Feeds

20 years of GSM digital mobile phones

How far the cellphone has come since the Nokia 1011

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

All the rage, all the connectivity...

By this point the fashionable side of our phones had taken off. Ericsson's GA628 handset was the first to offer a range of colour choice and customisation, while Siemens had a punt at a colour display with its S10 model. The latter, which only offered four hues in total, proved unpopular with consumers, though.

In 1998, Nokia went a step further and launched the 5110, which captured creative hearts with its interchangeable Xpress-On cover system. More importantly, it was one of the first phones to feature the game Snake. The 5110 remains one of the most popular mobile models of all time.

Ericsson GA628, Nokia 5110 and Nokia 7110

Ericsson GA628 (1997), Nokia 5110 (1998) and Nokia 7110 (1999)
Nokia 5110 source: Soltys0 / WikiMedia

The following year, phones had dropped in price so much that the likes of Tesco offered PAYG handsets for under £50. Price wars were inevitable. That year, Nokia touted the first WAP-enabled phone - the 7110 - as well as its popular 8210 model, which also came with a range of Xpress-On covers.

Motorola, meanwhile, unveiled the world's first tri-band GSM phone - the Timeport L7089 - which meant those travelling over the pond and beyond no longer required the use of separate devices. The handset was later outclassed by the Nokia 6310i, which quickly became the business traveller's phone of choice.

A new millennium was upon us and mobiles started to take centre stage. In 2000, Nokia continued its handset dominance with the consumer-friendly 3310, which added new ringtones and popularised the successful Navi Key function first seen on its predecessor a year before. Scrolling through the menu system had been made much easier as a result.

Motorola Timeport, Nokia 3310, Ericsson T36 and Nokia 6310i

Motorola Timeport (1999), Nokia 3310 (2000), Ericsson T36 (2000) and Nokia 6310i (2002)

BT Cellnet - which had yet to be rebranded O2 - launched the world's first GPRS network too, although enabled devices were thin on the ground. Ericsson on the other hand became the first vendor to stick Bluetooth into a phone with its tri-band and WAP-enabled handset, the T36. It also has the honour of being the first company to release a device marketed as a smartphone, the R380.

The Ericsson R380 was a significant step in the evolution of our mobiles as it was one of the first phones to feature a touchscreen panel.

The idea of touchscreen phones had been around for decades, first with an Apple concept landline set in 1983 and the IBM Simon nine years later, however it wasn't until the introduction of the Symbian OS alongside the R380 that manufacturers started to deem it a viable feature.

Ericsson R380

Ericsson R380 (2000)

Many manufacturers were instead focusing on music, photography and games to take phones beyond voice and text communications. Overseas the concept of cameraphones had really started to gather momentum at this point.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
NVIDIA claims first 64-bit ARMv8 SoC for Androids
Mile-High 'Denver' Tegra K1 successor said to rival PC performance
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.