10 Defining Telephones 2009By admin
A quarter century ago, reaching someone by phone was a crapshoot; the person was either home, near the telephone, or out and unreachable. Though mobile phones were once lamented for pulling people away from face-to-face conversation, they’re ubiquitous now, and better than ever. The road to the touch screen smartphone was long, and your personal favorites may vary, but one thing’s certain: These are way better than the beeper.
Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, 1983
Laugh all you want, but back in the day, the Dynatac was a sign of serious wealth, seeing as it cost $4,000. Even now, it’s not a totally worthless idea; there’s something to be said for a phone that balances nicely on the shoulder, even if it has no aesthetic appeal.
Motorola StarTAC, 1996
Mobile phones shouldn’t necessarily look like home handsets. Motorola was the first to recognize that with its StarTAC phone, the first to feature a clamshell design. Thank this cellular for all the times you didn’t accidentally pocket-dial your ex-girlfriend.
Nokia 3210, 1999
Once upon a time, cell phones had retractable antennas. Then, Nokia came along and put that technology on the inside, and signal quality didn’t suffer. Suddenly, internal antennas were the standard, as they are today.
Handspring Treo 180, 2001
The PDA business was booming until the likes of the Treo came along. Suddenly, having a separate device for organization and e-mail seemed pretty silly when there was a smartphone that did it all. To keep pace, Palm had to snap up Handspring, and Blackberry eventually jumped on the bandwagon with its own consumer smartphones. Staying glued to information was easier than ever.
Sharp J-SH04, 2001
At first, camera phones were nothing special, but Sharp’s pioneering J-SH04 set the stage for a revolution. Today, it’s hard to find a phone without some kind of picture-taking device, and some handsets rival digital cameras with high pixel counts, flash and autofocus features.
Toshiba VM4050, 2003
Video recording may not be a top priority for all cell phone buyers, but it’s the reason Saddam Hussein’s hanging was made public and Michael Richards’ career was ruined. The VM4050 was among the first phones to capture video, paving the way for an ever-watchful public eye.
Blackbery 7000 Series
In its earlier years, the Blackberry was a business-centric device that didn’t work as a phone. It wasn’t until Research in Motion targeted consumers with the Blackberry 7000 series, including the 7200 seen above, that the handheld took its rightful place as one of the world’s most popular smartphones. A year later, Webster’s New World Dictionary declared “Crackberry” Word of the Year.
Motorola Razr V3, 2004
Two decades after the Motorola DynaTAC, mobile phones were still kind of ugly. Then, the Razr came along and staked its entire reputation on looks. We take sexy phones for granted now, but even five years ago, owning a slim and shiny little handheld was a big deal.
Duh. Smartphones were nothing new when Apple entered the game, but the iPhone’s interface was so alluring, even the most established phone makers are now playing catch up. Aside from the operating system, the iPhone’s success lies in its applications that people actually want, such as YouTube and GPS. Beyond that, the App Store caters to almost any desire. Two years later, people still line up get the latest model on launch day.
HTC Dream (T-Mobile G-1), 2008
Really, we could’ve picked any iPhone follower for this last slot, but HTC’s Android phone signifies that the next great mobile phone battle is all about the operating system. Android, Palm Web OS, Windows Mobile are all competing for the best user experience and most robust online marketplaces. When the minds at Motorola came up with the DynaTAC, I doubt they foresaw software as a major factor 25 years down the line.
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Thanks for reading, GadgetCravers, Diggers, Stumblers and more. Is there a phone that you felt was groundbreaking for its time that we did not include on this list? Is there a technology you would like to see in the next era of mobile communications? Leave your thoughts in the comments!