With smartphones being a part of our lives for ten years now, it’s hard to imagine life without them. Before these feature-rich gadgets became a necessity even for children, it was all about the ‘wow factor’. Back in the day when all mobile phones had almost the same (lack of) features, the different manufacturers had to rely on their designs to set them apart from the rest of the crowd. So, just for fun here are some of the coolest pre-smartphone mobile phones that we think should make a return. Preferably in smartphone form!
Back in 2006, Nokias were king. The Finnish company was the largest manufacturer of mobile phones in Europe and nothing else really compared. It was only when smartphones become popular that Nokia really dropped the ball. In 2006 the Nokia N93 was probably one of the most versatile mobile phones that anyone ever made. Not only could you use the N93 as a flip phone to make and receive calls, but you could also transform it into a camcorder for shooting videos. You could even slide the screen up into landscape mode to watch a film or play a game. We consider the 3.2MB camera poor by today’s standards. But if Nokia beefed this phone up and brought it to 2018 they could have a real hit on their hands.
Officially called the LG KG800, this was often referred to as the ‘chocolate phone’ back in 2006. We’re not quite sure how it got this name, as it was two years prior to Android launching and naming their versions after different sweets. Who knows? LG could well have been on to something, which would explain why they’re still so popular today. In a world when most phones lit up green or blue, the LG KG800 had refreshing red lights on the keypad – which really made it stand out.
Psion Series 5
Although not technically a phone, the Psion Series 5 was released 20 years ago way back in 1998. It was a great gadget for writing back in it’s day. And it probably wouldn’t take too much to add some 4G functionality to it and give it a new life as a smartphone. The Series 5 weighed just 300 grams and easily fit into the pocket of your favourite pair of jeans, unlike the majority of smartphones today. This was without doubt the first true pocket computer, around 15 years ahead of the age of the smartphones. It even came with a stylus, which seems to be an idea that’s catching on again today.
Nokia Lumia 920
The Lumia is the most iconic smartphone from Nokia. Back in 2012 when Nokia launched the Lumia it had one thing going for it that no other smartphone had. Colour. The Lumia 920 was one of the last phones that they released prior to selling the mobile phone arm of the business to Microsoft. At the time it was a true rival to the Apples and the Androids. It had a nice colourful back fascia, which was a great feature because Apple incorporated the idea into the iPhone 5C a year later. Both of these smartphones have since been discontinued, which leaves nothing but a drab selection of monochrome metallic designs. We say bring back the Lumia 920 and add a splash of colour to the world of smartphones.
Just like the Psion Series 5, the Palm Pre was years ahead of its time. The Palm Pre from 2009 boasted wireless charging, a swipe-based user interface and a universal search function. Interestingly, wireless charging is only recently becoming a major feature on even the latest models of smartphone. It’d be nice to see another radical phone out there to breathe life into the current world of smartphones, where all of the different operating systems seem to be using exactly the same ideas.