For most of us, it’s difficult to think of life without our cell phones. They are the first things we reach for in the morning and the last thing we often look at before going to bed. In fact, we do so much on our phones these days, that things we used to have in our lives are almost obsolete. These include flashlights, paper maps, cameras, and of course, regular rotary phones.
With the newest cell phone, iPhone X, recently coming out, we think it’s a great idea to look back at where we have been and what has changed over the years. There have been 100s of different cell phones out on the market over the years. Do you think you know what the oldest cell phone was? Keep reading to find out if you’re right!
9. Motorola Droid
Date Introduced: 2009
Date Discontinued: Current
Amazing Feature: Rushing in the Android OS
Approximate Cost: $199
photo source: images.techhive.com
If you have an Android phone, today, you can thank Motorola. This was the first real Android OS phone that made a huge impact on the market. In fact, this is why the Google Play store was made.
This phone was released to be a direct competitor to the iPhone. It had a large display, a design that was boxy in shape, and a QWERY keyboard that slid out. The first Droid was released in 2009, and there were four incarnations of the popular phone. Today, the Droid brand is exclusive to Verizon, and the last new version, the Moto Z Play Droid, was released in 2016.
8. Blackberry Pearl
Date Introduced: 2006
Date Discontinued: 2010
Amazing Feature: First Blackberry with a Media Player and Camera
Approximate Cost: $299.99 when released
photo source: staticflickr.com
Blackberry was one of the most popular cell phone brands in history, but as you probably know, today, though it certainly has its fans, it is all but lost in a sea of modern iPhones and Androids. One of the most popular Blackberry devices was the Pearl, which was released in 2006.
Blackberry was commonly marketed towards the businessman/woman, but this Blackberry was very different. The Pearl contained a camera, which other Blackberry devices didn’t have, and a media player.
7. Palm Treo 600
Date Introduced: 2003
Date Discontinued: 2004
Amazing Feature: Color screen, candy bar design
Approximate Cost: $500
photo source: maxbhi.com
There were a number of Palm Treos on the market, but the one that really stood out from the crowd is the Palm Treo 600. The Treo 600 was the first Palm device that had a camera and a brightly colored screen. Before this, Palm was mostly known for its PDAs, but the Treo changed that for the company.
The Palm Treo was everywhere in the early to mid 2000s, and you would see them in holsters on the side of people’s pants. This was also the first Treo that was in the famed candy bar design, as the previous versions were flip phones. Marketed as an all-in-one device, it brought the ideas of a phone and a PDA together in one device.
6. Sanyo SCP-5300
Date Introduced: 2002
Amazing Feature: First phone with a camera
Approximate Cost: $399.95
photo source: cbsistatic.com
Today, we use the cameras on our cell phones each day, but back in 2002, it was a brand-new concept, and only available on one phone: The Sanyo SCP-5300. This flip phone, which was exclusive to Sprint, had the ability to take photos with the phone open or closed. This meant you could take your “self-portrait.” After all, the term “selfie” didn’t exist at that time.
Depending on the version of the phone you had, it could hold anywhere from 10 to 79 photos. It also had web capabilities, which wasn’t as common on phones. Yes, you could get it, but you paid a lot for it. Typically, it was by the minute, and you certainly couldn’t connect to Wi-Fi. This was a really popular phone, and amazing when it first hit the market.
5. Nokia 5110
Date Introduced: 1998
Date Discontinued: 2001
Amazing Feature: Rugged, excellent battery
Approximate Cost: -$100
photo source: wikipedia
The Nokia 5110 was one of the most popular phones of the late 1990s and early 2000s, basically right before the iPhone changed the game as we knew it. The 5110 was a tough phone, perfect for teens and adults who were looking for a cellular phone option. It had a very nice LCD screen for the time period, and was one of the first phones with a faceplate that could be changed.
This cell phone was aimed at older teens and young adults, and it was one of the first phones to feature the famed game, Snake. The 5110 held strong for a few years, but was eventually taken off the market in favor of lighter, smaller phones.
4. Motorola StarTAC
Date Introduced: 1996
Date Discontinued: 2007
Amazing Feature: First flip phone
Approximate Cost: $1000
photo source: wikipedia
The StarTAC from Motorola was released in early 1996 and was the first ever flip phone. This phone was so revolutionary that it sold approximately 60 million units, which is shocking considering the $1000 price tag. However, at that time, mobile phone carriers often offered great discounts to consumers who signed long contracts, so most people didn’t pay that full price.
In addition to being the first flip phone, the Motorola StarTAC was one of the first to use a lithium-ion battery. Additionally, it had the ability to vibrate instead of ring when a phone call came in. The display on the StarTAC was also revolutionary. It was digital and had the first large display on a cell phone.
3. Nokia 1011
Date Introduced: 1992
Date Discontinued: 1994
Amazing Feature: First GSM Phone
Approximate Cost: $300
photo source: telegraph.co.uk
The Nokia 1011 was the first GSM phone on the market, and was mass produced. Some of the main features of this phone include the ability to send and receive SMS messages and it had enough memory to hold 99 phone numbers.
Thanks to all these technological advances, this phone was large and heavy. For instance, it weighed just over 17 ounces. An iPhone 8 weighs just over 5 oz, for comparison. This phone had a small display window, which was also unusual during the early 1990s.
2. Motorola Microtac 9800X
Date Introduced: 1989
Date Discontinued: 1991
Amazing Feature: First portable phone that wasn’t attached to a car
Approximate Cost: $2,495
photo source: pinimg.com
There have been a number of revolutionary phones on this list, but the Motorola Microtac 9800X might be the most revolutionary. It was the first phone that was truly mobile and portable. Before this phone came out, “mobile phones” were only available in cars.
The Microtac 9800X was quite expensive, though it came with a number of groundbreaking features, many of which we can chuckle at, today. These included keypad tones, name and phone number storage, volume control, and a dot-matrix display.
1. Motorola Dynatac 8000X
Date Introduced: 1984
Date Discontinued: 1994
Amazing Feature: First mobile phone
Approximate Cost: $3,995
photo source: staticflickr.com
Finally, we get to the oldest. It is the Motorola Dynatax 8000X. It was released in 1984, retailed for about $4,000, and is the first mobile phone ever marketed to the public. At the time, this was a phone only for the rich and wealthy, and most owners were business people who were on the go. If you said the term “cell phone,” people would give you a strange look, and if you said “mobile phone,” people would assume you were talking about a car phone.
Things have certainly changed in the 30 years that the first person bought the Dynatax 8000X. Known as “The Brick,” this phone was heavy and large, weighing in at more than a pound and a half. Soon after this phone was introduced, Ameritech introduced the first cellular service, which was $50 a month and cost an additional $0.40 a minute from 9am to 5pm, and $0.24 a minute otherwise. Wow! How things have changed.