Mobile phones have come a long way through the years — from the first Motorola brick to the latest generation of life-transforming (for better or worse?) smartphones. With that evolution, it’s gotten easy to take our old machines for granted. So, let’s take a walk through the landfill of history and look at some phones that we’ve loved and lost, and which ones currently have our attention.
These bad boys ruled the ’80s like a technological James Spader. Not that one. For the first time, phones were independent of homes or cars, and oh man, they were a status symbol. Whether you had the DynaTAC or the MicroTAC a few years later, having one of these at your beck and call let people know that you were indeed a high roller. Especially the beeper people. F*ck them, you never needed to find a payphone.
Were they practical? No, nothing that cumbersome and bulky could ever be called “practical.” Were they cool? As ice.
The Advent Of The Nokia
There is nothing more ’90s than a Nokia phone. While Motorola was still in the game, Nokia was the go-to for a sleeker, more usable mobile phone. Sure, by today’s standards, it is just a slightly smaller brick, but at least this one could fit in your pocket, fanny pack, or on your belt like some kind of far more functional beeper. While they weren’t totally ubiquitous yet, people were definitely coming around to the idea of mobile phones, at least for the opportunity to play Snake to their heart’s content. That battery life is still unbeatable, too.
Flip Phones As Objects Of Technological Lust
Yes, Adele may have brought them back this year, but once upon a time, we were all in love with flip phones. If you were a teenager in the early 2000s, there was nothing you wanted more than the Motorola Razor, especially the Magenta. For many, this was their first cell phone, and there was a certain sense of responsibility that came with that. This was life before unlimited texting, so you had to keep meticulous track of your numbers so you didn’t experience the shame and cost of going over your limit — though forcing people to communicate in morse code 2.0 (aka T9 tap Tap TAP texting) surely helped to limit people’s appetite for texts.
Also, a one-handed flip phone open is still a baller move.
Slider Phones Slide Right Into Our Hearts And Pockets
Flip phones had their day, but slider phones took things to the next level. If you were really lucky, yours would have a full QWERTY keyboard, which was really essential as texting came to the forefront of communication. In 2009, everyone wanted a Sidekick or a knock-off. There was just something about that easy opening motion (almost as cool as the flip) and full keyboard that made you feel complete. Until you accidentally slid it too hard, cracked it in half, and cursed the heavens for your terrible coordination. Like the flip phone before it, ease of use didn’t necessarily mean structural soundness.
Blackberry Hits The Scene
Before the iPhone took over the world, there was the Blackberry. Sure, it’s still around, but it isn’t quite the same. These little handheld devices combined the function of the Palm Pilot with the capabilities of the cell phone. A must have for business types, these were the first sign that people would become completely dependent upon the connivence that phones could provide.
They didn’t call them “Crackberries” for nothing.
When We All Sold Our Souls To Apple
Sure, there are other smart phones out there, but nothing has quite had the same cultural impact as the iPhone. While these other phones listed may have tried to stay relevant for a while, the iPhone really changed the game. From the apps to the touchscreen, the iPhone was one of the first phones that could truly be called sexy. Yes, we are now completely useless without them and they’re gathering enough personal information about us to make Skynet a reality, but no one seems to mind. Our thumbs have quickened to the point of texting faster than we talk, and would you really want to give up your ability to watch a video or order food at any given moment? No. You wouldn’t.
The machines may indeed take over the world someday, but if they make things so convenient, will we even notice?