Sunday, 16 March 2014

Retro 5|10: March 2004 and 2009

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.
 

March 2004

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.

 Nokia 7610
Nokia 7610

Motorola meanwhile were pursuing Linux as a smartphone platform with the Motorola E680 touchscreen device, they also launched the Motorola E398 music phone which resurfaced a year later as the infamous Motorola ROKR. 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 the time.
 Motorola E680
Motorola E680
 Motorola E398
Motorola E398
 Motorola E1000
Motorola E1000
Featuring a flip-out screen and a big camera mounted in the side of the phone, the Panasonic X300 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.
 Panasonic X300
Panasonic X300
A long-forgotten form factor today, the rotating phone was a pretty rare sight even back in 2004. The Sony Ericsson S700 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.
 Sony Ericsson S700
Sony Ericsson S700

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 M65 was a pleasingly chunky design that could withstand some pretty harsh conditions. Aimed at consumers, the Siemens C65 managed to look fresher than its Nokia rivals, and the Siemens S65 challenged Nokia in the business handset market too.
 Siemens M65
Siemens M65
 Siemens C65
Siemens C65
 Siemens S65
Siemens S65
Germany had Siemens, and France had Sagem. Know mostly for cheap and cheerful devices, the Sagem myC-3b was a competent and attractive "girlie" phone that helped to bring a bit more variety to the market.
 Sagem myC-3b
Sagem myC-3b
 

March 2009

Nokia focussed on music with the Nokia 5730 XpressMusic smartphone with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, the rather dull and ultimately cancelled Nokia 5330 XpressMusic and the rather inexpensive but fun Nokia 5030 XpressRadio.
 Nokia 5730 XpressMusic
Nokia 5730 XpressMusic
 Nokia 5330 XpressMusic
Nokia 5330 XpressMusic
 Nokia 5030 XpressRadio
Nokia 5030 XpressRadio

March was a big month for Samsung, with the launch of several devices. Our pick of these include the very rugged and completely waterproof Samsung B2100, which is one of our favourite phones of all time. The Samsung C5212 DUOS 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.
 Samsung B2100
Samsung B2100
 Samsung C5212
Samsung C5212
 Samsung S5230
Samsung S5230
 Samsung S5600
Samsung S5600
In 2009 Motorola was in the doldrums, and the Motorola ZN300 was a disappointing phone that didn't seem to do anything very well. The elegant and glossy Sony Ericsson T707 showed just how attractive clamshell phones could be. If you were looking for something completely different, the Hyundai MB-910 wristwatch phone might make you feel a bit like James Bond.. alternatively if you have 007's budget then the exquisitely engineered but rather pointless TAG Heuer MERIDIIST might be more your thing.
 Motorola ZN300
Motorola ZN300
 Sony Ericsson T707
Sony Ericsson T707
 Hyundai MB910
Hyundai MB910
 TAG Heuer MERIDIIST
TAG Heuer MERIDIIST


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