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The Top 10 Legendary Models of Mobile Phones

Mobile Phone Model
1 Motorola DynaTAC Motorola invented the first ever hand-held portable cellular device by the name DynaTAC. It was made commercially available in markets in the year 1983. DynaTAC was a short form for Dynamic Adaptive Total Area Coverage. Several models of the phone were released in the later years, till 1993 when the phone was finally discontinued.

The phone weighed about 790 grams and was 10 inches in height. It had an inbuilt directory which could store 30 contact numbers. As one can guess, the phone was bulky when compared to today’s standard smartphones and had a big flexible antenna at the top of it which was called the “rubber duck” whip antenna! Its keypad had around 12 keys for basic calling functions and 9 additional keys for call related functions.

The newer models of the phone were launched with a small LED screen. Most of these phones allowed a talk-time battery for around 60 minutes and took about 30 hours to charge fully. Surprisingly, there were after-market accessories for the phone like fast chargers and could be installed in vehicles as well.

The phone was truly revolutionary as it had ushered in a new era of portable phones, a concept never to be seen before. At the time of their launch, they were considered to be symbols of wealth and status in the society.

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2 Motorola StarTAC Motorola StarTAC was a successor to Motorola’s DynaTAC and was launched in 1996. StarTAC was the first kind of clamshell mobiles to be released in markets and basically had a flip-style design. The phone had reduced the size of portable communication devices to a large extent and made them pocket-friendly. It became immensely popular with the masses and around 60 million StarTAC devices were sold.

The first device used 2G technology for communication purposes and was equipped with a monochrome LCD display which had a character resolution of 4x15. Most of these devices were available on the GSM platform and were light and compact in size. The phone was first launched at a price tag of $1000 and remained in vogue till the early 2000s.

The 2004 model of the phone had several new features like a 64-channel sound, a directory capable of storing 2,800 contacts, and even mobile banking service which was provided through SK Telecom. Though StarTAC’s popularity started to reduce afterwards, the last model (StarTAC III) was released in 2007 which supported GPS, 128 MB of built-in storage and could play MP3 songs.

The name reminds of the movie Star Trek, and the actual model resembled the Communicator device used in the movie. It was a popular phone and could be seen in many movies, with actors like Nicholas Cage using it often on-screen.

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3 Nokia Communicator Nokia Communicator was a series of Nokia phones that brought in an all-new laptop-like design. The top visible part of the phone had a small screen and basic calling keys like “call”, “end”, 12 dialing numbers, etc. The revolution lied beneath it. The phone could be flipped open laterally which would present to the user a huge screen (according to those times), accompanied with a miniature QWERTY keyboard.

Considered a genius innovation in the mobile industry, the first model of the phone was launched in the year 1996. Though the phone looked like a brick and weighed around 393 grams at that time, it provided a host of features compared to what its rivals were offering. One could use applications like notepad, calendar, GPS, and a web-browser. It could also be used to send fax remotely.

Subsequent versions of the phone included Nokia 9110 and Nokia 9210. Several path-breaking features were introduced by Nokia in these models. Some of them were video streaming services, support for flash content, powerful CPU and the changing of operating system to Symbian.

Communicator was launched at a price of $800 and was not within everyone’s reach. The phone was primarily used by business and professional people and was widely used by them. In 2007, the Nokia E90 was released which was the last in the communicator line-up and was a significant improvement in terms of size and technology.

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4 Nokia 3310 Launched in the year 2000, Nokia 3310 is counted amongst world’s most selling mobile phones with more than 126 million handsets sold worldwide. Its popularity was incomparable in those times and the handset started the golden era for Nokia Corporation.

The device ran on GSM platform and had an 84x48 resolution monochrome display. The phone contained numerous features, in fact a lot considering the price at which it was offered. There was an inbuilt calculator, alarm, stopwatch, calendar, etc. It also had games – Pairs II, Space Impact, Bantumi and Snake II, which became the talk of the town in no time.

The peculiar thing about one of the subsequent 3310 models was that one could send messages three times longer, as compared to the size of messages on other phones. It also allowed for speed dialing and voice dialing.

Nokia 3310 was a highly durable phone which led it to gain a cult status. It is still talked about in the online communities and used to be often put to test by using hammers, knives, and by even putting it beneath heavy objects like cars!

A new updated model of the phone was launched in 2017, which was meant to provide a fresh feel to the phone. It continues to carry a list of basic features like a 2MP single back camera and support for microSD card.

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5 Motorola RAZR Motorola Razr (pronounced as “razor”) was a popular line of mobile phones by Motorola. The first edition of the phone was launched in 2004 with a sleek flip design. The third version, Razr V3 was one of the most selling phones to be ever produced by Motorola and gained a cult status owing to its beautiful design and uber cool looks. It is said by many that it gave Motorola widespread recognition in the mobile industry, just like 3310 gave to Nokia.

Razr phones were equipped with two screens, a small blue screen on the top of the phone, and the main screen on the inside which was visible on flipping the clamshell. The top screen provided basic information about battery status, missed calls, messages, etc. Both GSM and EDGE platforms were supported. When launched, the phone was available at a cost of $600.

The phone was made available in a variety of colors, weighed around 100 grams and had an inbuilt memory of about 13.5 MB. Over 130 million units of the Version 3 were sold worldwide, which made it the most selling clamshell phone. The V3i version of the phone was released in partnership with Apple, equipping it with the iTunes services.

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6 BlackBerry Curve BlackBerry phones no longer carry the charm they used to in their heydays! Back in the times when Blackberry was at the top, its devices were considered purely business phones that enabled easy access to mailing services. The phones also started a revolution by providing a full QWERTY keyboard which was laid out neatly and made typing very easy. BlackBerry devices were highly recommended for their encryption and safety features, making them the first choice of business professionals.

The Curve and Pearl models were one of the most selling devices from Blackberry that came with a trackpad and a trackball, respectively. Both these features were iconic and allowed free navigation within the screen. The screen on the phone was in an unconventional rectangular shape but made every character legible. It was all the more suited for reading emails and documents. BlackBerry offered excellent file management, which allowed one to manage their business and private life on the same device.

Both Pearl and Curve came with decent cameras and other multimedia services, such as music player, radio, and dedicated music keys. The phones also had a physical lock button which was uncommon in those days. Battery life was excellent considering that these phones were extensively used on business trips. Furthermore, BlackBerry offered its own application store, which continues even in the present times. There are several utility applications on offer.

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7 Apple iPhone Introduced in 2007 by Steve Jobs, iPhone let out the cat among the pigeons. The smartphone was launched with the aim of integrating a computer, an iPod, and a digital camera into a single device, and changed the way people used their phones. The first of iPhone was made available at an affordable price, with collaborations with multiple cellular carriers, putting them into wide use.

iPhone was extremely thin and operated on iPhone OS 1.0, which was known for its simple interface. It could be connected to Wi-Fi networks, allowed data sharing via Bluetooth, and came with a camera capable of clicking high-quality images.

The second generation of iPhone was named 3G, after its new cellular network. This model provided fast speed internet and was available in 8GB and 16GB storage options. iPhone 3G offered A-GPS, Bluetooth and MMS support and Microsoft Exchange for emails. Alongside, Apple introduced the App Store, using which people could download thousands of apps from different categories. The store offered a mere 552 apps in July 2008, when the App Store was first started. The number reached a whopping 15,000 by January 2009 and the store currently offers well over 2.2 million applications!

Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6S remain the most selling iPhones till date. These two models were the first large-screen Apple devices and introduced an overhauled design. 6 and 6S were upgraded heavily in terms of new camera, fast processor, and improved connectivity. The models used to bend slightly, when put under pressure, because of which the phones were trolled on social media.

Other popular models of iPhone include iPhone 4, 4S and iPhone X, which comes with a face-detection feature.

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8 T-Mobile G1 (HTC Dream) T-Mobile G1 was a device manufactured by the brand HTC. The phone then passed on to a collaboration between Google and OHA (Open Handset Alliance). It was launched in 2008 and was the first Android phone. Dream was integrated with email services from Google, offered access to the Android application market (for downloading applications), and was highly customizable.

The phone had 4 keys on the top chin, along with a trackball. The screen could slide laterally to expose the QWERTY keypad beneath. It supported multi-touch and had an auto-focus camera. One drawback of the phone was that it did not have the conventional 3.5 audio jack. HTC Dream also featured a 192MB RAM and a 3.2-inch screen. It was equipped with only one camera on the rear, and it couldn’t really meet up to the market’s expectations (for want of some features).

Nevertheless, being the first Android phone, it paved the way for subsequent phones on this platform. The Android market was not developed sufficiently at the time when this phone was launched, but slowly, people started to value how anyone could create applications for the platform. Today, Android is the most used operating system for phones all over the world, and its story started right here.

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9 Samsung Galaxy Note In 2011, Samsung came up with Galaxy Note, with a touch display of 5.3 inches. The phone, which was earlier seen as too bulky for people’s pockets, changed everyone’s perception rapidly and a new market for large screen devices was created, often called the phablet industry. Today we see that large screen phones have become the norm. Despite being big in size, its screen offered HD quality display thus enabling great multimedia experience.

The phone ran on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and could be updated to newer versions of Android. The stylus or the S-Pen added to the functionality of the phone and users could draw and scribble on their screens, and take notes quite easily. Despite its large size, the device was pretty thin, weighed around 178 grams and could be operated easily in one’s palm.

Galaxy Note was praised for its excellent contact management and clear call quality. Samsung gave its own applications on the device which added to the functionality of the phone. Its camera gave tough competition to Apple devices which were known for their camera quality, and provided Full HD 30 FPS video recording capability. The dual-core processor on board, was one of the fastest chipsets in those days, making its usage extremely smooth.

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10 Samsung Galaxy S Series The S series is one of the longest continuing and the most selling series from the Samsung brand. Samsung’s success today is credited to this lineup of phones. It enabled them to wipe out competition from big brands like HTC and Nokia, apart from providing an alternative to the iPhone users.

The first edition of the phone came with a 513 MB RAM and a 4-inch screen. The later models of the S series came jam-packed with innovative features. Samsung S-III was equipped with an intelligent personal assistant, which was named S Voice and was the counterpart of Apple’s Siri. These phones used high-quality Super AMOLED screens which is a topnotch screen technology even today.

Some of the most famous models from this series are S2, S3, S4, and S6. Samsung Galaxy S4 proved to be the second highest selling phone from Samsung. It offered features like IR blaster which could turn the phone into a universal remote control and air-gesture, by which one could control the phone by hovering over it.

Samsung Galaxy S6 which was introduced with Virtual Reality compatibility, was another breakthrough. The Edge versions in the series come with a dropped screen on one side of the phone, which allow users to see their feeds and notifications quickly.

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The technological evolution witnessed over the past few decades has been nothing short of phenomenal! And so has been the evolution in the means of communication. Today, we live in a world where the number of mobile devices has exceeded the number of people living on this planet. More and more people prefer mobile phones to communicate with each other and these devices have radically outgrown the use of landlines.

The need for communicating on the move, and without any wires attached, lead to the invention of the first mobile device in 1973. Since then, the mobile industry has seen several breakthroughs. The expansion of internet all the more boosted the utility of mobile phones, enabling mobile phones to do all kinds of tasks, much more than just being used as a means of commination.

Mobile telephony is a defining technology in today’s world. Every unit of the society, right from a private citizen, to a small business, to a corporation, and even governments, are connected using mobile phones. As a personal device, these devices have come a long way to offer services of a music player, camera, web-browsing, alarm clock, radio, and the list goes on and on. Mobile phone industry is currently among the highest revenue generating industries in the world, with around USD 478.7 billion generated globally in the year 2017.

Better connectivity with mobile phones

When first made commercially available in 1983, mobile phones served the sole purpose of voice calling. With the passage of time they started being used for all kind of purposes. In 1993, Short Message Service (SMS) was introduced for the first time, allowing 160 characters to be typed as an “ideal message”. First commercial phone with SMS was introduced by Nokia. Another brilliant feature to be introduced in this year was the touchscreen, which could not efficiently capture the fingers initially and a stylus had to be used for the purpose.

Nokia Communicator 9000 was launched in the year 1996 which provided internet access on the mobile platform. Though the phone was visionary, the cellular networks took some time to catch up with this development. This technology developed exponentially thereafter, with everyone carrying a miniature computer in their pockets these days. The Internet also allowed the mailing services to be accessed from the cell phone devices. All such features came at just the right time, when most of the countries in the world were witnessing market liberalization.

In 1999, Benefson Esc! introduced GPS on the mobile phones for the first time. The phone was meant for outdoor uses and was splash proof. Initially, the technology was not efficient and took a long time to identify locations. Things improved only after the introduction of A-GPS.

Multimedia capabilities of mobile phones

In 2000, Samsung released its SPH-M100, which was popularly referred to as UpRoar. This was the first mobile with the ability to play MP3 files. Though the concept faced tough competition from portable media players dedicated solely for this purpose, with time people started appreciating the multi-functionality of the phone. Sony was another big player that introduced Walkman phones with innovative designs. These phones quickly came in vogue and started to play many different file formats.

Camera was another breakthrough achieved in the year 2000. Sharp J-SH04 was the first mobile phone to have an installed 0.11MP camera lens. Though its picture quality cannot be compared to today’s devices, the handset was ingenious according to its times. Today almost all the phones available in the market come with an in-built camera. Many people have done away with carrying dedicated cameras just because the mobile phone cameras have gotten so better. The internet access on the mobile devices also allows people to instantly share their photos on different platforms.

The hands-free technology was subsequently added to mobile phones which facilitated voice dialing, hands-free assist, driving aid, etc. In 2009, Android devices were equipped with multi-purpose voice controls. One of the well-known hands-free software is Siri, launched by Apple in 2011. Apple’s iPhones have gained a reputation for being high quality multimedia mobile phones, which can perform all such functions with exceptional ease.

Mobile phones’ social impact

Mobile phones have played a great role in keeping people connected with each other and disallowing anyone to live in isolation. They have improved women’s safety and made it easy for everyone to manage their time efficiently. If used properly, smartphones can also improve brain-activity!

Smartphones and mobile phones in general can be termed as a technological innovation that has pervaded all layers of society, be it gender, race, regional or economic differences. Every person can now not just call or text, but also browse the internet, capture images and videos and access multimedia features that are available on all phones these days.

Mobile phones have also improved the education among the masses. Today anyone can use Google or Wikipedia to gain endless information on almost anything known to the human race. Geographical regions which were once disconnected from the main hubs of development can be integrated into the main society. Use of mobile phones is not just limited to basic or preliminary information purposes, as they have had a major impact on knowledge-acquisition too. Video conferencing and webinars are good examples in this regard.

The health sector has also been positively impacted by the advent of mobile phones. One can easily access the internet to know about things like symptoms of a disease, hospitals in a nearby region, possible cures of a disease and other such information. There are several health features integrated into mobile phones such as the heart-beat monitor, footstep monitor, diet manager, etc. all of which are made available by a great multitude of applications.

The commercial impact of mobile phones

Apart from various other fields, commerce and industry have also been majorly affected by the use of mobile phones. Smartphones have been seamlessly integrated for banking and payment purposes and allow everyone to virtually access all of their banking services from their mobile devices. Almost every product that is available in the market can be accessed over the internet and can be shipped to a person’s doorstep.

All brands engage in extensive online marketing of their products, considering the vast number of people who use internet services via their mobiles. The GPS function has allowed people to search for shops and locations and reach there in minimum possible time. Many business deals, domestic as well as international, are negotiated and concluded exclusively on mobile phones.

Today, we are living in a world where connectivity is the need of the hour, and mobile phones have inevitably become a part of our daily lifestyle by fulfilling that need. They have had a significant impact on our culture and society overall. Though there may be some limitations or adverse effects of mobile phones, if used correctly they will continue to prove themselves as a technological boon to our society.