Retro Tech: Nokia Phones that Changed the Mobile Industry

It’s almost impossible to talk about Nokia without feeling a pang of nostalgia...

28 Aug 2013

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It's almost impossible to talk about Nokia without feeling a pang of nostalgia. Although it's probably not the case, it just seemed as though everyone's (or at least everyone of a certain age's) first phone was a Nokia. And with good reason, as old-school Nokia phones were absolutely awesome.

I mean, how could we ever forget about the brilliant 3310? Not only was it a great little device for making texts and calls, but it also looked stunning, could easily slip into a pocket, was virtually indestructible, and had Snake (a.k.a the best mobile game ever).

3310 Meme

Sure, the 3310 didn't have any of the basic features that we expect from modern day smarthphones, including a camera, a multi-touch display, and an internet connection, but it was a beautifully designed and hardy phone that was a blast to use. And what's more, the 3310 was also customisable. Though that may seem a superficial feature, one of the first things many of us did when we got our Nokia was to go to the nearest phone shop a buy a sky blue case for it (in hindsight, it wasn't a very cool look at all). 

But we didn't care, the 3310 was our pride and joy.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

During their circa 1999/2000 heyday, Nokia were creating exciting and innovative mobile phones that helped to shape the mobile phone industry. One such device is the 7110, which was the first mobile phone to provide us with a humble glimpse of an always online future. 

Nokia 7110

While it may look kind of clumsy by today's standards (especially with that rather gaudy antenna), the 7110 was the first mobile device to include a WAP browser for access to the mobile internet. While WAP internet never really caught on, largely due to the fact that every web-page was drip-fed over an impossibly slow connection, it was Nokia that made the first tentative steps that would lead to 3G and 4G.

And then Nokia came out with the 3210. Sure it doesn't look like a particularly remarkable phone, as it had no camera, no access to the internet, or even an elegant sliding front panel like the 7110 had, but the 3210 was one of the most popular handsets ever created with over 160 units being shipped in total. 

Put simply, the 3210 was a breath of fresh air in the mobile phone market, as it managed to eliminate the antenna and launch T9 predictive text. And you know what, the 3210 could almost go for a week without charging it (unlike pretty much every smartphone out right now). 



Full Circle: Nokia and Microsoft

Sure, we've been looking at Nokia phones that have changed the mobile phone industry. And while the Lumia 620 will never have an impact quite like the 3210, the 3310, and the 7110, it could still be an important device by helping to make the Windows 8 OS a more desirable platform.

Windows 8 OS

But perhaps more pleasingly, the Lumia 620 shows that Nokia are still capable of recapturing the magic of their more retro handsets. In the mean time though... we might go dig out our 3310 for old time's sake.


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