From the Motorola Razr to the Nokia 3310: 8 phones we have loved and lost

Can you remember your first mobile? We salute some of the most iconic mobile phones.

We’ve come a long way from ‘clamshells’, ‘bricks’ and ‘bananas’ but there are some phones we’ll never forget.

On 19th February 1884, Ericsson combined the transmitter and receiver to produce one of the earliest telephone handsets. According to Ericsson History, at first it was used by telephone operators, then later versions became smaller and lighter for use by subscribers.

Phone technology has moved on a lot since then with brilliant phones like the Pixel, Phone by Google and Samsung Galaxy A3, here are eight mobiles that will forever hold a place in our hearts. 

1. Motorola DynaTAC 8000x (1983)

Photo credit Wikki Comms

The DynaTAC 8000x deserves a mention for being the first handheld mobile phone to hit the market. Not the most glamorous of the collection, the DynaTAC was nicknamed ‘The Brick’ by its own creators and carried a cool £2550 ($3,995) price tag. You could get half a dozen iPhone 6s for that today. With a 10-hour charge offering a measly 30 minutes of call time, it’s hard to tell why people bought this thing.


2. Nokia 8110  (1999)

Photo credit: Wikki Comms

What happens when you feature a spring-loaded phone in a popular film about a virtual reality where people can fly? The world goes into meltdown, demands the phone’s existence and out pops Nokia’s 8110 a few months later. Even now this scene from the Matrix makes phone lovers go weak at the knees. Just watch the video below and try telling us you don’t miss spring-loaded phones. 

3. Nokia 3210/3310 (199/2000) 

Nokia 3210

If you didn’t own a Nokia 3210 then what were you doing? Nokia shipped a whopping 286 million of these beasts worldwide before it was replaced with the 3310. That’s the equivalent of everyone in the UK owning four of them! They took the world by storm and introduced us to everyone’s favourite game, Snake. Throw in a battery life that lasted all eternity and you had yourself the ultimate mobile phone of its day.


4. Sharp GX10 (2003)

Sharp GX10

This was the one phone to rule them all in the early noughties. While most of us were playing with mono ringtones and single colour displays, the Sharp GX10 exploded onto the scene. It offered the UK its first ever camera phone with a 65k colour display and polyphonic ringtones. If you had the GX10 you were basically the most popular person on the planet.

5. Motorola Razr V3 (2003)

Motorola RAZR V3

With a sleek design, front facing colour display and 130 million sales this flip phone was on another level. The hot pink version practically sponsored teenage girls in the mid noughties. Every classroom was full of these beauties.


6. Samsung D500 (2004)

Samsung D500

Just when we thought flip phones couldn’t be topped, Samsung blew the market wide open with the D500. The phone featured a beautiful soft-touch slide design, which revealed the keypad when opened. It was simple, effortless and incredibly sexy. In fact, we should all start a petition to make Samsung bring it back. Slider smartphone? Yes, please!

7. Sony Ericsson W810i (2006)

Sony Ericsson W810i

If you owned the Sony Ericsson W810i, you were definitely the school bus DJ. With MP3 playback, this phone pumped out the tunes while the rest of the bus continued in polyphonic ringtone land. As long as you were happy taking song requests, the W810i gave you immediate access to the backseats of the bus.


8. BlackBerry Curve 8300 (2007)

Blackberry Curve

The BlackBerry Curve was originally designed for business use. However, once school kids got a sniff of BlackBerry’s free messaging service, BBM, that was it. Every child across the UK frantically bashed their BlackBerry’s QWERTY keypad as they sent hundreds of free messages to each other. The service took over the mobile world like wild fire. If you weren’t on it, where were you?

Mobile phones have come on leaps and bounds since the DynaTAC. Although the latest handsets may not look as flamboyant as their predecessors, they sure are packing a lot more under the hood. But we never forget our first phone.    

Photo credit: DynaTAC8000X by Redrum0486 Wikki Comms. Matrixphone by krystof.k Wikki Comm

Find out more about the UK's communications history at BT Archives

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