There are thousands of models of cell phones that have hit the streets between 1983 and now. We’ve picked a few of the more popular and unusual ones to take you through the history of this device that most of us consider a part of our everyday lives.
Mobile phones are just now beginning to be as vital to North Americans as they have been to Asians. North America also had a spotty 3G network that has only really been revamped recently in order to deal with increasing demands for faster loading speeds from mobile customers, whereas Asia and most of Europe have had proper 3G networks in place for some time. This has led to a revolution in 3G phones from 2007 until now, with more due to come out in 2009.
This iteration of Nokia’s Communicator series significantly reduced the weight of this precursor to the smartphone. This cell phone was the most popular consumer model at the time of its release and for some time afterwards.
This was the first instance of a GPS being integrated into a mobile phone, and was sold mostly in Europe. The internal antenna and predictive T9 text messaging sold approximately 160 million of these phones. This phone contained premium features not normally found on handsets of the time, such as Infrared, a fully functional calendar and a FM Radio. This was the first Nokia set to feature a built-in camera and was featured in the movie Minority Report. The 6310i quickly gained popularity in the corporate world for its simplicity and long battery life.
Considered very advanced at the time of its introduction due to its Symbian OS-based Nokia Series 60 platform. One of the first 3G phones, the Nokia 6680 was considered to be high end at the time of its release.
This model was sold as the Orange SPV M3100 in the UK, keeping with HTC’s tradition of private labelling for individual carriers. This immensely popular smartphone has sold millions of models worldwide, and is still in wide use as of 2009.

The first design-conscious entry from RIM, the Pearl is still being offered on the market today. The original iPhone was released in June 2007 with an auto-rotate sensor, a multi-touch sensor that allowed multiple inputs while ignoring minor touches, a touch interface that replaced the traditional QWERTY keyboards, and many other features that helped to give Apple an almost instant healthy market share on its release. HTC’s answer to the iPhone with its own multi-touch interface and a high screen resolution. The solid steel hinge and the metal case make this sleek design feel luxurious and durable. Nokia’s popular smartphone features a slider to access multimedia buttons and a numeric keypad. The G1 phone was the first phone to be released with the Android operating system designed by Google. The Samsung Gravity is their first to feature a slide-out keyboard that has proved popular in other brands. The Krave design features a transparent flip that acts as a secondary touch surface to access additional features. The handwriting recognition and simple touchscreen styling of the Dare is enhanced by the easy-grip back.
The Nokia N79 has a Naviwheel, GPS, a 5 megapixel camera with a Carl Zeiss Optics Tessar lens and more. This attractive smartphone featured a resistive touch screen which is better for Asian character recognition.
Released in February 2009, the Curve features an improved trackball and a higher resolution screen.
This 3G incarnation of the Sidekick includes improved support for social networking applications.
The Samsung Magnet is a cheap alternative for pricier smartphones with much of the same functionality and a cool design. This phone promises the first high-definition video recording when it is released July 1st of 2009. Here’s hoping that some of these sleek designs make it across the pond eventually to North America.

Those of you with children will know how hard it is to put parental restrictions on anything electronic. If you have half an hour to kill and really want to get into the evolution of the cell phone and its cultural impact, check this full-length documentary from CBC. For a more detailed history of the cell phone, we recommend Cell Fanatic’s history page. Please leave us your memories of your cell phones of days gone by and your critiques of what is currently available in our comments section. WDD staff are proud to be able to bring you this daily blog about web design and development. Join our 831,729 subscribers and get access to the latest tools, freebies, product announcements and much more! You can always see what is coming to store shelves in the next six months to a year by looking at the models that are currently available in Japan.
Up until its release, most cellular phones were installed as car phones due to the inability to fit them into a jacket pocket. This phone is rumoured to have sold for up to $32,000 in online criminal communities due to its ability to intercept one-time banking passwords.
Three or four days between charges and a successful merger of phone, PDA, and camera made this the business tool of choice. DivX Certified playback and 5 megapixel digital camera with Schneider Kreuznach optics are just a couple of the features of this simply designed phone. This UI reorients with the rotation of the phone and allows you to scroll film-reel style through available apps.
No US carriers have yet been confirmed for this model, but T-Mobile has been rumoured to be the carrier of record. This phone gives you the ability to track your child with a GPS locator, lock out questionable website addresses, and more.

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