2005 was the year of Hurricane Katrina
, the 7/7 bombings,
threat of a bird flu pandemic from Asia
and Tony Blair
third term as British prime minister. At the movies there was Batman
, Star Wars Episode III
and V for Vendetta
. James Blunt
the UK album charts, with Mariah Carey
having the best-selling US
album in that year.
In the mobile phone industry Nokia, Motorola and Sony Ericsson
seemed to be doing much of the work in moving things forward, especially
in the 3G area. Many of the players from 2005 are no longer in the
mobile phone business in Europe.
The two star devices from Sony Ericsson were the Sony
"Cybershot" phone and the Sony
"Walkman" phone. Although the K750 and
W800 were basically the same phone underneath, they both broke new
ground for the quality of their digital photography and music playing
One significant failure for Sony Ericsson was the lack of success
of the Sony
. This capable UIQ-based smartphone combined a
touchscreen with 3G and WiFi support, but it was very late to market
and very buggy when it arrived, which severely dented its chances.
Also in the Sony Ericsson lineup was the W900
3G Walkman phone, the elegant K600
3G device and the attractive Z300
Nokia had been in the doldrums just a few years previously, but
by 2005 it was beginning to consolidate its market position.
This year saw the launch of the Nokia N-Series and E-Series of
phones, with the Nokia N70
being the best-known example. The N70 was an attractive 3G device,
but it was let down by an unusually small keypad. Believe it or
not, back in 2005 it was thought that putting a hard disk in a phone
was a good idea, which gave birth to the unattractive but interesting
. Nokia took
a crack at the BlackBerry market with the Nokia
smartphone, which picked up a small but loyal user base..
however it hardly dented BlackBerry's then rapid rise to prominence.
The Nokia N90
launched at the same time and was a rare 3G clamshell phone from
the Finns. Digital TV tuners made an appearance too with the Nokia
, which these days is one of the most difficult Nokia devices
for collectors to find.
A significant but overlooked device was the Nokia
770 Internet Tablet
featuring a 4.1" WVGA display, WiFi
and Bluetooth connectivity but no GSM or 3G connectivity. Arguably
the world's first tablet, the 770 and its descendants never quite
made the breakthrough that they needed. An alternative way to get
a big screen smart device was the Nokia
, a reworked version of 2004's Nokia 9300 but now with
WiFi support built in.
Some devices were just designed to look pretty. Nokia refreshed
its fashion phone lineup with the attractive Nokia
rotator and very unusual Nokia
pen phone. The 7380 is a rare device today, and is fiendishly
difficult to use.
Aimed more at businesses than consumers, the Nokia
was a very popular successor to the classic 6310i and
stayed in use for many years. Nokia had another stab at the butterfly-wing
phone, but this form factor never proved to be a success. Rather
higher up in the range, the esoteric and very expensive Nokia
slider offered an option for executives.
Much more mainstream were the ultra-cheap Nokia
and Nokia 1600
phones, the twisting Nokia
and the cute Nokia
Motorola never quite managed to follow up the success of the
original RAZR, and some of their 2005 product releases didn't do
very well in the market.
was a much-needed update to the original RAZR which
addressed many of the flaws with the first generation device. Motorola
also tried to push the RAZR into 3G territory with the Motorola
Attempting to bring RAZR-style design to a monoblock phone, the
Motorola SLVR L7
made some impressive inroads into Nokia's traditional market. The
was an elegantly smooth clamshell phone that never quite
had the success of the RAZR. The Motorola
is a notable disaster - this joint Apple / Motorola
development was crippled at launch and customers stayed away in
Motorola were also pioneering in the smartphone area with the
clamshell and Motorola
touchscreen phones. The Motorola
was the first of a long line of Windows-based messaging
Back in 2005 Samsung were still a relatively minor player in
the market, concentrating on little clamshell phones and a handful
of other devices.
was one of the smallest and most popular phones of its
generation, quickly followed by a 3G variant, the Samsung
. Also released was the very attractive Samsung
, a device that we still regard as one of the best looking
phones of the past decade.
Sliders were becoming more popular, and the Samsung D600
a strong seller. The Samsung P300
"calculator phone" was
an unusual and very tiny device, and is strongly sought after by
collectors today. The Samsung Z130
was a very unusual 3G phone with
a swivelling display, but that idea never caught on.
LG were one of the early pioneers of 3G phones with the LG U8380
clamshell phones. Despite the whizzy state-of-the-art
3G technology, these were all pretty basic and only really sold
in the numbers that they did because 3 (the main 3G carrier of the
time) offered very cheap call plans.
The BlackBerry 7100
was an early attempt to squeeze full BlackBerry
functionality into the form factor of a normal phone, but ultimately
this form factor was not successful. However, the BlackBerry 8700
struck a chord with businesses and consumers alike and sold very strongly.
In 2005 HTC was still strictly a contract manufacturer, building
handsets that would be sold under a variety of names but not their
own. One stand-out device though was the HTC Universal
3G, WiFi and a VGA resolution touchscreen. But most Windows phones
from 2005 would be unrecognisable today, with the HTC-built Orange
running Windows in a standard "candy bar" form
Siemens was still a big player in the mobile phone market, but
it was haemorrhaging money at an alarming rate. Siemens effectively
disposed of their mobile division to BenQ which created the short-lived
BenQ-Siemens brand which folded in 2006. These then were some of
the last Siemens handsets to market: the Siemens C75
was an attractive
business phone aimed squarely at Nokia, the Siemens M75
was a tough-as-nails
ruggedised handset that was one of only a very small number on the
market. The Siemens CL75
and CL75 Poppy
were hugely successful "girlie"
phones and were the last major success for this manufacturer.
Another relatively big player were Sagem, who produced budget handsets. During
2005, Sagem partnered
with Vodafone to come up with a range of "easy use" phones,
initially the Sagem VS1 and VS2
candy bar phones followed by the
attractive Sagem VS3
One of the oddest phones ever made, the Bang and Olufsen Serene
was a sort of upside-down clamshell with a rotary dial, made for
B&O by Samsung. These are rare and desirable devices today,
costing in excess of €200. The Lobster 485
odd but was just an attempt to bring
a Virgin Mobile branded device to UK customers, and the Lobster
brand was moderately successful for a couple of years.
Japanese manufacturers were trying very hard to break into the
European market. The Sharp 903
was a high-spec and very Japanese
3G clamshell phone, a little bit more down market was the Sharp
, another 3G clamshell.
The Toshiba TS921
another 3G clamshell
with a very similar specification to the Sharp. A rather striking
but very basic 2G phone was the Toshiba TS10
Panasonic was in its death throes and pulled out of the market
at the end of 2005. The attractive Panasonic VS3 and VS7
looked great but came with woefully inadequate specifications. Sanyo
also had a second (at last) attempt to crack European markets with
the Sanyo S750i
3G slider phone.
Many of these manufacturers are no longer with us, or in the
case of the Japanese firms they have largely retreated back to their
own shores. Most smartphones were running Symbian or Windows as
Apple's iOS and Google's Android were still some years away. But
within a couple of years the market started to change significantly.
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