First nokia phone year. History of mobile phones and the first mobile phone

History of mobile phones and the first mobile phone

Although most of us feel like we couldn’t live without our mobile phones, they’ve not really been in existence for very long.

In fact, mobile phones as we know them today have only been around in the last 20 years.

When were mobile phones invented?

Mobile phones, particularly the smartphones that have become our inseparable companions today, are relatively new.

However, the history of mobile phones goes back to 1908 when a US Patent was issued in Kentucky for a wireless telephone.

Mobile phones were invented as early as the 1940s when engineers working at ATT developed cells for mobile phone base stations.

The very first mobile phones were not really mobile phones at all. They were two-way radios that allowed people like taxi drivers and the emergency services to communicate.

Instead of relying on base stations with separate cells (and the signal being passed from one cell to another), the first mobile phone networks involved one very powerful base station covering a much wider area.

Motorola, on 3 April 1973 were first company to mass produce the the first handheld mobile phone.

These early mobile phones are often referred to as 0G mobile phones, or Zero Generation mobile phones. Most phones today rely on 3G or 4G mobile technology.

Landmarks in mobile history

Mobile telephony has a long history that started off with experiments of communications from and to moving vehicle rather then handheld devices.

In later years, the main challenges have laid in the development of interoperable standard and coping with the explosive success and ever increasing demand for bandwidth and reliability. By tracking how mobile phone statistics have changed over time, we are able to see how these devices have evolved to the smartphones we use today.

1926: The first successful mobile telephony service was offered to first class passengers on the Deutsche Reichsbahn on the route between Berlin and Hamburg.

1946: The first calls were made on a car radiotelephone in Chicago. Due to the small number of radio frequencies available, the service quickly reached capacity.

1956: The first automated mobile phone system for private vehicles launched in Sweden. The device to install in the car used vacuum tube technology with rotary dial and weighed 40Kg.

It had a total of 125 subscribers between Stockholm and Gothenburg.

1969: The Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) Group was established. It included engineers representing Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. Its purpose was to develop a mobile phone system that, unlike the systems being introduced in the US, focused on accessibility.

1973: Dr Martin Cooper general manager at Motorola communications system division made the first public mobile phone call on a device that weighed 1.1Kg.

1982: Engineers and administrators from eleven European countries gathered in Stockholm to consider whether a Europe wide digital cellular phone system was technically and politically possible. The group adopted the nordic model of cooperation and laid the foundation of an international standard.

1985: Comedian Ernie Wise made the first “public” mobile phone call in the UK from outside the Dicken’s Pub in St Catherine’s dock to Vodafone’s HQ. He made the call in full Dickensian coachman’s garb.

1987: The Technical specifications for the GSM standard are approved. Based on digital technology, it focused on interoperability across national boundaries and consequent different frequency bands, call quality and low costs.

1992: The world’s first ever SMS message was sent in the UK. Neil Papworth, aged 22 at the time was a developer for a telecom contractor tasked with developing a messaging service for Vodafone. The text message read “Merry Christmas” and was sent to Richard Jarvis, a director at Vodafone, who was enjoying his office Christmas party.

1996/97: UK phone ownership stood at 16% of households. A decade later the figure was 80%. The explosion in growth was in part driven the launch of the first pay as you go, non-contract phone service, Vodafone Prepaid, in 1996.

1998: The first downloadable content sold to mobile phones was the ringtone, launched by Finland’s Radiolinja, laying the groundwork for an industry that would eventually see the Crazy Frog ringtone rack up total earnings of half a billion dollars and beat stadium-filling sob-rockers Coldplay to the number one spot in the UK charts.

1999: Emojis were invented by Shigetaka Kurita in Japan. Unlike their all-text predecessors emoticons, emojis are pictures. The same year in the UK sees the first shots fired in a supermarket price war, with Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda selling Pay and Go phones at discounted prices. For the first time, you could pick up a mobile phone for just under £40.

The first BlackBerry phone was also unveiled in 1999. Famous for its super-easy email service, BlackBerry handsets were seen as the ultimate business tool, allowing users to read and respond to emails from anywhere. This led to 83% of users reading and responding to work emails while on holiday, and over half admitted to sending emails on the toilet, winning the manufacturer the nickname CrackBerry.

2000: The all-conquering Nokia 3310 crash landed on shop shelves. Naturally it was unscathed and went on to sell 126 million units. Over in Japan, the first commercially available camera phone The Sharp J-SH04, launched in November 2000 in Japan. The only snag? you could only use it in Japan. Europe wouldn’t get its first camera phone until the arrival of the Nokia 6750 in 2002.

2003: The 3G standard started to be adopted worldwide, kicking off the age of mobile internet and paving the way for the rise of smartphones. Honk Kong-based Hutchinson Wampoa owned Three brand offered the first 3G network connection in the UK among other countries. Staying very much on-brand, Three ranged a trio of 3G handsets, namely: the Motorola A830, the NEC e606 and NEC e808.

Nepal was one of the first countries in southern Asia to launch 3G services. One of Nepal’s first companies to offer the service, Ncell, also covered Mount Everest with 3G.

2007: The iPhone debuted. Solely available on O2 at launch in the UK and priced at a then eye-watering 499, Nokia CEO confidently dismissed it as little more than a ‘cool phone’ that wouldn’t translate column inches into market share.

2008: The first Android phone turned up, in the form of the T-Mobile G1. Now dubbed the O.G of Android phones, it was a long way from the high-end Android smartphones we use today. Not least because it retained a physical keyboard and a BlackBerry-style trackball for navigation. This year also saw the advent of both Apple’s App Store and Android Market, later renamed Google Play Store, paving the way for our modern-day app culture and creating a 77 billion industry.

2009: O2 publicly announced that it had successfully demonstrated a 4G connection using six LTE masts in Slough, UK. The technology, which was supplied by Huawei, achieved a peak downlink rate of 150Mbps.

WhatsApp also launched that year, letting customers send and receive calls and messages via the internet. The messaging system now has 1.2 billion users sending more than 10 billion messages a day. Which makes it 50% more popular than traditional texting.

2010: Samsung launched its first Galaxy S smartphone. Usurping former Android giants, HTC, the Samsung Galaxy S range is still the most popular Android brand.

2012: When text messages first arrived, most people didn’t think they’d catch on. Ten years later, Britons were sending a billion messages per month. In 2012, British text volume reached its highest point, with 151 billion sent in the UK alone.

2016: The Pokemon Go app launched worldwide. The free augmented reality game uses the smartphone camera and location to show Pokemon characters in the real world. The aim of the game is to travel to different locations to collect as many Pokemon as possible, leading countless gamers to walk into lamp-posts in their quest to catch ‘em all.

2017: The Nokia 3310 had a revival, sporting a fresh version equipped with basic web browsing, a colourful screen and even a camera. Despite this, it still retained our favourite features from the original 3310, including the iconic design, super-long battery life and even an updated version of Snake. Needless to say, it stole the show at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) tech expo and was one of the biggest hits of the year.

Apple marked ten years in the smartphone game with the all-screen iPhone X and ditched a physical home button for the first time.

Landmark phones: the handsets that made history

From ‘80s menhir-like “brickphones” to the iconic Nokia handsets, these are some of the phones that pushed the boundaries of what was possible and paved the way for today’s smartphones.

1985: Motorola Dynatac 8000X

Known in the industry as “the brick” and visible in many scenes of the 1987 movie Wall Street, the Motorola Dynatac 800X was the first handheld mobile phone and loudly announced the beginning of a new era.

The price? An eye-watering £3,000.

1992: Nokia 1011

The world’s first mass produced phone that used the new GSM digital standard, the Nokia 1011 was ‘available in any colour, as long as it’s black’.

Specs included a monochrome LCD screen, extendable antenna and a memory capable of storing 99 phone numbers.

1996: Motorola StarTAC

The most expensive and desirable phone on the market at the time of its release, the StarTac debuted the clamshell design and was the lightest and smallest phone on the market.

It was also the first phone to be openly marketed as a luxury item.

1997: The Hagenuk GlobalHandy

This little known German-made and impractically minimal handset was the first phone that had no visible external antenna.

1998: Siemens S10

The first phone with a colour screen, Siemens’ S10 was a landmark device by any yardstick.

Although its uninspiring design and tiny 97 x 54-pixel display failed to set the world on fire, it more than merits a place in the annals of mobile phone history.

1998: Nokia 5110

Sponsor of London Fashion Week in 1999, it was an instant success and kickstarted the vogue for customising your handset.

1999: Nokia 7110

Another first for the Finnish phone-maker, the 7110 was the first handset to feature a WAP browser.

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That meant it was capable of browsing the internet. Or at least a stripped down and incredibly slow version of it that was of little use to most people.

But for all that, it was a big step towards the multi-functionality that’s at the core of today’s smartphones.

1999: Motorola Timeport

This was the first tri-Band GSM phone, meaning it worked everywhere around the world.

A must-have for self-proclaimed citizens of the world. And the hordes of Gen X-ers heading to Asia on the backpacker trail. As was the fashion of the time.

2000: Nokia 9210 Communicator

The first serious attempt at an internet-enabled mobile phone, the Communicator was ahead of its time.

It weighed around 400g, so was no-one’s idea of.sized. But on the plus side, it had 8MB of storage and a full keyboard, you could use it as a personal organiser, as well as a web browser and email support.

2000: Sharp J-SH04

Billed as the first commercially available camera phone, Sharp’s effort was only sold in Japan and had a camera resolution of 0.11MP. ‘Blurrycam’ didn’t begin to cover it.

2000: Nokia 3310

Legendarily sturdy, the 3310 was the phone that launched a thousand memes. And with 126 million units shifted, stands as one of the biggest-selling phone of all time.

The battery lasted for days and it was light and truly able at only 133g.

It also introduced the Snake game, customisable ringtones and a silent ‘vibrate’ mode.

2003: Nokia 1100

The Nokia 1100 was launched as a basic phone for developing-world countries back in 2003.

The best part of a decade and a half and one smartphone boom later, it remains the best selling mobile phone of all time.

2004: Motorola Razr V3

The last great flip phone, the Razr was impossibly thin at only 14mm. Unusually for the time, it also had an aluminium casing that looked achingly slick.

Ironically, the overwhelming success of the Razr was probably the main cause of the downfall of Motorola.

In hindsight, it’s apparent that the US phone-maker’s over-reliance on this successful and iconic series caused the company to fall behind, failing to innovate and compete with the soon-to-arrive large-screen phones from LG and Samsung.

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2003: Blackberry 6210

The first true Blackberry phone, which integrated a phone with fully functioning email, web browsing and the much loved Blackberry Messenger.

The Nokia years

Tracing its heritage to paper production, Nokia entered the telecommunications industry first as a supplier of telecommunications equipment to the military and entered the mobile market in the late ‘80s.

Released in 1987, the Mobira Cityman brickphone was Nokia’s answer to the Motorola Dynatac and was an early hit for the nascent company.

But as Nokia’s first GSM phone, the 1011 in 1992, and 1994’s 2100 model that precipitated the Finnish giant’s rise to the top.

Marketed to the business market, the 2110 featured the design that came to be known as the “candybar” format.

It was the lightest and smallest GSM phone available at the time and featured the easy-to-use Nokia menu system.

It was also the first phone to offer a choice of ringtones and marked the debut of the melody that came to be known as “the Nokia ringtone”, based on the Grand Valse composition for classical guitar.

In the ‘90s, Nokia released more handsets than any of its rivals and in 1998 overtook Motorola to become the best-selling mobile phone brand in the world.

By the middle of 1999, Nokia’s Expression series comes to dominate the market with the release of the 3210.

The 3210 was the first to popularise the unmistakable small-candybar shape which was the work of British designer Alastair Curtis.

Its relatively low cost, under £200 on release in the UK, but a lot less by the end of 2000, meant this 3210 was affordable for young people and folk who’d been shut out of the mobile phone market until now. The result was 160 million sales worldwide.

Within a year, the smaller 3310 was released. It was not a revolutionary update from its predecessor, but its compact design, four built-in games (Pairs II, Space Impact, Bantumi, and Snake II) and the fact it could support long SMS messages of up to 459 characters made it a success.

But it was the phone’s sturdy construction and legendary reliability that turned it into an enduring cult. And the best part is, 20 years later, still inspires memes and favourable comparisons to fragile, modern-day smartphones.

Capitalising on a wave of nostalgia, in 2017 Nokia announced the release of an all-new 3310.

Featuring an updated design based on the original candy bar shape, the 3310 version 2.0 added a large 2.4-inch LCD screen, rear camera and an astonishing 25-day standby battery life.

Marketed both as a tribute to the original as well as an alternative to ever-more complex, more advanced smartphones, the new 3310 was priced at around £50 SIM free and was a moderate commercial success.

The spread of 2G technology and the early success of Blackberry phones inspired Nokia to experiment with physical QWERTY keyboards.

The 6800 was notable with its unusual fold-out keyboard, with built-in email and support for Blackberry emails.

The early 2000s were also a time of wild experimentation and Nokia seemed to aim at to release a phone to suit every taste.

It was also the era when mobile phones became fashion accessories and the company certainly wasn’t afraid to bring to market phones with an accent on style. Arguably over substance.

Take the roughly square 7600, for instance. Its shape meant it was difficult to hold in one hand. And because you had to hold it at an angle, it was hard to make calls too.

Then came the 5510 which was essentially a keyboard-shaped phone. Nokia was aware that the shape was seen as unconventional, to say the least.

So much so that in their flagship advertisement for the 5510, the phone is barely shown and the ad closes with the slogan “Looks weird, sounds right”.

The 3650 was one of the early experiments with a keyboard layout. It was marketed as a high-end phone, but the rotary-styled keypad design made it hard to use for texting.

Next was an even stranger layout in the shape of the 2300, which was a basic phone with key shapes that didn’t seem to follow any logic.

A relatively ordinary variant on the 3100 series, the 3220 had a system of LEDs on the sides that could be set up to flash in different colours.

On first impressions, 2007’s Xpress Music featured a fairly standard form factor. But the twist was that the camera could only be enabled by swivelling the bottom half.

Probably the oddest of the lot, the 7280 had neither a touchscreen or a keypad. And if you wanted to send a text message, you had to scroll through each letter with a physical spin dial.

It wasn’t until the N95 in 2006 that Nokia released what could truly be termed a smartphone. It came with the longest list of features you could imagine at the time: Wi-Fi, web browsing, a five-megapixel camera and even built-in GPS.

It sold well, registering over 1 million sales in the UK alone. And for a few months, it seemed Nokia had managed to keep Blackberry’s challenge at bay while establishing a new benchmark of what a mobile phone could and should offer.

But the good times weren’t to last. 2007 saw the release of the iPhone, ushering in the touchscreen era and making Nokia’s Symbian operating system and its reliance on drill-down menus seem cumbersome.

The development of mobile phone technology

The first mobile phone invented for practical use was by a Motorola employee called Martin Cooper who is widely considered to be a key player in the history of mobile phones.

Handsets that could be used in a vehicle had been developed prior to Martin Cooper’s phone, but his was the first usable truly portable mobile telephone.

Cooper made mobile phone history in April 1973 when he made the first ever call on a handheld mobile phone.

17 and beyond

Modern-day smartphones are pretty unrecognisable from the analogue bricks we used to cart around.

The likes of 2017’s iPhone X and Samsung S8 have brought us stunning all-screen fronts that are perfect for watching videos and playing games. Meanwhile, their face-scanning technology enables you to unlock your device just by looking at it.

Professional dual-lens cameras are now becoming standard on high-end smartphones while the handsets themselves are becoming ever more durable, with impressive waterproofing and tough Gorilla Glass screens.

Yet despite all this, Nokia’s 2017 revival of its old classic, the Nokia 3310. was perhaps the most talked-about phone of the year, heralding in a wave of nostalgia for older, simpler devices.

Want to find out what’s coming our way next? Read all about the future of mobile phones

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The History of Cell Phones for Kids

Five billion people worldwide own a cell phone as of 2019, the number is probably more today in 2022. Cell phones are everywhere and can do almost anything. We sometimes forget our smartphones can even make phone calls! But did you know the first cell phone cost 10,000 in today’s money? And before the first cell phone, the only way to make a wireless call was using a phone so big it had to be installed in your car? Let’s explore the history of cell phones!

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Discover the history of cell phones for kids

We’ve covered the history of computers, video game history, and the history of robotics. Now it’s time to dive into how cell phones evolved!

Car Phones (pre 1980s)

Before the 1980s, the only way to make a call was using a phone connected to a wire connected directly to a telephone line or by using a “car phone.” The first car phone was made available in 1946. The reason this phone could barely be called a “mobile” phone was because it weighed 80 pounds (36 kg)! The phone also had to be connected to a car because the phone required so much power that only a car battery was powerful enough to power it. Car phones required so much power and the car phone network had so little capacity because they connected to one far away antenna and all the car phones used the same antenna.

By 1948 there were 4,000 car phones and 117,000 calls per month. The service was really expensive too. in today’s money it cost 176 per month plus around 4 per call! The service’s high price meant only very rich people could afford to use this service. Since there was only one antenna in a city, the service also had very limited capacity. By 1960, a car phone customer in New York City would have to wait up to 30 minutes to place a call since 2,000 customers had to ly 12 call slots. Car phones weren’t super popular and were more of a luxury for those who can afford it.

The first cell phone (1980s. 1990s)

In 1973, Motorola engineer Martin Cooper unveiled the first mobile phone, the DynaTAC 8000X. During the press conference, he made the first official cell phone call to the landline connected phone of a rival engineer at ATT. Even though the phone was unveiled in 1973 it took another 10 years to build the cell phone towers to support a higher capacity mobile phone network.

The major innovation for the cell phone was a network of evenly spaced apart cell phone towers to relay signals. Cell tower antennae are spaced at most 2 miles apart. A cell phone would only need to connect to its closest cell tower and from there the cell tower can transfer the signal to landline cables.

When the DynaTAC 8000X hit store shelves in 1983 it cost 4000 (equivalent to more than 10,000 today) and weighed 2.5 lbs (1.1 kg). The phone only had enough battery for 35 minutes of talking and was 9 inches tall (22 cm). The phone was also capable of storing 30 phone numbers.

By 1989 there were 2.7 million cell phone users, mostly limited to well off business people and professionals due to the high cost. Also by 1989 Motorola released a 1 lb (0.5 kg) flip phone called the MicroTAC that could fit in a large. a precursor to more innovations in the 1990s.

than just phones. the first smartphones (1990s. 2000s)

While the cell phones of the 1980s were purely created for phone calls, by the 1990s we saw cell phones that could support more features.

In 1992, the Nokia 1011 was the first cell phone to support text messaging thanks to the new 2G network. And in 1994, the IBM Simon paved the way for future smartphone technology and is often considered the first smartphone. The Simon weighed over 1 lb (0.5 kg) and cost 1100 back then meaning 2200 in today’s money. The Simon had a black and white touch screen, and included a calendar, clock, calculator, and address book apps. Most revolutionary, it was able to send faxes and emails, especially amazing since email and the internet was just rising in popularity at the time.

Speaking of the internet, the Nokia 9000 Communicator released in 1996 was the first mobile phone to be able to connect to the world wide web. The phone is also considered the first to include a full keyboard. The phone included apps to edit documents and was meant to resemble a handheld laptop.

Other cell phone features we take for granted that started in the late 1990s:

  • In 1996 the Motorola StarTAC was the first phone with a vibrate feature
  • In 1998 the Siemens S10 was the first cell phone with a color screen
  • In 1999, the first cell phone to enable MP3 playing, the first splash proof cell phone, the first GPS enabled cell phone, and the first camera phones were released.

As technology improved cell phones became more accessible. By 2000 there were 109 million cell phone users worldwide.

Smartphones and Apps (2000s to today)

Many early 2000s cell phones continued innovating off 1990s technologies. The 3G network was unveiled in 2001. 3G allowed for more information to be communicated over cellular network. This was also when cell phones started to become really cheap. In fact, 9 of the top 10 best selling cell phones of all time were cheap basic cell phones manufactured between 2000 to 2010, most of these phones extremely popular in developing countries even today.

Before the iPhone vs. Android smartphone war, it was iPhone vs. BlackBerry. The first BlackBerry was released in 2002. BlackBerry phones were popular due to its full keyboard, small size, and lots of features. The BlackBerry is considered the first popular smartphone and by 2011 annual sales peaked at 50 million. With that said, by 2016 that number dropped to 4 million and over the years the company shifted its FOCUS to cybersecurity. Learn the basics of cybersecurity in Create Learn’s Junior Hackers course!

In 2003, the original Android company launched to make software for phones. In 2005, Google bought it and made the code behind Android open source, meaning the original code is public but people can still modify the original code to sell. In 2007, Google partnered with well known phone manufacturers worldwide to use Android software and by 2008 the first Android phone was released, the T-Mobile G1. Today, Android phones are about 70% of global smartphones. This is because Android smartphones are cheaper since the Android software is open source and there are many companies that make Android phones, causing competition.

In 2007, Apple launched the iPhone. The iPhone was revolutionary for its simple one big touchscreen design. In 2008, Apple launched the App Store, enabling non-Apple developers to create apps for the phone. Shortly after the Apple App Store, Android came out with the Android Marketplace (now called the Google Play Store). Mobile app development really unleashed a phone’s potential as a computer. The app store also propelled mobile gaming with the first major mobile game Angry Birds being released. For more about this history of video games, check out Create Learn’s article here! While Android is most popular worldwide, around 60% of smartphones in the US are iPhones.

Since 2010, the major innovations in smartphones are in clearer screens, better cameras, faster processors, and the adoption of faster networks. 4G networks came live in 2010 and 5G networks came live in 2020. Each network generation brings massive improvement. 4G is 20x faster than 3G and 5G is around 10x faster than 4G. The 5G network will eventually reach speeds in the gigabytes per second across millions of users. People on a 5G network can now video call in high definition instantly on a smartphone, a far cry from waiting 30 minutes to place a voice call on a car phone!

Now you know the history of cell phones for kids

You can continue the history of cell phone technology. Have you ever wanted to make your own mobile app? Then sign up for Create Learn’s Mobile Coding for Apps and Games class or the more advanced Java Primer with Android class! Or if you’re interested in creating the next revolution of cell phone hardware, then sign up for Create Learn’s Arduino for Kids class for an introduction to circuits!

Written by Brandon Lim, a Create Learn instructor and curriculum developer. Brandon also works full-time as a software engineer and holds a BS in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University. Brandon has experience teaching coding to students of all ages from elementary school to college and is excited to share his deep knowledge and relentless passion for coding with the next generation of technology leaders.

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Winter Coding for Kids

Our list below of ten winter coding activities is the perfect way to improve your coding skills while getting ready for the winter months ahead.

The Nokia 3310 just turned 20 years old – here’s what made it special

After being bought and then ransacked for its mobile phone know-how by Microsoft, Nokia as we know it is gone. But there was a shining time in the final moments of the 20th century where we saw Nokia launch a string of successful handsets that, for a while, would lead it to dominate the mobile market as a whole.

Throughout the 90s and early 2000s, Nokia’s line-up of straightforward mobile phones were loved by millions and made the Finnish telecoms company synonymous with class-leading mobile technology.

The Nokia 3310 was unveiled on September 1, 2000, making the phone now 20 years old. Below we’re going to take you through the Nokia 3310, and what made it so special that it’s still so fondly remembered today and was even revamped in 2017 as a new handset.

Its origin story

1996 saw the first of Nokia’s ‘Smart’ phones in the form of the 9000 communicator series that featured a data modem, internet access, email and more thanks to the built-in QWERTY keyboard and large 640 x 200 resolution screen.

It was in 1999 however, when the 3210 was born, that Nokia got the combination of price, size and features right for the mass market. The predecessor to the 3310, it featured usable SMS messaging, the beloved game Snake, and was the first affordable mobile phone to come to market with a fully internal antenna.

The success of the 3210 led Nokia to create the device that gets phone lovers the world over misty eyed: the 3310. This sleek, compact phone had all the features of the 3210, but in a smaller and lighter frame (133g vs 153g), many customisation options thanks to swappable front and rear panels, along with many other improvements to the internals and software.

It was the out-right resilience of this iconic handset that today puts it in the mobile phone hall of fame, that and the fact that it sold over 126 million units since its launch.

The specifications

Measuring 113 × 48 × 22 mm and weighing in at 133g, the Nokia 3310 wasn’t the lightest phone around, but became well-known for feeling distinctly solid, while its smooth lines were afforded by using internal aerials rather than pointy external alternatives.

Though the display might not look much next to pixel-popping QHD screens on today’s phones, the green-lit 84 x 48 pixel monochrome display was easily readable in bright light and had just enough detail to allow Nokia to add some character to the phone’s UI and host playable games.

The top edge of the phone packed a wide power button, while the menu navigation is done through the up/down arrow keys, and menu selections chosen with the blue menu button.

The ‘c’ button acted as a ‘back’, ‘undo’ and ‘delete’ key, and the keypad always felt responsive. and could be easily cleaned if it didn’t thanks to the removable facia.

Dual Band 900/1800MHz support meant it would work on any European network, and though the 900mAh NiMH battery had an official standby time of 260 hours, most users of the 3310 will attest that it seemed to last almost infinitely between charges.

Alongside these ample specifications, a SIM-limited phonebook of 250 contacts, T9 predictive text input, 35 pre-loaded ringtones (and 7 slots for your own compositions) as well as a clock, stopwatch, timer, calculator and currency converter were all the ‘Smart’ features you could ever want, or need, at that time.

The price

Though it may not sound so incredibly cheap next to today’s bumper selection of budget smartphones, the 3310 launched at £129.99 (around 160, AU210) on a pay-as-you-go contract through the likes of Orange in the UK (now part of EE), Cellnet (BT’s O2 predecessor) and One2One (which later became T-Mobile).

Alternatively Vodafone would let you pick one up for just £29.99 with a 12 month contract (honestly, they used to exist).

By the end of the 3310’s popularity in late 2003, it was retailing for less than £45 in the new Tesco Mobile supermarket displays, and later went on to become a refurbished phone of choice to be distributed to the third world very cheaply.

The Competitors

Motorola V8088: For those looking for a compact alternative to the 3310, Motorola’s V8088 was the one. It featured voice dialling, WAP web browsing and came in 4 awesome colours. On top of that, you could even set a screensaver to preserve the pixels on the 96 x 64 resolution screen. Futuristic.

Ericsson T29: The T29 came along as an update to the popular T28 flip-phone, with an improved greyscale screen and an early version of WAP internet access. You could also answer the phone by flipping open the keyboard cover, which was incredibly cool.

Sagem MC920: Those on the Vodafone network in 2000 were heavily pushed toward the MC920, by French mobile phone company Sagem. They touted loud speaker phone and vibrating ringer as its major features, but the external aerial made it look considerably ‘past it’ compared to the 3310.

Nokia 8850: If you were a business bod with plenty of money, you would have probably chosen the 8890 over the 3310. Its chrome accents and sliding keyboard cover were very stylish for their time, and it was also smaller and much lighter than the 3310 ‘brick’.

Sharp J-SH04: Meanwhile in Japan, Sharp released the ‘J-Phone‘, the first ever camera-phone with a color screen and a 0.1MP sensor. The Sha-Mail infrastructure allowed for the first ever type of picture messaging. It was way ahead of anything Europe or America had seen.

The successors Nokia’s demise

After the obvious success of the 3310 across Europe, it went on to spawn many other siblings. These included the improved 3315 which had a blue LCD and keypad backlight, became popular throughout Asia. The 3390 and 3395 were launched as alternatives for Northern America, whilst Australia got the 3315.

In 2001, the 3330 and 3350 models brought with them WAP internet access, allowing you to download Java applets (mostly games) along with memory for a further 100 phonebook entries on the phone itself.

By 2005, Nokia had launched true 3G smartphones such as the Nokia N80 which ran on the Symbian-based S60 software, and for the time featured a really usable 3MP camera and a full color screen.

In December of 2008, Symbian had already started to reach its peak and with the launch of the full keyboard-toting touchscreen N97 and candybar-style Nokia 5235 a year later, next to the iPhone and early Android handsets, the operating system was really starting to show its age.

The final swansong of Symbian came in early 2012 with a 41MP camera onboard in the form of the 808 PureView, which was widely regarded to be one of the best smartphone cameras of the time.

2011 saw Microsoft launch its first modern smartphone OS in the form of Windows Phone 7, which Nokia was keen to jump aboard, launching the Lumia 710 and 800 models at the Nokia World Conference in late October that year.

Many more Lumia models launched over the following two years, but with Windows Phone never quite gaining traction alongside meteoric Android and iPhone sales, on September 3 2013 it was announced that Microsoft intended to acquire Nokia’s mobile business for a deal totaling over US7bn.

After rumors of co-branded phones fizzled out, Microsoft announced in October 2014 that they had decided to phase out the Nokia branding entirely, with future Lumia models to exclusively bear the Microsoft name and Windows Phone logos.

The Nokia brand has since returned to the smartphone space through a licensing arrangement with HMD Global that began in 2017. Top-end handsets and budget phones alike now feature the Nokia branding, but these come courtesy of HMD Global rather than the original company.

Longing for the good ol’ days

The Nokia 3310 was truly a giant of its time. If you didn’t know someone who owned one, frankly we’d wager you were either living on the moon, or in the deepest darkest depths of Antarctica.

It was the 3310, and its predecessor that brought a truly user-friendly, notoriously robust and affordable mobile phone to users the world over, and arguably was solely responsible for the massive popularization in SMS messaging among teenagers and young adults in the early 2000s.

Without the 3310 where would we be today? Would our iPhones have pointy external antennas? Would the mobile accessory market be where it is today without Xpress-on covers? Would we be crushing candy on a daily basis without the genius of Snake?

If you’ve still got one of these glorious handsets tucked away in a drawer somewhere (or you gave it to your mum who is still using it), don’t throw it away. You never know when you might need a phone that will survive the apocalypse. If that doesn’t happen, it makes a great hammer, projectile or even body armor.

What Is a Smart Flip Phone When Did They Come Out?

For many people, smartphones and flip phones are on opposite ends of the mobile phone spectrum. Flip phones represent the early cell phones of the 2000s, while smartphones are the devices that currently dominate the market.

That is why the concept of a Smart flip phone may be confusing. Despite the flip phone’s seemingly out-dated technology, there is still a lot of utility in having a phone that can fold in half for easy transport.

In recent years, new technology that allows a screen to fold in half without a clear seam has made the concept of a Smart flip phone possible. Today, you can get cutting-edge Android Smart flip phones with all the bells and whistles: Bluetooth capabilities, 4G LTE and 5G connectivity, great battery life, and massive internal memory storage.

If you’re curious about finding the best phone deals on the market, our widget below searches thousands of deals on top devices for you in seconds.

What Is the History of Smart Flip Phones?

The First Practical Phone (1876)

The primary form of long-distance communication in the 1800s was the telegram, a device that could transmit messages in the form of beeping noises that manned receivers translated into morse code. In 1876, the first telephone that could transmit a person’s voice in real time was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in London.

Over the next few decades, other inventors improved the design until telephones were common household items. After the invention of the transistor in 1947, phones could be shrunk down to the size of hand-held devices, which paved the way for the home phones that would persist until the creation of the mobile phone decades later.

Mobile Phone (1983)

Technically non-wired phones in the 70s and ’80s were known as car phones because they were too large to have any legitimate portability. In 1983, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x was created, acting as the first mobile phone a person could carry around.

While the technology was popular in the business world, the devices were too cumbersome for common public use. With large buttons and clunky keypads, these were not the ultra-compact, selfie-taking devices we know today. Even a decade later, people would still be using pagers instead of lugging around these mobile phones, which weren’t popular among kids.

The Flip Phone (1996)

The first clamshell flip phone, the Motorola StarTAC, was released in 1996. It was a new benchmark for small, portable phones, and the design would be popular until the smartphone era over a decade later.

For a long time, every company had flip phones on hand. They were significantly smaller than the cell phones at the time, which could not fold and barely fit in your jeans s. Back then, SIM cards were the size of a credit card, and the phone could hold 100 contacts for you. These phones usually didn’t have apps or Wi-Fi connectivity; however, they did usher the use of mobile phones into the mainstream. The innovation level was huge, bringing the communications industry a step forward into the future.

The Smartphone Era (2007)

While the first touchscreen phone was technically made over a decade earlier, the smartphone became mainstream in 2007 with the first Apple iPhone. This was an enormous technological jump, transitioning from keyboard phones to fully touchscreen devices and eventually all the pixels and specs we’ve come to know and love.

Not only did they have full touchscreen capabilities, but they were also much more technologically advanced than before. Phones were turning into personal computers that could fit in your. a new concept in the communications world. While the technology was primitive by today’s standards, we now have smartphones that rival our laptops in computing power. Making phone calls and sending texts is now a relatively small part of our phone’s utility.

What Are Some Modern Smart Flip Phones?

Motorola Razr 5G

Motorola dominated the market with the first mobile phone and years later, the first flip phone. Nowadays, they are a much more modest company, putting out products that are on the cheaper end of the smartphone spectrum. The Razr 5G does not follow this trend, with a retail price of 1,399 and a very complex design.

Foldable phones are very difficult to build efficiently and are still expensive relative to other phones. The Razr 5G is reminiscent of the designs of older Motorola flip phones. While many other Smart flip phones look like modern phones that can fold in half, the sleek design of the Razr is built around nostalgia and utility.

Nokia 2720

At first glance, the Nokia 2720 does not look like a Smart flip phone. It retains an old-school keyboard, and it has a small screen that only takes up the top half of the device. However, it is indeed a smartphone, and its smaller screen functions to keep its price incredibly low as far as Smart flip phones go.

You can pick one of these up for just 79, given that the power of these phones is closer to what we were used to a decade ago than what we have now. The Nokia 2720 is more of a gimmick phone than a legitimate option for many people who can get much more powerful devices for just a little more cash.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

In contrast to Nokia’s attempt, the Z Flip 3 looks just like a normal smartphone until you flip it in half on its horizontal axis. The Z Flip 3 is a powerful smartphone that does indeed rival its competition, flip or not. It was released alongside the Z Fold 3, a device that can fold along a vertical axis instead of the horizontal one.

The Z Flip 3 acts in contrast to its sibling by being only half the size, allowing for the device to stay under a thousand dollars. It has many of the same utilities as other Galaxy smartphones and is powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset, as well as a quad-core processor. Additionally, the device offers compatibility with voice assistant technology, such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. However, the portability outshines any other smartphone in the industry for the power provided.

Bottom Line

Smart flip phones are making a big splash in the smartphone market, but it remains to be seen if they will become more than a gimmick as time goes on. While phones like the Nokia 2720 exist mostly for nostalgia (and perhaps durability), phones like the Razr and the Flip 3 are genuinely innovative devices that could shape the future of smartphones. Some of the best flip phones that didn’t quite make our list include:

  • The Alcatel GO FLIP 4 and Alcatel Smartflip, which run on the KaiOS operating system
  • The Kyocera DuraXV Extreme
  • The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold

Navi can help you pick the smartphone and plan depending on your needs. If a Smart flip phone is what you are looking for, turn to Navi to analyze the industry and find the phone for you. Most major carriers, such as ATT, Verizon, and T-Mobile, have Smart flip phones on offer. We aim to ensure you only pay for what you need, so create your profile today and figure out what matters most to you in your smartphone purchase.