For some reason, the months of July five and ten years ago managed
to come up with some very unusual looking handsets, one of which
turned out to be a design icon.
The iconic Motorola
was launched ten
years ago this month
, a phone that was both beautiful to look
at but horrible to use, the RAZR changed attitudes to they way that
premium phones should be designed.
The RAZR was based on the V500-series, and the Motorola
V551 / V555
was the latest iteration of this conservatively-designed
but still attractive clamshell phone. The Motorola
was an unusual Linux smartphone with a flip cover,
which might have been more of a success if it had taken some design
tips from the RAZR. Another radical idea was the Motorola
clamshell messaging phone with two screens and a tiny QWERTY
The A780 needed to beat the class leader of the time, the Sony
. Sony Ericsson had a comfortable lead in the touchscreen
smartphone market at the time, but subsequent models tended to disappoint.
Another contender against the P910 was the HTC Blue Angel
(sold under various names including the T-Mobile
). With a big 3.5" screen and WiFi support, the
Blue Angel demonstrated clearly that HTC were developing into a
A completely different phone, the NEC
was an early 3G device that sold well, partly because
there was very little competition in the market at the time.
We also looked at Panasonic's efforts in the market with a range
of phones that looked good but were deeply uncompetitive underneath,
and we speculated that it might be Panasonic's
. Panasonic pulled out of the market in 2005, with
a brief but unsuccessful attempt to return to the smartphone market
Five years ago there was a sudden rush of watch phones coming
to market, and the Samsung
was Samsung's attempt in this area - it caused quite
a buzz but garnered very few sales.. but as a result it is quite
a desirable device today, coming in at €300 to €450 on the second-hand
It was a month of unconventional phones - the Samsung
was exclusive to T-Mobile in the US and was a normal-looking
phone with an unexpected slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The Samsung
looked rather squashed, but opened up to look rather
like a Sidekick device, again exclusively for T-Mobile in the US.
(aka the Nokia 6790) and Nokia
were a pair of slightly odd-looking QWERTY sliders, with
the Surge heading exclusively to AT&T in the US. Rather more
normal looking was the Nokia
, but in fact underneath this was a water-resistant
and shock-resistant phone which was one of the toughest on the market.
came to Europe.. but in the end hardly anyone cared. More
successful was the BlackBerry
, an unexciting but popular addition to RIM's range
of messaging smartphones.
Another pair of odd-looking phones, the LG
was a long and thin touchscreen feature phone,
and the Motorola
was a squat-looking thing heading to AT&T in the
US where it was very welcome to stay.
A notable departure this month was the Nokia
which was finally taken off the market after two-and-a-half
years. One of the most attractive and memorable phones in Nokia's
catalogue in the past decade, the Nokia 6300 was also a massive