Mobile Phones Through Time

Phones Through Time

Mobile phones are a necessity today, no matter what business you’re in.Many of us simply would not manage without our iPhone, S4 or Nokia, but can you remember what mobile phones looked like when they were first released?

So grab your platform shoes and dodgy haircuts, and take a trip down memory lane!

April 3rd 1973 – The Motorola DynaTAC

The DynaTAC wasn’t sold commercially until 1983: it weighed in at 790g, stood 10 inches tall and could only hold 30 phone numbers.

The phone lasted eight hours if left on standby, and only 30 minutes call time, meaning conversation had to be short and to the point.

Priced at $3,995, approximately $9,500 (£5,700) in today’s economy it was hugely successful, eventually giving birth to multiple successors.

Price Today: £500 approx.

1987 – Nokia Cityman 1320

Nokia’s first dip into the mobile phone pool wasn’t until 1987, when it released the Nokia Cityman 1320, for approximately £1600-£1900.

The Cityman1320 weighed 760g and stood 7.2” tall and could last 14 hours on standby, as well as offering around 50 minutes of talk time.

Price today: £150 approx

November 1992 – Nokia 1011

The first commercially available GSM phone that uses the same system we use to this day, the Nokia 1011 perhaps resembles the most familiar device to our mobiles today.

It weighed just shy of half a kilogram, and stood around 7.5” tall. The phone could, however, hold a massive 99 contacts (not that this would be a problem today, if push came to shove...).

The handset was the first to go into mass production, and could last 12 hours on standby or 90 minutes call-time. It was also the first ever phone to use SMS text messaging services.

Price today: £50 approx.

1996- Motorola StarTAC

This was the very first ‘flip’ phone ever made, weighing only 88g, lighter than many phones of recent years.

It was the first phone that had the ability to vibrate and cost approximately £1,400.

This handset was the eventual predecessor to the Motorola Razr V3, one of the most recognisable phones of our recent past.

Price today: £40 approx.

1996- The Nokia 9000 Communicator

Arguably the birthplace of the smartphone, the Nokia 9000 Communicator mixed phones with computers for the very first time.

Driven by the Intel 386 CPU, the phone also boasted an 8 MB internal memory and had email access; it weighed nearly 400g and had a full QWERTY keyboard.

Price today: £300-£900 approx.

1999 - Nokia 7110

The first WAP capable phone, the 7110 was made famous from its appearance in the popular Matrix movie.

It weighed 141g and could hold 1000 contacts. Its battery lasted around 260 hours on standby and also offered 4 hours 30 minutes talk time.

Price today: £50-£60 approx.

1999 - Nokia 3210

The first phone to feature an internal antenna, the Nokia 3210 sold over 160 million units, one of the most popular phones of all time.

It weighed 151g, featured the hugely popular mobile phone game ‘Snake’ and helped introduce T9 predictive text. The phone still has a cult following today thanks to its incredible durability.

Price today: £10-£15

2000 - Samsung Uproar

The first phone that was able to play mp3 files, the Uproar had a 64 MB internal memory and weighed 113g.

It opened up the age of music and media being a main part of the mobile phone business which we now see as a vital part of our handheld devices.

Price now: £50 approx.

2000- Sharp J-SH04

The first ever camera phone, which was only available in Japan, had a 0.1 megapixel camera and started a now highly contested trend of phones featuring cameras.

Price now: N/A in the UK

2001 - Ericsson R520m

The first phone with built in Bluetooth technology, the R520m weighed 106g and opened the door for data transfer between mobile devices after infrared technology.

Price now: £30 approx.

2003 - Nokia 7600

One of the world’s first 3G enabled phones, the oddly shaped Nokia 7600 had a 29 MB internal memory and began the push to the 4G networks we are seeing launched across the globe today.

Price today: £30-£40 approx.

2004 – Nokia 6630

The Nokia 6630 was the first phone that allowed complete global roaming, essentially meaning that the handset could be used no matter which country you were in.

Price today: £20-£30

2007 – iPhone (first generation)

Arguably the biggest name in the mobile phone business, the iPhone was released in 2007, introducing us to the smartphones we see today.

The first generation of iPhone is now considered obsolete by Apple so no longer receives updates or servicing, and it led to the development of all the recent releases from Apple, right up the iPhone 5s.

This opening model could have 4, 8 or 16 GB of internal storage and featured a 2 megapixel camera.

Price today: £100+ approx.

2009 – BlackBerry Curve 8520

One of the most common BlackBerrys ever made, the Canadian company was one of the most popular manufacturers on the market, especially with businessmen and women, who liked the phone’s QWERTY keyboard and successful email system.

But as other manufacturers pushed forward in development, BlackBerry simply stood still. Add this to a scarce app store and its multiple software issues and the decline for BlackBerry began.

The company have tried to catch up but still stand a real distance behind the likes of Apple and Google, with its poor sales still proving evident to this day.

Price today: £45 approx.

2009 – HTC Dream

The HTC was the first ever Android powered phone; it featured a 3 megapixel camera and was the trigger for the ongoing battle between Android and iOS for dominance of the mobile OS market.

Price today: £60 approx.

Present day – S4, iPhone 5, HTC One

This is where we meet with the present day’s phones, the likes of Apple, Samsung and HTC among some of the top names on the market.

All of them offer many times the amount of power that some of the phones we’ve seen here do, but they’ve all lost key aspects as well.

Physical keyboards are nearly obsolete, with consumers falling in love with smooth and easy to use touch screens. Battery life is forever an issue, many people recall not charging their older phones for days on end with no issue, now they only last a day or two at best.

It’s been an astonishing development since 1973, but what can we expect now?

2014+ - Future Phones?

Could these phones be the future of mobile communication?

Many concepts seem to take on the stretch/bend approach to help increase and decrease screen size for the user.

This would stop the arguments between different model supporters comparing screen sizes etc.

Whether this technology is possible in the near future however is another question altogether.

Do You have one of these vintage handsets? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

By Luke Hatfield

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