By: Sanjay Verma
Nokia 9000 Communicator
Launched in 1996, the $800 Nokia 9000 Communicator, pioneered as an early smartphone with a mobile office setup, including calls, email, and browsing. Weighing 397 grams, it preceded the Blackberry trend, boasting an Intel 24 MHz i386 CPU, 8 GB memory, and a QWERTY keyboard behind an LCD display.
Released in September 1996 by Nokia, the Nokia 8110, famed as the "banana phone" from The Matrix, introduced sliding design and featured the first graphic LCD screen in Nokia phones. It also pioneered Smart SMS technology, allowing users to send and receive ringtones through text messages.
Released by Motorola on January 3, 1996, the StarTAC, priced at $1,000, was a groundbreaking flip phone and the first truly mobile phone, earning fame as a "wearable cell phone." Its compact design and widespread consumer adoption marked a historic shift in the mobile phone landscape.
Launched in 1994, Hagenuk's MT-2000, the first phone with an internal antenna and soft keys. Despite these innovations and early entry into the GSM market, both the phone and the company faced challenges and Hagenuk sold its mobile phone division in 1995, just a year after the MT-2000's release.
Launched on August 16, 1994, the IBM Simon, the world's first smartphone co-created by IBM and Mitsubishi Electric, cost $899 to $1099. A touchscreen PDA, it preceded the smartphone era by a year, offering features like calls, faxes, emails, and various utilities.
Released on November 10, 1992, Nokia's 1011 was its first commercial GSM cell phone, priced at 2500 DM (about $1,557). Compact and innovative, it introduced text messaging and marked the beginning of Nokia's market dominance, shifting away from Motorola's analog focus.
Motorola International 3200
Released in 1992 by Motorola, the International 3200 was the first digital handheld mobile phone, priced at $1,238. It marked a shift from analog technology, offering a compact design with five hours of charging for eight hours of standby or 30 minutes to an hour of talk time.
Debuted in 1991 by Orbitel, the 901 was the world's first GSM mobile phone. Despite its bulky design, it paved the way for later GSM models and became the first phone offered by the UK's inaugural GSM provider, Vodafone.
Motorola MicroTAC 9800X
Released in 1989 by Motorola, the MicroTAC 9800X was the first semi-flip phone, priced from $2,495 to $3,495., weighing 12.3 ounces and measuring 9 inches when open. The MicroTAC paved the way for later versions until its successor, the StarTAC, arrived in 1996.
Motorola DynaTAC 8000X
Released in 1983, Motorola's DynaTAC 8000x, the "brick phone," secured FCC approval, becoming the world's oldest cell phone. Priced at $3,995, it sparked a waiting list, laying the groundwork for decades of innovation and today's smartphones.