Launched October 2001
At the same time that Apple launched their groundbreaking iPod digital music player, Nokia were going for the same market with their equally groundbreaking Nokia 5510. Of course, today people remember the original the original classic iPod… but the 5510 hides in obscurity filed under W for weird.
|A weird-looking Nokia 5510
The two devices were both trying to do the same thing, but both Apple and Nokia started from different origins. Where the iPod had a 5GB internal hard disk and was strictly a music-only device, the 5510 had 64MB of internal flash memory and also a full QWERTY keyboard, WAP browser, email client and of course it was a phone too.
This was Nokia’s first music capable phone, but it required a Windows PC to encode MP3s in a copy-protected format, and the 64MB of memory was about for about one album’s worth of songs (compared to the 1000 or so on the iPod). This was slow and cumbersome, and the 5510 didn’t support memory cards so you were stuck with this 64MB limit. However, the 5510 did include an FM radio which was quite a useful feature for its day.
Nokia wanted it to be more than just a music phone, so the inbuilt email client and the built-in QWERTY keyboard should have been a good match. Except of course that looking at it now, the keyboard takes up most of the device with a relatively tiny screen. But RIM hadn’t yet come up with their iconic 6230 design which was frankly a lot more usable, and which was much-copied in the years that followed its release.
|Doubly weird, two Nokia 5510s
Flawed as a music player, and flawed as a messaging device… the 5510 nonetheless foreshadowed technologies that were to come. You can’t attach any blame to Nokia for seeing what consumers wanted, giving it a go and getting it wrong. But Nokia got it wrong rather too often, whereas the iPod was right first time.
Weird Nokia phones are quite collectable, and the 5510 easily falls into this category with good examples going for about £70 or so. You might only get limited use out of it, but certainly on looks along it still has the wow factor…