Smartphones have gone from some design to the same design!
Remember the good old ages of the flip phone? Or the different designs in a keypad phone? Let’s go into a flashback before I make my point.
The first mobile phone I ever saw in my life was the big and bulky Nokia (don’t know the model name) that my father had and it looked like a joke! (no offence, Nokia) Carrying it around was a huge task in itself but having one, gave a sense of pride and exclusivity that comes from owning something not a lot of people could own. It was the mobile phone era (still is) and the early adopters were enjoying its benefits. As time passed, mobile phone companies started to become more creative what with the flip phone model, the touch and type model, the touch screen phone with the stylus, and what not. The 90s and 2000s were a creative time and mobile phone manufacturers rose to the challenge brilliantly and enthralled us with different designs, which made owning a mobile phone all the more special.
Let us look at a few models that really caught our eye shall we?
Ok I have to start off with my most favourite and the sexiest phone of all times, the Motorazr! The first ‘slim’ phone to be introduced in the market, having a Motorazr ensured that all eyes were on you. The sleek design, the beautiful colour (silver), and most importantly, a flip phone, the Motorazr was definitely one of Motorola’s best phones till date! Looking at the specs now is kinda laughable! A 2.2 inches screen, 1.3 MP camera, 10 MB internal storage (expandable up to 512 MB), and a 710 mAh Li-ion battery all bundled into a sexy flip phone. But it did not matter back then because this itself was huge in terms of design and specs! Whether you liked it or not, you cannot deny that this phone was on the must-have list for many people.
2. Nokia 6600
Ah, Nokia was indeed the king of phones back then (it still is now, but not so much). The reason I have included the 6600 in this list is because it was one of the original smartphones of that time. Although bulkier than other phones, the features that the 6600 had were all the rage back then and owning one made you really famous in your circle. The Nokia 6600 boasted of a 2.1 inch screen, 0.3 MP video recording camera, 6 MB internal storage and an 850 mAh Li-ion battery. These features, combined with Nokia’s Symbian OS, Bluetooth, and the ability to transfer videos using Bluetooth, the Nokia 6600 was a highly advanced phone at its time even though the specs are laughable right now!
3. Sony Ericsson Walkman Series
Right now, we can’t imagine a phone without a quality sound system in place but back then, Sony Ericsson’s Walkman series were quite the rage. Sony has always been famous for its technology and bringing in a classic sound system in a phone blew everyone’s minds. The Walkman series came in different models and designs but the selling point (as is obvious) is the sound quality and its association with the Walkman brand. The first Walkman phone, the W800 boasted of a 1.8 inch screen, 2 MP video recording camera, a 900 mAh Li-ion battery, and a memory that could be upgraded to 2 GB. Makes sense, because it was a music phone and you needed more memory than 512 MB to store music! The Walkman series was truly inspirational at that time; be it the specifications or the technology, it was far advanced at that time.
Sony Ericsson Walkman Series
4. Nokia N series
Ah, Nokia. Nokia was indeed the king of the mobile phone market and it played its cards well (what happened, Nokia? We miss you!) The N-series revolutionized the mobile phone industry and it was for people who wanted a feature-rich phone rather than just as a fancy showpiece. Although the N90 was the first N-series device, the Nokia N8 (released September 2010) was the world’s first Symbian OS phone with a 12 MP autofocus lens! The N-series undoubtedly started off the smartphone era and if you owned an N-series phone, you were at the top of your game. The N-series was more famous as a gaming-friendly phone (if my memory serves right) but it also had other features like music, photo and video recording, sending and receiving photos and videos, and also internet support; services without which we can’t imagine a smartphone right now but back then, it was amazing! Again, with different phones under the N-series came different models and designs, which showcased the creativity of engineers at Nokia.
Nokia N Series
The brand Blackberry meant rich, classy and professional, and the phone makers stood true to those 3 words when they launched their Bold and Curve series, the most famous Blackberry phones of all time. Essentially famous as a business phone, Blackberry ruled the corporate world with their easy-to-use, most comfortable for business people, mail-friendly phones. Its reputation grew so much that if you did not have a Blackberry people assumed that you were not a part of the corporate world. Blackberry also popularized the use of the QWERTY keyboard, the one that we all love and feel so comfortable in using now. Battery life was also pretty good in the flagship phones and Blackberry phones provided the option of 3G and WiFi back then, which was not mandatory in all phones as is the norm now. The very fact that you could check your mails on the move was the reason why this phone was so famous among corporate circles. Blackberry unsuccessfully tried to break out of this stereotype with their ‘Blackberry Boys‘ ad; seriously what were you thinking Blackberry? For us, you will always be the smartphone of the corporate; something that is niche and exclusive only to you.
Blackberry Bold and Curve
The end of an era of good designs?
Now that we are back from the memory lane, let us look at phones nowadays. Since when did it become mandatory that every phone has to be a touch screen phone? What happened to the beautiful, bygone era of flip phone and slider phones? Is it so impossible for smartphone manufacturers to come up with a flip or slide touchscreen phone? When I look at other people’s phones, I don’t see any difference between their phone and mine except for the screen size. Sure, Apple improved upon the touch screen phones with a single button to rule them all but why are the others joining the same rat race? Is there no room for creativity? Have we all become so mundane that our smartphones should look the same too? Bring in some designs people! Take a leaf out of the past and integrate it into the future! ‘Cos if the same trend continues, pretty soon, smartphones are going to become obsolete too and what will remain for the next generation?
*All images courtesy: Google search