to customize the design of your phone to your own image.
Danger Hiptop / T-Mobile Sidekick (2002)
In the USA at that time attracted much attention and became mass popular. The phone used the concept of a display ejecting on the longer side and was designed to be held with both hands. This was also related to the emphasis on social and entertainment features of the mobile.
The device initially saw the light of the world as Danger Hiptop, but due to cooperation with T-Mobile later was also called T-Mobile Sidekick. The original version still had a monochrome display, two years later introduced successor offered already a color LCD. Features such as calculator, calendar, IM client (AIM, Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger) and WAP browser in the European version. Later versions also attracted D-pad and track ball.
For the entire mobile industry, however, this device family has brought two great “inventions”. The first is to popularize the concept of the application catalog, which was called in DangerOS as Download Catalog. The idea of a universal catalog of apps and games was later taken over by Android and iOS.
The second and for that time quite revolutionary idea was the inclusion of cloud backup. All user settings, notes, calendar and scheduler entries, contacts and, in later versions, photos were stored on the manufacturer’s servers. For a new or reset device, all you had to do was enter the user name and password and everything was restored to its original state. The backed up data could also be edited in the web interface.
Motorola RAZR V3 (2004)
The Motorola RAZR V3 was not so much a pioneer of new ideas, but rather a demonstration of the best that this type of mobile phone offered in 2004. The clamshell design of this model was basically perfected and the phone offered the narrowest profile of all clamshell phones on the market.
Unlike its competitors, it was distinguished not only by its very compact design with a pair of color displays, but also by its electroluminescent keyboard of flat design. Relatively innovative was also the use of a single mini USB connector, which was used for charging, data transfer, as well as a port for headphones. The Motorola RAZR V3 has enjoyed massive sales success, and with 130 million units sold, it has become the best-selling clamshell phone ever.
RAZR V3 can also be seen as the end of one era. In the years to come, the small, smart phones began to give way to much larger devices with better equipment, gradually being pushed out by touch phones.
Blackberry Curve (2007)
At the beginning of the millennium, Blacberry produced interesting innovative phones, of which the original Blacberry Curve model from 2007 is worth mentioning. This phone offered everything that belongs to the Blackberry brand – a QWERTY keyboard and a large display – but in a relatively compact package.
The phone has become popular not only with managers, but also with the wider public. In addition to communication functions, emphasis was also placed on multimedia. The Curve was equipped with a built-in camera and in a later version even learned to record video in 3GP.
There was also the ability to surf the web, although Wi-Fi was not available in the original version. However, it got into the facelifted phone quite soon and even GPS followed. If you needed a well-equipped yet stylish phone in 2007/8, the Blackberry Curve was just a clear choice. In addition, the phone was relatively affordable, selling for $ 200.
Nokia N95 (2007)
The Nokia N95 was introduced in 2007 and the Finnish company was slowly beginning to lose its former dominant position in the mobile phone market. However, the N95 was an example that there is much to offer. The company itself offered the device as a “multimedia computer” and without exaggeration it can be said that he could basically do everything you could have wanted from a classic mobile phone.
The slide-out design ensured quite compact dimensions while maintaining a large display and more or less full-sized keyboards complemented by special multimedia buttons. Movies, music, built-in navigation and much more could be played on the large 2.6 ″ 240 x 320 px display. The high quality 5Mpx camera with flash and Carl Zeiss optics was also a big draw.
It also features GPS, Wi-Fi, voice control, Bluetooth connectivity for a wireless keyboard, an FM radio, an accelerometer, and even a TV connector. Nokia N95 was also one of the first to support HSDPA networks (the so-called 3.5 G).
In January of the same year as the Nokia N95 was also introduced the original iPhone. Although it wasn’t such a well-equipped phone in terms of many parameters (only 2Mpx camera, absence of 3G, non-existent App Store), it still meant a complete revolution.
It was the first full-touch phone to show that the phone does not have to rely on buttons or stylus. Fingertip control, in addition with multitouch support, captured the world and definitely set the trend for years to come. So well equipped devices such as the aforementioned Nokia have not been able to keep pace with the upcoming era of fully touch smartphones in the coming years.
In addition, the original iPhone was relatively affordable, although in the USA it could only be purchased with a two-year contract with the operator. The basic 4GB version sold for $ 499.
HTC Dream / T-Mobile G1 (2008)
HTC Dream, often also sold under the name T-Mobile G1, was the first commercially available Android phone that was already owned by Google. The slide-out design with the QWERTY keyboard wasn’t revolutionary, but the situation was different for the operating system.
Android 1.0 impressed with deep integration with Google services, notification bar, Android Market and WebKit browser. The innovative “open” concept of the system was also appreciated, which was in contrast to established order.
HTC Dream lacked any important feature, but the reviews were somewhat mixed. On the one hand, the advantages of the system mentioned in the previous paragraph were highlighted, but on the other hand the criticism of the appearance, the control by the number of navigation keys or the poor quality display was criticized. Even so, the phone inherently belongs to the mobile Hall of Fame – it started the Android era.
Motorola Droid (2009)
If HTC Dream brought Android to the scene, the Motorola Droid popularized it. A futuristic-looking phone with a name licensed from Star Wars creators was widely promoted in a massive marketing campaign that presented Android as the future and was openly opposed the iPhone. For example, one of the TV commercials was to list the functions that the apple phone does not have. For example, US customers could read slogans such as “iDont multitask” highlighting the weakness of competing iPhone.
Reviews praised the phone’s speed, compact size, and great alignment with Google’s ecosystem. On the contrary, somewhat imperfect user environment lagged behind Apple’s competition. At that time, Motorola was still betting on a hardware keyboard, but it was already late.
Although the Motorola Droid was not the perfect phone with the perfect operating system, the marketing campaign combined with Verizon’s offers (which at the time did not have ideal relationships with Apple) did its thing. In the US, the phone has become very popular and in sales is estimated to have surpassed the original iPhone in the first 74 days. Android had its place sure for the next time.
Palm Pre (2009)
Palm Pre was an interesting smartphone that first introduced the webOS operating system. Palm Pre was equipped with a camera, multimedia features, navigation, multitasking, Bluetooth and WiFi, and even supported wireless charging. Yet, more than anything, it was a demonstration that the market for mobile operating systems is already firmly divided.
The first reviews were positive and the phone even became the best-selling phone of the US operator Sprint. Soon, however, began to show major deficiencies of poor construction. The phone cracked, the display slideout mechnism broke, the keyboard worked poorly and the power button didn’t work. Neither media nor users were enthusiastic about slow webOS updates. Also, the inadequacy of the new system and the inability to correctly display some file formats did not help.
Palm was unable to succeed with its phones and was later absorbed by HP. The only memory for this attempt to shuffle the cards already dealt are some of the functions that have borrowed from webOS iOS or Android.
Samsung Galaxy S (2010)
The first generation of the existing Samsung Galaxy S flagship series has shown that a high-end phone without a hardware keyboard can run on Android. Galaxy S attracted the attention of the 4 ″ Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 480 × 800 px. It was also the thinnest smartphone with 9.9mm thickness. Powered by Samsung, the PowerVR graphics chip provided the best graphics performance of any smartphone available at the time.
Samsung Galaxy S has sold over 25 million. South Korean manufacturer has successfully created a series of phones, which today many people perceive as the most direct competition iPhone. It can be seen together with HTC Dream and Motorola Droid as one of three phones indispensable for the success of Android.
Huawei Mate X (2019)
The reason for the inclusion is probably clear, the design with flexible display is probably the biggest revolution in the world of phones since the introduction of the first iPhone.
The question is, of course, whether this style of phones will ever succeed and become the new standard.