After Mobile World Congress (traditionally in February), the
next big trade show is CeBIT in March which in the past used to
generate quite a few new product announcements.
Partnering Sony Ericsson's range of "Walkman"
handsets were the somewhat less memorable "Quickshare"
phones, which took what was essentially the same hardware with a
few tweaks to make it more of a digital camera rather than a music
player. The Sony
was an attractively understated two megapixel
camera phone, which also showcased Sony Ericsson's "dual front"
design where the back of the phone was every bit as interesting
to look at as the front. If you were on T-Mobile in Germany, you
were offered the slightly different Sony
Because CeBIT is a German show and Siemens were a German mobile
company, it was usual to see a lot of Siemens devices at this event.
The Siemens CL75
was probably the last major sales success though, a simple but very
attractive clamshell phone with a definite "girlie" vibe.
Siemens were certainly capable of more technically interesting phones,
and the Siemens SXG75
was a 3G device with a QVGA display, 2 megapixel camera, FM radio
and even GPS. But time was almost up for Siemens, and the SXG75
failed to make much of an impact when it actually did hit the market.
Motorola were on something of a roll at the beginning of 2005,
and they followed up February's announcements with a 3G version
of the RAZR initially called the Motorola
. Motorola were also pioneering smartphones, and the Linux-based
showed a few promising features, but ultimately was only a niche
device. Motorola were also going after the low-end market with two
devices called the Motorola
SLVRlite and Motorola SLVRcam
. They were pretty similar to each
other and the previous month's SLVR, so much so that even Motorola
got confused over which was which.
The Nokia 6230i
was a popular business phone, with a surprisingly sharp 208 x 208
pixel screen, 1.3 megapixel camera, FM radio, music player and Bluetooth
in a handset that looked good but wasn't too showy. If you couldn't
afford the €350 price tag, the cheaper €200 Nokia
did at least feature Bluetooth and for €150 you could get
the very basic Nokia 6030
Samsung were getting heavily into slider phones, and the Samsung
offered a useful improvement over the very popular Samsung
D500. More esoterically, the Samsung
was a Windows-based smartphone with a 3GB physical hard
disk inside, an idea that was briefly popular a decade ago but soon
because obsolete with cheap flash memory.
Imported more-or-less directly from Vodafone's Japanese subsidiary,
the Toshiba TS921
was a highly-specified 3G clamshell which competed against the more
popular Sharp 902. Despite several attempts over the years, Toshiba
never managed to break into the European market.
Android continued to gain momentum, and the Samsung
Galaxy S was the very first high-end "Galaxy S"
smartphone, featuring a then large 4" 480 x 800 pixel screen,
a 1GHz CPU with 512MB of RAM, 8 or 16GB of storage, 3.5G and WiFi
data, GPS and all the other features that Android devices come with,
this was an impressive but expensive device. It is also notorious
for being one of the key elements in a huge lawsuit between Apple
and Samsung, with Apple claiming that this and other devices "slavishly
copied" the iPhone.
The Nokia handsets of 2010 didn't look that different from the
Nokia handsets of 2005, and the Nokia
really wasn't a million miles away from the 6230i in terms
of what it did.
Perhaps inspired by Apple, Dell was also trying to break into
the smartphone market. The Dell
was a pretty unexciting device in many respects, and with
Dell's mixed reputation it was never going to be destined for success.
Dual-SIM devices are getting pretty common these days, but five
years ago they were still pretty rare. The LG
was a simple dual-SIM device that did the job. And possibly
more notable for a name that brings to mind home baking, the LG
was a cheap-and-cheerful feature phone clearly
aimed at the youth market.
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