Superphones Of Old Times

Living with dual-core phones with 16 megapixel cameras and quad-core tablets that offer an almost console like gaming experience, we sometimes forget where mobile technology was 3-5 years ago. In times of styluses, resistive touch screens, and pixels you could actually see on your phone’s display, we were fascinated by mobile Internet and integrated WiFi technology. Sometimes, I like to bring up these old days again and just think of things that fascinated me back then.

Today, I thought about superphones of old times, handsets that were seen as pioneers in mobile technology a few years ago, the Nokia Lumia 900′s of 2006 if you like, and I wanted to share this with you. I think that this is very helpful to realize the radical change the smartphone industry has undergone during the past 5 years. We went from Symbian to iOS and Android for example, we went from 3G to 4G, we went from single-touch to multitouch and we went from single-core processors to dual-core ones, and we will most definitely continue going that way. You may have understood me after reading this, you may have roughly understood the process that happened in the last years, but one thing is very easy to see: The perception of the word “smartphone” has just altered, and, at least to me, the smartphones of 2012 deserve the word “smart” in their names more than those of 2006 or so, however you always have to see that these devices were groundbreaking at their time.

Enough of talking, I know that you want to see some phones, and here they are:

Nokia N95

Nokia N95:

Nokia’s N95 was announced in September 2006 and functioned as a pioneer in some terms. It was one of the first handsets to feature a 5MP camera (which was able to record 480p videos), and I remember myself admiring this fact. It had support for HSDPA, meaning that you could get approximately 3.6 MBit/s of data speed as well as it came with WiFi and GPS. The N95 followed a completely different concept than the other Nokia NSeries phones: You could slide the screen in two directions, so if you pushed the upper part of the phone to the left, the numeric keyboard revealed itself to you, whereas if you pushed it to the right, the control keys for the internal music player were popping up. The N95 had no touchscreen, but it ran Symbian OS 9.3 and featured an ARM 11 332 MHz processor. At that certain time, the N95 was really innovative. Nevertheless, the concept that Nokia and basically all other cellphone manufacturers followed at that time just turned out to be the wrong one.

First Generation iPhone

First Generation iPhone:

There’s no doubt that the first generation iPhone turned the smartphone industry by 180° degrees. It had a multitouch screen instead of many physical buttons; in fact, users could interact with it by swiping and scrolling with their fingers. The idea of the iPhone and its OS, which was called iPhone OS back then, was that users should think that they control the software and not the hardware. The hardware was supposed to take a backseat, while software was what should really differentiate the iPhone from other smartphones in the future. However, back in January 2007 when it was released, no other phone had that sort of hardware either. The phone was powered by a Samsung 620 MHz CPU, which was underclocked to 412 MHz. It featured a 2MP camera as well as 4, 8 or 16GB’s of internal storage, while it lacked 3G data speeds. At first, no native Apps were available for the device, so users had to rely on web Apps until Apple introduced the App Store with iPhone OS 2. To me, the iPhone was the real game-changer in this business, because touch screens and many of the the things it came with were just the right way to go: Developers could create Apps with buttons, etc. especially designed for their particular App, meaning that their capabilities got a huge boost, since they were not limited by the phone’s hardware anymore.

Google G1

Google G1:

T-Mobile’s and Google’s G1 was the first commercial Android smartphone in the world and hit the American market in Fall 2008. The underlying idea of the G1 was the same as the one of the iPhone and the one of today’s smartphones: It was touch control based, customers could easily access the Internet with it and it had an App Store, which allowed users to download applications for their device directly to it. These Apps were meant to extend the level of possibilities, meaning that everybody was able to download the things that fitted best for their purpose. The G1 a.k.a HTC Dream featured a 3.2-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 480×320 pixels, a Qualcomm MSM7201A 528 MHz processor, a 3.2MP camera, and a full slidable QWERTY keyboard, which is one of the main reasons why some people are still loving the G1. I owned this phone myself, and recently I installed Android 2.3 Gingerbread on it; of course it does not run very fast, but I was amazed that it was actually able to deal with Gingerbread, since Google never released an official update.

Hopefully, I gave you a better understanding of my thoughts, and of course you likely realized the change that has happened in the past 5 years before reading this article, but I just wanted to show it to you based on examples.

What do you think about that?