We all know that technology moves at a frighteningly fast rate and that over the past decade we have seen some fantastic new products, services and innovations in the consumer electronics and technology arena. It’s not until you look back at those products however, that you realise just how far things have moved on, so to highlight just how much the mobile phone world has changed, here we present our list of each year’s groundbreaking or influential phones, from 2000-2009.
Year 2000: The Nokia 3310, 8210 and 7110
In the year 2000, the UK saw 40 million new mobile connections, compared to nearly 80 million in 2009, it was still a 2G world and Nokia were far ahead of the competition when it came to units sold. To demonstrate why Nokia were so dominant, we’ve chosen three of the best Nokia’s on sale that year. The 3310 was a stylish, cheap phone and introduced many to Nokia’s easy-to-use interface, the tiny 8210 was an early fashion phone and was paraded down the catwalk at the Paris Fashion Week the same year, and finally the 7110 had the Matrix-inspired spring-loaded keypad cover and the first WAP browser on a mobile phone.
Year 2001: The Nokia 6310
It’s a tribute to the bulletproof build quality of the 6310 that there are people who still use it today. It was a business phone through and through, with a classic design, email and MMS, GPRS data and was the first Nokia phone to have Bluetooth. It was followed in 2002 by the 6310i and the pair paved the way for almost every business phone Nokia have produced since.
Year 2002: The Sony Ericsson T68i
Looking at the oddly styled T68i today, it’s difficult to believe how desirable this little phone really was. It was one of the first phones released after Sony and Ericsson joined forces and despite the gawky looks, it was something of a powerhouse in its day, being Sony Ericsson’s first colour screen equipped phone and having Bluetooth, MMS and GPRS connectivity.
Year 2003: The Sharp GX10
The GSMA saw fit to bless the Sharp GX10 with the award for best handset in 2003 and for good reason too. It was the first European mobile phone to feature a camera and the 2.5G service, plus it was the flagship device used to promote the Vodafone Live! service launched at the same time. The colour screen, polyphonic ringtones and JAVA support also made the GX10 really standout.
Year 2004: The Motorola RAZR V3
It’s perhaps hard to believe that the RAZR was first launched as an exclusive fashion phone, before Motorola added various colours to the range, dropped the price and in doing so, created something of a phenomenon. Forget the lesser sequels such as the V3x and V3maxx, it was the simple beauty of the laser-etched keypad and super-thin clamshell chassis that made the V3 an icon.
Year 2005: The BlackBerry 7100x
Although few will be familiar with the 7100x, it’s one of BlackBerry’s most important mobile phones. Prior to its release, BlackBerry’s were all big QWERTY business phones, with little to attract the ordinary consumer. The 7100x introduced the SureType keypad and a more standard candybar shaped casing to the range, and although it was the Pearl which really launched BlackBerry into the mainstream, it wouldn’t exist without the 7100.
Year 2006: The Sony Ericsson K800i
This, along with its K790 sister, was the first Sony Ericsson mobile phone to wear the Cyber Shot brand name. The 3.2 megapixel camera was complimented by a xenon flash and Sony Ericsson’s new BestPic software, and took outstanding pictures. The 3G connectivity, NetFront browser, music player and simple interface made it a popular phone for everyone, no matter their needs.
Year 2007: The Nokia N95
What else is there to say about the N95 that hasn’t already been said? Even with the choice of smartphones on sale today, there are many users who still use the N95 and swear by its rugged construction, wealth of features and brilliant camera. The 8GB revision, released later the same year, is the one to have though.
Year 2008: The Apple iPhone 3G
Another phone which has had more than its fair share of attention! The iPhone 3G was the second iPhone model, but the first to be officially available outside the USA, plus it heralded the introduction of the iTunes App Store, something which really did change the industry. Also, more than any other phone on this list, the iPhone is the only one which inspires as much hatred as it does admiration.
Year 2009: The Motorola Droid/Milestone.
Last year was Android’s year and while we love the Hero, it was the Droid which should be viewed as the most important release. It was Motorola’s proper comeback, as the Cliq/DEXT didn’t capture everyone’s imagination, and the heavyweight spec list of the Droid plus the introduction of Android 2.0, combined with Verizon’s ad campaign, made it equally famous and desirable across the world.