Top 5 phones before the smartphone era
The ‘Old is Gold’ phrase seems to have no relevance to the smartphone market today, as we witness a plethora of devices releasing each day, each with better capabilities. While companies are pushing boundaries of technology to an unimaginable extent, we take a look at some of the earlier mobile phones which, today, might seem obscure but were nothing short of a miracle in those times. Many of these models have been taken out from production, yet it’s worthwhile to remember them and wonder what made these phones the stars of those days.
Key features: sturdy, flash-torch, vibrating alert, AOL instant messaging (some variants)
The now reeling Finnish manufacturer was once a leading innovator in the mobile segment. And Nokia 1100 was its testimony: excellent build quality, light-weight, vibrator alert, built-in flashlight and what not. It was nothing short of a revolution, particularly in developing countries for which it was designed. A 50-message memory, alarms and reminders, stopwatch and games – all led to Nokia selling two hundred million models worldwide. That’s more than twice of iPhone 4 models sold. It almost became a cult phone, a phenomenon. Have a look at this comparison.
Key features: colour screen, polyphonic ringtones, very high standby time.
Emboldened by the success of the 1100, Nokia released the 1600 in 2005. Having a colour display was certainly a big thing to pull off at that time, and Nokia put 65K of them. It was one of the first ones to have a four-way scroll key (which ultimately became a standard for Nokia), polyphonic ringtones, 4MB internal memory and many attractive wallpapers and themes. With a 900 mAh Li-ion battery, the phone offered a staggering 450h of standby time and upto 5 h of talk time. A perfect reminiscent of Nokia’s days of glory.
Motorola Razr V3
Key features: new clamshell design, extremely thin, front LCD screen.
Think style quotient and the Moto Razr will flash upon that inward eye. The clamshell phone was an instant bombshell, selling two million units in two years worldwide. The phone had the thinnest profile at the time, and sported an electroluminescent keypad made out of a single metal wafer. It was also fitted with an industry standard mini USB port. But the highlight was the small LCD screen on the front: the caller’s name would flash upon it and you needed to just flip open to receive the call. How trendy!
BlackBerry Bold 9000
Key features: A business-class phone, 3G-enabled, internet connectivity
A phone that came to define the Canadian company. BlackBerry Bold 9000 was a 3G-enabled QWERTY phone with a trackball and a good 222 pixels per inch density. With 1 GB internal memory and a microSD card slot, this one was certainly ahead of its times. With its internet connectivity and RIM’s business applications, BlackBerry Bold became the first choice for the executive class. But the timing couldn’t be right: the same year Apple released the iPhone and the phone had to be discontinued later.
Sony Ericsson W902
Key features: Dedicated music keys, MP3 ringtones, front and rear camera.
Sony Ericsson, too, had its days. When it launched the walkman series in 2008 with W902, people actually realized that music was an integral part of any phone. Having dedicated music keys and a cool pair of earphones was the biggest plus point. It had a TFT screen with 256K colours, MP3 ringtones, upto 8 GB extended memory, a stunning 5MP camera with LED flash and even a secondary camera for video calls. It was a dynamite of features and hooked everyone looking for a cool gadget.
Ah! That might have refreshed your memory a little. A look back at what it was certainly makes us think how far mobile technology has come, and how eventful has been the decade-long transition from a phone to a smartphone.
Abhishek Mittal is an engineering student by profession and a creative writer by passion. Pursuing his B.E. in Electrical and Electronics from BITS Pilani Hyderabad, he is the Co-Editor of Gadgetronica and is deeply interested in the latest happenings of the gadget-world. Often targeted as an Apple fanboy, Abhishek closely follows the business strategies of all the tech-giants, and sometimes predict the future too!
27 January, 2013