In the days before ubiquitous touchscreens with intelligent on-screen
keyboards, manufacturers struggled to find a way of putting a physical
keyboard into their phones while keeping them a convenient size.
The Siemens SK65
was one of the odder attempts, looking like a somewhat elongated
but quite normal phone at first, but then a QWERTY keyboard rotated
out, leaving the phone in a peculiar-looking cross shape. Although
it had BlackBerry compatibility built-in, it turned out that potential
customers would sooner stick with a BlackBerry and the product flopped,
which means that it's a rather collectable device today.
BlackBerry were thinking along the same lines as Siemens with
the BlackBerry 7100t
which was much closer to a normal phone in configuration than traditional
BlackBerry devices. These 7100-series devices were a modest success
and they lead to the very popular Pearl range, but as with the Siemens
design this type of QWERTY keyboard is basically extinct today.
The Samsung i530
looked like an old-fashioned Samsung clamshell at first glance,
but underneath this was a Palm OS smartphone which was highly unusual
even then. Only a few thousand of these devices were ever made,
and they were distributed to VIPs at the Athens Olympics. They are
very rare devices today.. and those that are available are apparently
mostly set to the Greek language which is a bit of a challenge.
A decade or so before the current trend of "selfies",
manufacturers were struggling to find ways to enable people to take
self-portraits with single-camera phones. Some put a little mirror
on the back, but devices such as the Samsung
had a rotating camera module that could point either backwards
or forwards. These days it is probably more reliable and cheaper
just to stick in a second camera.
The Sendo P600
a conventional pay-as-you-go phone from a decade ago, which is not
so interesting in itself.. but the British company behind it was
far more interesting, shipping millions of cheap and cheerful prepay
phones on one end of the scale and some high-end Symbian devices
on the other end. The P600 was almost the last product to come to
market, and Sendo folded in 2005 without ever shaking up the market
in the way that it could.
The Nokia N900
was Nokia's first and last Maemo smartphone, to a large extent it
represented Nokia's last attempt to remain competitive in a rapidly-changing
marketplace, but in the end it
was an odd beast - a Windows-based subnotebook with
3G connectivity and a lot of Nokia features built-in, this device
was an attempt to cash in on what was then a successful market for
tiny and inexpensive laptops. Unfortunately Nokia came into the
market only a few months before Apple redefined everything with
the launch of the original iPad, a move that pretty much killed
the subnotebook market off completely.
What's the best selling smartphone of all time? Well, according
to some sources it is the Nokia
, a low-cost Symbian device that sold in millions but was
never as iconic as many other Nokia devices. Nokia also updated
their flagship touchscreen smartphone with a special Navigation
Edition of the Nokia
Five years ago the clamshell phone was a dying breed, but they
did give manufacturers more leeway in the way they were designed.
may not have been to everyone's tastes, but it
was certainly not boring.
INQ Mobile was a British-based maker of low-cost phones which
was a subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa, who also own the 3 network.
It was perhaps no surprise then that most of INQ's output headed
to 3, and the INQ
and the INQ
were a couple of good looking and very good value phones
that ended up on that network. INQ soldiered on for a long time
with some modest success, but closed down early in 2014.
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