The mobile phone industry bursts into life in the spring, and
March 2004 and 2009 were no exception with devices being announced
from all sorts of different manufacturers.
Featuring a design that was radical, innovative but basically
unusable, the Nokia 7610
was a capable Symbian smartphone with a feature set that was impressive
for the time, but Nokia went completely nuts with the design and
gave the 7610 a very interesting but hard-to-use keypad and an assymetrical
design that at least looked different from most of the competition.
Motorola meanwhile were pursuing Linux as a smartphone platform
with the Motorola
touchscreen device, they also launched the Motorola
music phone which resurfaced a year later as the infamous
. Motorola were also an early pioneer of 3G devices,
and the Motorola E1000
was one of only a very small number of 3G handsets available at
Featuring a flip-out screen and a big camera mounted in the side
of the phone, the Panasonic
looked like a combination between a camcorder and a mobile, and
with Panasonic's reputation for camcorders then you would be forgiven
for thinking that this would be an impressive piece of kit. Instead
it was just a design gimmick, the camcorder functions were awful,
the phone had limited memory and it was extremely difficult to get
the low quality videos off the phone, even if you wanted to.
A long-forgotten form factor today, the rotating phone was a
pretty rare sight even back in 2004. The Sony
was one such attempt and it had a rich feature
set for a phone of the time. In the end this type of phone never
took off, but instead we were plagued with slider phones that did
pretty much the same thing but in a more convenient package.
Siemens phones had a unique naming system where the last two
digits indicated when a device was announced, which gave us a trio
of stylish "65" devices. One key area where Siemens had
a particular interest was ruggedised phones, and the Siemens
was a pleasingly chunky design that could withstand some
pretty harsh conditions. Aimed at consumers, the Siemens
managed to look fresher than its Nokia rivals, and the Siemens
challenged Nokia in the business handset market too.
Germany had Siemens, and France had Sagem. Know mostly for cheap
and cheerful devices, the Sagem
was a competent and attractive "girlie" phone
that helped to bring a bit more variety to the market.
Nokia focussed on music with the Nokia
smartphone with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard,
the rather dull and ultimately cancelled Nokia
and the rather inexpensive but fun Nokia
March was a big month for Samsung, with the launch of several
devices. Our pick of these include the very rugged and completely
, which is one of our favourite phones of all time. The
was an early dual-SIM device aimed mostly at emerging
markets. The Samsung
S5230 and S5600
were a pair of low-cost touchscreen feature
phones that simply couldn't deliver smartphone features although
they did come with a smaller price tag.
In 2009 Motorola was in the doldrums, and the Motorola
was a disappointing phone that didn't seem to do anything
very well. The elegant and glossy Sony
showed just how attractive clamshell phones could
be. If you were looking for something completely different, the
wristwatch phone might make you feel a bit like James Bond.. alternatively
if you have 007's budget then the exquisitely engineered but rather
might be more your thing.