There are thousands of models of cell phones that have hit the streets between 1983 and now.
We’ve picked a few of the more popular and unusual ones to take you through the history of this device that most of us consider a part of our everyday lives.
We have tried, wherever possible, to include the most popular phones and the phones that were “firsts” for a particular feature, but may have missed out on your favorite phones due to the sheer number of models that are out there.
We invite you to post your faves in the comments section if they are not listed here.
Mobile phones are just now beginning to be as vital to North Americans as they have been to Asians. You can always see what is coming to store shelves in the next six months to a year by looking at the models that are currently available in Japan.
North America also had a spotty 3G network that has only really been revamped recently in order to deal with increasing demands for faster loading speeds from mobile customers, whereas Asia and most of Europe have had proper 3G networks in place for some time.
This has led to a revolution in 3G phones from 2007 until now, with more due to come out in 2009.
The list does not include any phones that were not portable handhelds. Car phones and some handhelds that were the size of a small briefcase were in use in the 1970’s and 1980’s, but since this is more about design than function we chose not to include them here.
What a year it has been for cell phones: They’ve transitioned from relatively simple voice and text messaging devices to gizmos capable of nearly everything a PDA can do, including instant messaging (typically on AOL or Yahoo’s IM services), playing music (primarily MP3 and AAC files), displaying snippets of TV shows, capturing 1-megapixel photos, and running complex games.
Of course, not all phones and services are worthy of our admiration–or our cash. But several products truly stand out from the rest.
For starters, there are reasons why people keep talking about Motorola’s Razr V3 and Palm’s Treo 650: They do their job and they do them well. In fact, PC World gave each product a World Class Award in 2005, citing their solid performance and versatile features.
Nearly all major carriers offer the Razr and the Treo, but if you want something different, it would be a good idea to check out models that might only be available on one carrier. For example, from Alltel, I like Kyocera’s Slider Remix KX5. Thanks in part to an easy-to-navigate pinwheel menu, it’s user friendly; and the 1.3-megapixel camera, music player, and support for wireless Bluetooth headsets are nice bonuses. We reviewed it back in July.