The most iconic phones from Nokia 9000 to Apple’s iPhone 7


Samsung Electronics is set to introduce its new flagship lineup, the Galaxy S22, on Wednesday.

If alleged leaks are to be heeded, the world is about to see another turning point in the rapidly changing smartphone market.

Numerous reports have indicated that the top-end device, the S22 Ultra, will have a built-in slot for the S Pen, the Galaxy Note series’ signature accessory. Not only would that throw the future of the popular phablet into uncertainty, but it would also signal Samsung’s point of pushing foldable devices into the mainstream, with its Z series replacing the Note.

Over the decades, there have been several iconic and memorable mobile phone launches. Although some had a low-key launch, they have continued to have a huge influence on the industry.

Here are 10 of the most iconic mobile phones we’ve seen, in chronological order. It was hard to narrow down the list to just 10, so honorable mentions go to Huawei’s P and Mate series, OnePlus’ flagship killer, Google’s attempts at the Pixel, and the whole BlackBerry.

Motorola DynaTAC 8000X (1973)

The rest of the competition can lay claim to many firsts, but only Motorola can claim to have launched the first commercially available portable cell phone, the DynaTAC 8000X, back in 1973.

Weighing over a kilo and requiring 10 hours of charge for just 30 minutes of talk time, it was huge indeed – literally and figuratively. It also came with a hefty price tag: $3,995, or about $25,000 in today’s dollars.

IBM Simon (1994)

IBM Simon had a touch screen and the oldest form of applications.  Photo: Wikipedia

Although it wasn’t technically a smartphone – a term that wouldn’t be coined until more than a decade later – the IBM Simon was retroactively dubbed the world’s first smartphone, endorsed even by Microsoft and the World Economic Forum.

Thanks to its advanced features at the time, this personal digital assistant included a touchscreen (yes, even before the iPhone), email capabilities, and apps (before apps were cool) including a calculator , a calendar and a sketchbook. And no, neither Palm nor Microsoft were the first to include styluses on their personal digital assistants, because Simon was ahead of them.

Nokia 9000 Communicator (1996)

Nokia 9000 series devices Communicator on Smartphone.25 - Tell a story!  exhibition in Frankfurt.  Getty

In the mid-1990s, connecting to the Internet and sending e-mails were reserved for certain companies and individuals. Nokia sought to bring these services to the masses with the launch of the 9000 Communicator in 1996.

It was a novel idea – a mobile phone with a (full) keyboard and, especially in later versions, great graphics. But, as with any new concept, its high price ($800 at launch, equivalent to over $1,400 today) was a major sticking point.

Kyocera VP-210 (1999)

The Kyocera VP-210 had a front camera and can transmit two frames per second over a mobile phone line.  AFP

There’s a whole slew of things to know whether it was Samsung or Sharp that first released a mobile phone with a camera in 2000. But the most widely recognized is the Kyocera VP-210, which has debuted in 1999.

The VP-210 had only a 0.11 megapixel front camera, could store up to 20 jpeg files, and send two files per second over the Japanese cellular network. Although having a built-in camera in a phone was not a Kyocera original, the device was the first to be released, and only in Japan. It probably would have been a worldwide viral sensation if social media had existed back then.

Siemens SL45 (2000)

The Siemens SL45 was the first mobile phone with expandable memory.  Photo: Wikipedia

Even at the beginning of this century, owning a mobile phone was a luxury, with considerable prices. Siemens has decided to entice consumers by adding a new feature: music.

The SL45, which was introduced in 2000, was the first mobile phone with memory expansion (a whopping 32MB at the time) and the ability to store MP3 music files – around 10 tracks, assuming each song was around 3MB. People could listen to songs directly from a device that was not a Walkman or Discman.

Later that year, Apple shook up the industry with the iPod, which could store a thousand songs, beginning the shift to digital music that would transform the music industry.

Apple iPhone (2007)

Steve Jobs with the original Apple iPhone at the MacWorld conference in San Francisco on January 9, 2007. AP

No list like this would be complete without the iPhone, Apple’s revolutionary technological device that spawned the App Store and several other services. At the time, the device was a bold move by Steve Jobs and Co, even drawing mockery from Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer.

Mr. Ballmer couldn’t be worse off; For perspective, in the quarter ended March 31, 2012, iPhone revenue beat Microsoft’s entire, $22.7bn to $17.4bn. It is a trend that continues; Apple is the most valuable company in the world. Its market capitalization hovers around the $3 trillion mark, a level it breached on January 3.

HTC Dream (2008)

The HTC Dream ran on the very first version of Google's Android operating system.  Photo: Wikipedia

Amidst the ocean of Android devices today, it was the HTC Dream that led the first wave in 2008. It had Gmail, a customizable user interface, and the original Android Market.

Most people who made the switch to an Android smartphone from Google more than a decade ago didn’t know what operating system their device was running on. All they probably knew was that it was something called Android, which was the answer to Apple’s iOS onslaught and making up a massive 70 percent of the market as of January 2022, according to Statista.

Samsung Galaxy Note (2011)

The original Samsung Galaxy Note made the term

Before the original Note, the Taiwanese HTC had several devices that had styluses. But it was Samsung that nailed the tech recipe right: a big screen, intuitive graphics and, of course, an advanced pointing device in the S Pen.

The Galaxy Note – launched a year after the original Galaxy S – would become the standard for pen-powered mobile devices for a decade, and has remained virtually unchallenged until now. But with the announced integration of the S Pen with the Galaxy S22 Ultra, it will be interesting to see what the future of the Note holds.

Apple iPhone 7 (2016)

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - September 17, 2016: Apple staff hands out phones to customers at the Apple Store during the iPhone 7 launch at Mall of the Emirates in Dubai.  (Pawan Singh/The National) For news/business.  History of Rezan Oueiti.  ID No - 69670 *** Local Caption *** PS1709- IPHONE7-28.jpg

Apple is no stranger to making major hardware changes. It removed the floppy drive from the 1998 iMac, ditched the optical drive from the 2008 MacBook Air, and removed the physical keyboard from the original iPhone in 2007.

All of this has caused varying degrees of outcry, but perhaps none more so than Apple’s controversial decision to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack port from the 2016 iPhone 7 – launching AirPods at the same time. of origin. Competitors soon followed suit, including Samsung, which initially scoffed at the decision before also removing the headphone jack from the Galaxy Note 10 in 2019.

Fun fact: Apple wasn’t the first modern smartphone brand to do away with the headphone jack; that honor goes to the Oppo Finder, released four years early in 2012.

Samsung Galaxy Fold (2019)

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES.  OCTOBER 02, 2019. Press briefing on the launch of the new Samsung Fold phone at GITEX.  (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Reporter: Alkesh Sharma.  Branch: National.

Of course, Samsung wasn’t the first to launch a foldable smartphone – that title belongs to China’s Royole FlexPai, a low-key launch in 2018 – but the South Korean company was the first to launch the device on the market. General public. .

Today, the Fold is in its third iteration, accompanied by the second generation of the Flip line. Samsung’s bet on foldables is a big one, given that it’s essentially replaced the Note with them – although the Note is expected to live on in the Galaxy S22, which is just hours away from launch.

Updated: February 9, 2022 at 6:32 p.m.


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