back to article 20 years of GSM digital mobile phones

Twenty years ago today, on 9 November 1992, Nokia launched the world's first commercially available GSM digital mobile phone - the Nokia 1011 - strengthening consumer interest in the world of mobile connectivity. The candybar device - which weighed a whopping 475g and could sustain a conversation for no more than 90 minutes - …


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  2. AceRimmer
    Thumb Up

    20 years?

    Looked like only the first 15 years to me

    Still, thanks for the trip down memory lane

    1. Rob

      Re: 20 years?

      Agreed, the formative years/rise of the smartphone seems to have been glossed over. Could have easily written another 2 pages.

      Where's the section about HTC providing telco branded smartphones, Windows Mobile was surely a big kick start to the smartphone revolution with the various handsets HTC were building. I had about 5 Windows smartphones before iPhones and Android hit the shelves.

      1. clv101

        Re: 20 years?

        Absolutely - this article is missing the Orange SPV (with its clip on camera!)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 20 years?

        Aye, no mention of the original XDA (another unbranded HTC) on O2 either. HTC really set the stage and allowed those of us who used them to laugh at those with Nokia Communicators >.<

        1. Anon the mouse

          Re: 20 years?

          But Apple made the smartphone.... and Nokia started it...honest..... HTC weren't even a blip on the radar.....even though they produced phones with lots more features years before the competition (when they worked right. SPV c500 replaced 4 times to get a useable one).

          I still have my HTC Universal somewhere..... such a great phone, the only phone where I wish they would just update the internals (and software) and re-release it.

          Looking at this list

          there are a few phones there I would love to see updated.....oh and maybe the tytn II for another :D

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 20 years?

            I just read your post and thought "I've heard this before", but I couldn't think why. Then I remembered - it's reminiscent of the failure of the Amiga platform and the subsequent conversations that took place around that and particularly how Apple were felt by some to have reinvented history in their favour.

            Is today's phone industry in a same place as the desktop computing market was in the late 90's? It feels like it might be, with companies that entered the business with a telecoms perspective now struggling to stay relevant against computer industry focused new entrants.

    2. LarsG

      In no particular order since 1994-1995

      NOKIA, 2010, 8210, 8910, 6590, 6680, 6600, 6260, N95, N96.

      PHILLIPS in 1995.

      SEIMENS, S35.

      SONY ERICSSON, C902.

      ERICSSON,T28, GF768, GA628.

      MOTOROLA, Startac 130

      HTC, Hero, Desire, Sensation

      IPhone 4S, 5.

      Memory Lane

  3. Tanuki
    Thumb Down

    Hello? Hello? Can you hear me??

    And despite this progress, round here any mobile-phone (apart from an Inmarsat BGAN terminal) spends more than 50% of its time saying "No Service".

    Phone functionality and features may mushroom; signal-coverage, it seems, never gets any better.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "while the oversized devices immortalised in Dom Joly's famous Trigger Happy sketch have all but died out"

    No they haven't. Most phones are oversized nowadays. There was a time when having a small, well-built phone was a good thing. Now everyone apparently wants something that's too big to fit in your pocket, will get scratched by your keys if you try to, and will shatter if you drop it.

    Oh, and the battery doesn't last an entire day.

    Downvote away, fanbois.

    1. dotdavid

      Well the small, well-built phones that fit in your pocket and have a battery life measured in weeks can now be had even in your local supermarket for about £20 nowadays. They've certainly gotten less popular than the newer pocket computers you can fit in your pocket (just) but they're still available, so I'm not entirely sure I understand your gripe.

    2. probedb

      I loved my Nokia 7210 :)

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        "I loved my Nokia 7210 :)"

        I love my Nokia 3315.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I've still got a working (if you plug it into the charger , the battery died long ago) Motorola M400 from 94.

          You couldn't even send SMS messages from it - no option in the menus and no letters on the keypad anyway. It could receive them however (go figure).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I still use a Nokia 6010. I'm an odd duck that uses a phone to (gasp) *make phone calls*.

      The battery is getting a bit wimpy after all these years, so If I talk a lot, I may need to recharge once every 5 days. I can tolerate that, but wish I could still find new batteries for the phone.

      It's been dropped in snow, onto carpeted, tile, wood, and concrete floors, and just keeps working. It's small enough to fit into a back pocket, it's got better reception than anything else I've tried.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not going to downvote pretentious one....

      There are still devices for those that just want a phone that makes calls, sends texts and lasts for days. You can pick them up for <£100 off-contract from any phone shop.

      There are however some of us who don't really want that. There are some of us that want a device that's got an internet connection with the screen size and power to make proper use of it. Who want to listen to music in the car, watch films on planes and trains, play the odd silly game, browse the net away from home all in a device that fits in most pockets. We understand we need to be less than 24 hours away from a power socket. Some of us even own both and use them as appropriate.

      Both markets are catered for. What's the problem? Why the snarky comment at the end of your post?

  5. Dexter

    Does there exist a smart phone with a decent battery life?

    By decent I mean more than 24 hours of occasional use.

    I've yet to see a smart phone which lasts longer than about 8 hours.

    My (non-smart) Nokia lasts 3-4 days if used for calls, about a week if not.

    That's not quite as good as the older monochrome Nokia I used to have, but it is good enough.

    Until smart phones can last the length of a business trip without needing a recharge, they are not up to the job, IMO.

    1. Andrew James

      My galaxy note ii lasted 9 hours of solid use in hospital the other day. With on the desk at work occasional messaging and browsing or a game at lunch it lasts all day comfortably, I usually hammer the last 30% playing fifa when the kids go to bed.

    2. fixit_f
      Thumb Up

      Battery life

      I genuinely get 2 days from my Galaxy S2 with the odd phone call, text and web browsing on the train. It's the first smart phone (apart from an old Blackberry, which wasn't really "smart" anyway) I've had that's managed this feat though..

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Battery life

        I don't know what you're all moaning about . I find with a ruck sack full of about 30 lithium-ion external battery packs , rated 7000mAH each, and a charging lead, I can get my Android phone to at least last the same amount of time as my Nokia 6310i used too :-D .

        (okay maybe I'm exageratting , the 30 battery packs on my Android phone almost lasts as long as my Nokia 6310i )

    3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Actually, there is a simple way in which you can get most phones to last more than a day: kill off 3G. For email you don't need it that much, and making calls doesn't use it either.

      I got 24h out of an iPhone that way..

    4. Piro Silver badge


      Motorola RAZR MAXX, and more recently, Motorola RAZR MAXX HD

      Enormous batteries.

    5. Dazzz

      Nokia N8

    6. probedb

      My S2 goes days between charging. Depends what you mean by occasional use. It's never turned off. I have a profile app and that turns stuff on and off throughout the day.

      1. smalga

        Extended battery...

        You can also get an extended battery pack for the S2 from Samsung (2000mAh) - comes with a new back matching the original but just a few mm thicker.. It still fits in the same case and tbh I think it's how the S2 should have come originally - forget trying to shave off a few mm and stick in a decent battery!

    7. Andus McCoatover

      Well, my N8 stays alive - even after 2 years with the same battery - for the better part of a week. When I got it, Saturday was "charging day". But, having said that, I've got few friends worth talking to...

    8. Boothy

      Galaxy S3

      My Galaxy S3 typically lasts about 2-3 days before needing a charge.

      Granted I leave it in power saving mode, which restricts CPU speed/cores etc., but unless your into playing games on your phone (which I'm not, got a decent PC and an XBox for that) it's still smooth and fast to use with all apps etc.

    9. jbuk1

      If I'm just using it for the occasional call and text I can charge my iPhone 5 on thursday night and be ok through to Sunday night.

      You prob' wouldn't want to risk it though.

  6. Arrrggghh-otron


    Aw I miss the T36 - was a great little phone that was!

  7. PaulR79

    RIM lost their cool?

    Looking at that horrific first phone and how most BlackBerry phones still look just as ugly I have to ask when they were ever considered cool. The touchscreen few without keyboards may have been awful but they looked far better.

    The Nokia 5110 (nk402 to me as an Orange customer at the time) was my first phone back in 1999. Clunky, huge, stubby aerial but it worked. I gave it to my mother after I upgraded and she has since gone on to become almost as big a mobile fanatic as I am.

    1. Christian Berger

      They never did it properly

      If RIM would have gone all the way and opened up their protocols at least a bit, they would have had a chance. However the way they did it, you had to get a backend server from them which was expensive, or you had to rent capacity on one, which meant that all your e-mail was going unencrypted through another external party. If they just would have had a "portable screen-based"-terminal function with an open protocol they'd have a much greater market.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: RIM lost their cool?

      My Makita reciprocating saw isn't pretty either, but it's a goddamned tool and it does the job. I've never owned a Blackberry (because I dislike RIM's past aggressive litigation), but if I did I certainly wouldn't moan that it's not a Ming vase. They were designed to provide email on a small device, not be a fashion accessory.

      Mind you, I recognize that fashion accessories can be tools as well, in some social contexts. But that shouldn't be the primary role of all phones, and it certainly shouldn't be the criterion for "cool" - which, when it means anything at all, probably refers to reception (of the social, not electromagnetic, sort).

  8. LordHighFixer

    What ...

    Nothing about the T-Mobile/Sharp sidekick and the great bendover and take it they gave to their customers by selling off danger to Micro$oft. Great phone for the time. To bad they killed it. I really liked the switchblade action.

    I still use my Motorola flip phone. I like my phones like I like my women, dumb but well suited for the purpose for which they were designed....

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aah the joy...

    I remember the fun and games that it took to get different ring tones on my 6110 (?) in the late nineties. It generally invoved connecting to an SMSC somewhere Scandinavian, sending specially formed text messages and saying a little prayer to the hacker gods and hey presto you were rewarded with Star Wars, Rondo a la Turk or similar. Kids these days have it easy.

    And the joy of my first mobile without a sticky out aerial. You could sit down with it in your jeans pocket and not stab yourself.

    And the real fun was writing midlets for my first smartphone. They didn't do much but it was the achievement of getting the phone to depress me with how much I still owed on my mortgage etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Aah the joy...

      Did you ever make your own logos and animated screens? I would frequently make them for myself, or save them from those dodgy ringtone sites and convert.

      The sticky out aerial was great for stirring Tea in a pinch. Looking for a teaspoon I always mourn it's passing.

      3310 and 3330 had the best nokia code.....*#67705646# Which I would get people to enter on their own phones AFTER spending £3+ on a operator logo. :D

  10. Christian Berger

    It's still lacking something crutial...

    ...the sideburns.

    Just look at at this photograph of a B-Netz (second generation analogue) base station.

    Ohh and the early devices also solved the problem of number entry:

    Though later devices resorted to cheaper microcontroller-based solutions.

  11. BryanM


    Nokia 6310i.... They never really improved on that one?

    1. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Ahhh...

      I still have a working one and lots of other Nokias, Siemens and Ericssons.

      And you can still by a "phone only", but if you demand a device with all the features of to day it has to have a "big" screen and there is a price for that. Take it or leave it, they are different.

      I would have liked a picture of the first Nokia bricks, the about 2kg ones.

      1. Lars Silver badge

        Re: Ahhh...

        Sorry I was actually thinking on the 9310i Nokia and sometimes I wonder why nobody is brave enough to use that form factor again.

    2. ScottME

      Re: Ahhh...

      The E51 was a pretty good successor; same size, 3G connectivity, decent software, titchy screen though.

    3. IDoNotThinkSo

      Re: Ahhh...

      Nope. Which is why I still use it!

  12. Karnka
    Thumb Down

    The pain

    Is no one else suffering from bleeding eye balls having looked at all of those horrifically stretched images?

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: The pain

      Thanks, I thought I was the only one..

    2. Caleb Cox (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: The pain

      Apologies, we had a few technical issues with images stretching. Should be sorted now, hope the bleeding stops soon. ;-)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My first was a NEC P3..

    .. but I never got round to fitting a diagnostics chip (the main reason for it being VERY popular in the London hacker scene).

    It was actually quite an evil device to nuke the street creed of the Motorola brick carriers. Once the show-offs had done their "HELLO? YEAH, I'M ON MY MOBILE SO EVERYONE CAN SEE I HAVE ONE" routine, I asked them to ring my number, and then pull the much more sophisticated P3 out of my jacket.

    Yes, I did go through an offensive phase :).

  14. Nicholas EGF Berry

    "... followed that summer for over half the price ..."? "Less than half the price", perhaps.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fond memories

    My first was the original Nokia Orange (2140) and other notable phones I've had include the Orange version of the 6110, the Motorola V3688 (first dual band - bought for my first business trip, to Sweden's frozen north) , Motorola L7089 (first tri-band - upgraded to for my first business trip states; Wichita of all places and also used as an IR modem to my Psion 5MX), Ericsson T68i (used with bluetooth module plugged into my Handspring Visor), Nokia 9210 (remember sending emails during my roller coaster taxi commute through Mumbai's suburbs on one of my more epic business trips).............

    My longest lived phone? Easily the Ericsson T68i.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Original GSM handset was over 400g yet reviewers are moaning about the Nokia 920 being 185g when it does so much more.

  17. Andus McCoatover

    Memory lane, indeed!!

    First (Analogue) phone was an OKI. It was £1/ minute - or part of a minute, if you went even one second over the minute, that was another squid. That'd be about £3 today.

    Finally bought my first GSM (Nokia 2114 - 1800meg.) when my son was about to be born. (I was working at Nokia, Fleet at the time, and they didn't give their employees 'phones!). That was when Nokia Networks' workers - based in Stanhope Rd., or Admiralty Way, both in Camberley, were working 3 shifts. Still struggled to make enough basestations.

    Roll onto now... I called my mate in UK from Finland yesterday, we talked for 10 minutes or so, and I know it'll cost me about the same as a small beer (€2-3).

    Did piss me off today when I saw a graph of the N8's price. €450 when I got it, €200 now.

    Should piss the shareholders of Nokia off, I thought, but then I realised I'm possibly one, in the form of a pension fund holder....

  18. Nev
    Thumb Down

    What, no Ericsson GH172?

    These histories really do seem to miss out on some major kit.

    No early ugly Ericssons

    No Panasonic G series....?

  19. Lxbr

    Loved my Nokia 7110

    The Nokia 7110 had the best ever single feature in it's spring-loaded slide-down cover. I used to spend hours just hitting the button to open it, then sliding the cover back into place with a lovely chunky click, pretending I was a cool haxor dood in the Matrix*. Probably spent longer doing that than actually talking on it. I was sure that the spring would eventually break or pop out, and sure enough it did, but only after several years of abuse and after I had bought a new phone anyway. Nokia had some good build quality back in the day.

    (* Yes pedants, I know that was a mocked up version of the 8110 in the film, but no-one could tell the difference down the pub.)

    1. jason 7

      Re: Loved my Nokia 7110

      I must say you pick up one of the Nokia phones from around that time (even the budget ones) and they feel amazing quality and robustness compared to the flimsy plastic/aluminium crap folks pay £500 for only to replace a year later.

  20. DF118


    The navikey first featured on the 3210, not the 3310.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Navikey

      And the 3110.

  21. Eddie Cooper

    Re-writing History

    "Since the iPhone's introduction in 2007, we've literally seen hundreds of smarties hit the shelves..."

    Rubbish - for years before iPhone's introduction in 2007, I have been using smartphones; the original SPV (Classic) (2002), SPV E200 (2003), SPV C500 (2004), Samsung i300 (2005), XDA Mini S (2005 - 1st of my touchscreens), XDA Orbit II (2007), HTC HD2 (2009) & now my S3... only the last 2 of these post-date 2007 iPhone. All of these have music playing functionality as well as the ability to load different applications.

    Let's get this straight - Apple DID NOT invent the smartphone or even the touchscreen smartphone. They did not invent the portable digital music player. They did not invent the tablet computer.

    They DID do much to popularise these device families, but they are not the ancestors!!

    So stop trying to rewrite history like some glove puppet of Apple & write a factual article that acknowledges Apple's influence & even dominance; but credit where it is due to non-Apple smartphones.

    1. Dana W

      Re: Re-writing History

      Uh-oh someone said something good about Apple! Summon forth the QQ police!

      No they didn't invent it, but they DID trigger the smartphone revolution. the wave of adoption that took smart phones and put them in EVERYONE pocket, not just business and tech people.

    2. Caleb Cox (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Re-writing History

      Urm... where in that quote do I ever say Apple 'invented' the smartphone?

      Hundreds of smartphones have hit the shelves since the iPhone was released. I think that's pretty factual.

      Seems you have grossly misread the sentence to allow a means for your anti-Apple rant, but if you read the whole piece, you'd see smartphones start to be mentioned at the end of page 2 long before the word iPhone is ever brought up.

      1. jeremyjh

        Re: Re-writing History

        I had a couple of Orange SPV-and-similar-MS-phones. They were pretty flaky, but the thing that was great was the MSN Messenger client. I could chat with all my friends, even when stranded in rural Devon for a week, and the whole thing sipped data so sparingly that being wired to the thing 6-or-so hours a day cost less than £3/month on PAYG.

        But no, they're a completely different class of device to the iPhone, which I resisted right up until the iPhone 4 on cost/scratchiness grounds.

      2. Dave 15

        Re: Re-writing History

        Don't hide behind a careful interpretation of what you said.

        A casual read would certainly have it that after the iPhone lots of smartphones were around.. implying they weren't before. There were dozens of devices selling millions of units prior to the late arrival of Apple to the game. They didn't even create the market - it was already created by the likes of Nokia and SonyEricsson with their Symbian based devices (Symbian was a UK company BTW).

        The implication of your chosen phrase is that smartphones didn't really exist before the iPhone an implication patently not true.

        The only thing that can be said of the Apple is that the media - especially the BBC well known Apple fans - leapt on it and promoted it at every available opportunity praising it (despite its severe limitations) and making outrageous and untrue statements all over the place (it is the first phone to download applications being the main one).

        Other than that the piece is quite good fun. Don't forget the old Sony Z5 - one of the cutest phones of its time (and not a bad looker now even - although the stick out ariel dates it - the Z7 got rid of that a couple of years later). This phone was (I think) the first to offer proper email (smtp+pop) and 'real' (html 3 over http) web browsing (and yes, it did cram the web page to the screen width). [It also offered wap for the unfortunates :) ]

        1. Caleb Cox (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: Re-writing History

          It's hardly hiding... I guess a casual read would mean starting at that point and ignoring the entire article?

          I previously talk about smartphones long before that with the Ericsson R380, mention handsets like BlackBerry, Pocket PC and Palm and then talk up how feature phones started to evolve into smart devices.

          Only then does the iPhone get a mention and all I say is that we've seen hundreds of smartphones hit shelves since that point. It's merely a bookmark in the timeline.

          Apologies if there was any ambiguity, but I really think things are being exaggerated far too much here.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. clv101

      Re: Re-writing History

      Well said. Many of us were using smartphones, even 3G smartphones, for years before the 2G iPhone launched. Apple were late to the touch screen / smartphone market.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re-writing History

        Smartphones were a tool for geeks before the iPhone. Post iPhone everyone has them.

        An office is a good gauge of that. In 2004 when I started my current job I was one of about 4 people to have a smartphone. This remained pretty much the same until around 2009/2010, now it's a question of who doesn't have a smartphone.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Re-writing History

      So stop trying to rewrite history like some glove puppet of Apple & write a factual article that acknowledges Apple's influence & even dominance; but credit where it is due to non-Apple smartphones.

      Computer tip #136: learn to read first.

      Computer tip #137: don't automatically assume worst case if multiple interpretations are possible.

      I think we CAN credit Apple with reversing the trend that smart phones were getting smarter than their users - iPhones were only revolutionary because they did something that was classic Apple: take an existing concept and make it much more accessible (and look better, but I consider that the lesser of what it brought).

      Depending on definition, even the phone with the best form factor ever (yet the worst keyboard and software), the Motorola RAZR v3i was a smartphone as it could pick up email and sort of surf the Net but it was punished with a horrific UI. The most interesting one IMHO was the Sony Ericsson P1i which had a touch screen (stylus driven) which could reasonably recognise handwriting, but made that promptly unnecessary by providing IMHO the best keyboard ever: 20 keys which you could press left or right. That, and the built-in business card scanner application were genius ideas - but FAR too complex to use for your average end user. Ditto with the Crackberries, which were about as user friendly as combining a pre-lubricated condom with an elastic band.

      THAT is what Apple improved. Granted, the iPhone too has some places where you have to dig a bit more, but even I have not even tried to find a manual online whereas normally it's the first thing I do with whatever I buy. After that, Google spat out Android and things became more interesting, especially since Nokia royally screwed up by not using Symbian to innovate. Blackberry's only redeeming feature was that you could tell it to go offline in the evening, something that has only just shown up on iPhone in the Do Not Disturb feature.

      Apple showed quite simply that making things easy did not equate to declaring users for dumb. It showed that looking at a UI from a USER's perspective was welcomed (now there is a revolutionary idea for IT people)..

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Re-writing History

      Rubbish, the iPhone brought the smartphone into the hands of the masses. Before 2007 smartphones were dull and clunky.

      1. droolian01

        Re: Re-writing History

        Want to know the reason tech geek types (almost by definition every reader here) get very upset when you infer smart phones did not exist before the iphone? Because it strengthens the RDF.

        For example, you didn't even mention the Sony Ericsson P800!!!!!

        I could browse the internet with my blue plastic stick, do a remote desktop vpn thingy with it so i could command my pc to capture tv with my nebula dtv card while on holiday in cornwall. Oh, and take pictures with it (and video with a hack) and use BLUETOOTH (iphone users- don't worry, you can look it up) to connect to my gps dongle and use osmaps 'acquired' from usenet and stored on the EXTERNAL MSDuo memory chip to do geocaching and stuff IN 2003!!!!!!!!!! You could do everything and more with that phone than an iphone 3 YEARS EARLIER. The usual reply by non techy mates at the time to this wizzardry was "gosh, your phones big isn't it!"

        These mates now own fruit based phones that are much larger than my original P800.

        E.g. an ifriend, when asking about my new SGS3 recently, informed me that I should get an iphone (4S) like her because they are obviously better. I replied "but my new phone has a quad core porcessor???"

        "whats 'quad core'?" was the answer.

        Your article strengthens the RDF....

  22. pctechxp


    My first mobile was a circa 1998 Ericsson S868.

    That thing held onto a signal like a dog to a bone, it had buttons, a two line monochrome dot matrix screen and great sound quality.

    Today's touch screens are all about gimmicks and not functionality, bring back functional phones please, I can't stand touch screens and phones that can't hold a signal.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: @Tanuki

      what is it with you people? if you want a crap [functional] phone go and buy one from asda for £20. nobody's forcing you to use a touch screen phone.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about the Nokia 6822?!

    I still haven't owned a better phone for texting (and I've owned everything from Androids to Blackberries through to Apples and even the Sony Ericson P9XX series) than this truly well built and innovative effort. Just check out this body:

  24. scifidale

    My first mobile phone was in 95 and was a (snappily titled) sony cw-h333. my favourite phone ever through taking into account the era and tech available at the time was the ericsson t28, flippy mouthpiece, voice recognition that worked and tetris. The worst was a nokia N80 a dreadful piece of tat that I quickly got rid of for something else.

  25. James 51

    I had a 6310 then moved onto a N73. It was the N95-8GB that was really my first smart phone. In many ways I'd still be happy with it (traded it in when I got my N900).

  26. ChrB

    Nokia Communicator, anyone?


    WLAN was missing, but apart from that - marvellous kit.

    1. Ilgaz

      Re: Nokia Communicator, anyone?

      If you still got one, you can have some sort of wireless network via PC+bluetooth+ some advanced trickery.

      Of course, Nokia caved to carriers and made it complex so we would be robbed for edge data. See what happened later ;)

    2. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Nokia Communicator, anyone?

      And another vote from here.

      I had three starting with the 9110, and they all paid for themselves. I bailed for an iPhone around the time of the E90.

      Expandable memory, IR, micro-Office clone s/ware and a decent-sized hardware keyboard (relatively...) made the last couple unexpectedly convincing as pocket laptops.

      Who remembers that version of Nokia now?

  27. Lladnaar


    That"s not a Nokia 2110 that's a 2110i. :D

  28. deMangler

    6310i had Bluetooth. I used to use it as s modem. I kept mine for maybe 3 years. the longest I have ever had a phone before I lost it.

    Great phone, good battery life for the time as well.

  29. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    The best phone

    For me was the Ericsson SH888. It could connect to my Psion with a cable or through IrDA - giving me a mobile office which could handle .DOC and .XLS files, including those attached to emails. It was the most ergonomic phone I have ever had and swapping batteries took all of 3 seconds and felt and sounded just like changing magazine in a hand gun.

    Unfortunately, those batteries lost capacity very quickly and I could no longer find replacements, otherwise I'd still be using it.

    1. MrT
      Thumb Up

      I wanted one of those...

      ...ended up with a Moto Timeport T250 in about 2000 (with a free T180 on the deal with BT Cellnet, both still declare that name). It was a choice between that and a 6210, both because they could hook up via IR and offered good network coverage. Having my ISP on a local number in Leeds helped - just dial the modem on the S5 and it came out of the bundled minutes.

      IIRC the SH888 had just end-of-lined as the T250 replaced the earlier Timeport models (kept the same silver case though). SH888 was all over the Psion press (and places like Clove etc) as the best of it's time for S5 users.

      Also had some Samsung flip thing from work that had a massive 32MB of user memory (about 6 songs - just about the commute back then), before later moving on to Sony p900, and then after switching to using HP iPaq 5550 for work, the T-Mobile Vario II, (drove over the Vario III, got a Vario IV as replacement). The Vario II and IV span the original iPhone release, and the style of the Vario series shifted away from rounded case with recessed screen and obvious physical buttons to a completely flat front with hidden touch-sensitive buttons (apart from the 4-way thumb control).

  30. The answer is 42

    Memory cards

    The memory cards have changed as well; my first Sharp (with a 1.3 meg camera) took a 8Mb full-size SD card and my Nokia 6300 has a 128Mb micro-sd card.

  31. Not Terry Wogan

    Nokia 6610 FTW

    I bought a posh (and expensive!) new Nokia 6610 in 2003. I'm *still* using it every day to this day - I don't use any other mobile.

    Can anyone on here beat this?

  32. Ilgaz

    Poor Nokia 7650

    I remember effectively and really multi tasking on 7650, using psiloc stuff, opera mobile. System was location aware thanks to an application (via cell Ida) and I was running my own answering machine.

    When space was running low, I moved to compressed apps and address book.

    I also used salling clicker to control and further automate my Mac and phone.

    All you remember is freaking colour snake from 7650?

  33. Paul Douglas

    Orbitel 901

    Wasn't the Orbitel 901 the first commercially available GSM handset?

  34. This post has been deleted by its author

  35. aidanstevens

    Memory lane

    I've owned, and destroyed, loads of phones in this list, even ones I'd forgotten about.

    Nokia 5110 - everyone had one of those. Stupidly I sold mine for a Ericsson A1018 which was rubbish.

    The Ericsson R380 was a great phone but took over an hour to free the message memory (about 100 texts). I dropped it in a Tesco car park and the buttons all fell out, it was never the same after that.

    Nokia 7650 was a phone ahead of its time but I bought one with a faulty earpiece on eBay and tore the ribbon connector trying to replace it.

    Orange SPV - buggy as hell and mine packed up in short order. Shame as it had potential.

    Nokia 6310i I had for 5 years (longest yet) - the power button fell out die to being dropped too often and soon after I was given a E65 which got nicked soon after.

    Current phone is a Nokia C1-01 - good hardware and software. I bought a N95 on eBay a few months ago only for the display connector to pack up, so the C1 it is for the foreseeable future.

    1. pepper

      Re: Memory lane

      A uncle of mine got one of those, I was quite impressed with how it performed. Shame Nokia is going to kill it all. Oh well, better hold onto my delicous N900 for as long as possible.

  36. Steveir

    My first phone was a Phillips C12 on BTCellnet....with the scrappy doo tune text noise youn couldnt change....2 lines of text and the "game" was Biorhythms. Best phone, sony erricsson w800i, had that for 5 years. Worst would be the last slow! Currently got a it but it still doesnt beat the sony

  37. Steve Rivers

    Far more importantly...

    GSM was the beginning of the end of US technical dominance. The US became a mobile phone technological backwater, an evolutionary dead-end.

    This gave everyone else the necessary kick in the arse to create new stuff without bowing and scraping to "Uncle Sam".

    Why did the iPhone succeed against the common wisdom of the time - because people forgot how utterly shite the phones USians had in comparison to the rest of the world

  38. Dana W

    All you have to do to get thumbs down is NOT insult Apple. Why are people so afraid?

    1. Ilgaz


      Human nature, we are really tired& bored from that company and their fans/fanatics. No need to bother.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm still using the Nokia 7110 from 1999 (on page 2)

    1. Ilgaz

      Re: Old?

      If I were you I would stick with it and buy a badass Android tablet with 3G/4G instead of upgrading (!) to another phone.

      Gsm is here to stay.

  40. droolian01

    Smart phone battery myth

    OH by the way, i get really fed up with the 'my old nokia xxxx can go for 15 years on one charge, you know, i use it as a PHONE'

    Well, I can get easily close to a week out of my SGS off one charge if i only use it to for calls on 2G. That is, remarkably, if i use the SGS3 in 'dumbphone mode' the battery lasts as long as a dumbphone!!!

    Or. i don't know why you would bother with those fancy electronic computers, my abbacus never runs out of power and i can still do maths with it. Who needs all that extra stuff.

  41. david 12 Silver badge

    Sound quality

    Talking on my Nokia 5110 was like talking on a real telephone. I haven't had anything that good since. And the ring must have been a real proper speaker -- people used to say 'what's that music - oh, it didn't sound crap like a mobile phone'.

    Signigicant that the article doesn't really mention sound quality for recent phones.

  42. Robredz
    Thumb Up


    I keep an old Nokia 3330 with a PAYG sim as an emergency phone in the motor, well it picks up signal where a smartphone struggles and still gives good call quality. Snake is also OK for a bit of retro gaming.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most popular phone

    I believe it's the Nokia with the torch in it, the 1100. 250M produced according to Wackypedia, so one in 30-ish of humanity own or have owned one. The 1616 is the modern equivalent and can regularly be found for about £9 in the supermarkets.

    Out of the article, I still actually have a Startac, GA628, T68i, 7650, e606. Did have a Razr and a N95. The one I carried all the time for years was a 7210 though. That phone could really take the knocks. Shame about the buggy firmware though.

  44. Graysonn

    is the author trying to flog his Motorola M300 on eBay? is that why clicking on the photo directs there? :)

  45. Magnus_Pym


    Isn't funny that when your smartphone goes off to the mender's and you are forced to use a 'back up' old phone you suddenly realise how much better as phones they where in the old days.

  46. PeterM42

    Did anyone else suffer.....

    .....the dreadful Motorola Timeport L7089.

    The only phone I have used that needed to be thrown on the (carpeted) floor to make it work properly (not just mine - it was a standard feature!). That's assuming you could work out the appalling menu system.

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