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Throw Back Thursday – What Were They Thinking?

By: 07/08/2014

This article has been viewed 12037 times

Nokia N-Gage

In over 20 years the Mobile phone has evolved rapidly and dramatically and if you look at the quality of today’s flag-ship phones - the Apple iPhones, the Samsung Galaxy range, the Sony Xperia’s – you would be forgiven for thinking that this evolution has been a smooth and successful journey. Some may argue that this is the case, some however may remember being told joy-sticks were the way forward or that the mobile phone had hit its peak with the birth of the flip-phone.

Here we take a look at 5, errm… “Interesting” mobile phone designs of yester-year that never quite took off. It’s important to remember that at the time of most of these creations, the mobile phone industry was very different. When it came to development, it was a real free-for-all with nobody really knowing what would break the mould and write a new chapter in Mobile Phone Technology.  

1: The Shoulder bag battery: Back in the late 80’s mobile phone manufacturers decided that the block cellular telephone was a little on the breezeblock side, so they decided to make the handset slimmer.  Nothing wrong with that, right? Well, although they successfully managed to slim down the handset, this meant that for the mobile phone to work, it had to be connected to the battery via a wire, thus creating a two-piece bit of equipment. This may not be too bad, if the battery didn’t resemble a giant robot’s handbag! 

2: Nokia N-gage (See photo above): So snake had been a huge success on early Nokia handsets and for some reason this meant that Nokia felt they were ready to compete in the video game market. Ultimately the design just did not work, it felt awkward to use as an actual mobile phone and it was almost as if they phone was experiencing an identity crisis, with not even Nokia sure which side of the phone/games console fence the N-gage sat on. It’s fair to say the game play and graphics were pretty awesome and would hold up on a modern day Smartphone. At the time however Nintendo and PS had already long dominated the hand held games console market.

3: HTC Rhyme: As far as I am aware, this is the only mobile phone aimed specifically at women. Yes in the past, pink phones and feminine designs had been made to attract a certain audience, but it came across patronizing and to some misogynistic that a group of developers had apparently sat down and decided what women wanted in a mobile phone. It also backfired as some women took offence to the idea that the then flagship and all other HTC phones MUST have been aimed at men only. This of course was not the case and what was a kind gesture to relate to their female audience sadly backfired as a misunderstanding. Luckly no such misunderstanding were made with the recent phenominal collection of Smartphones from HTC.

4: The Nokia 7600: Oh my. No, just… no. Quickly clense your mind with a look at Nokia's latest top-notch offerings

5: The Modern Old Mobile Phone USA: Well, everyone loves nostalgia, right? With an attempt to appeal to perhaps- hipsters? A new version of the ‘Brick-Phone’ was created. The result was to be fair, rather amusing and a hit for novelty purposes, especially if released in the country. Although not available for release world-wide, in the states this phone did not go down well. There maybe some nostalgia when popping on a vinyl over an MP3 track but when it comes to your everyday mobile phone, this was not a success, especially at it's silly prices... If you want to see a decent rebuild of classic! Check out the Binatone Brick in the UK, great value for money- see here. 


What outrageous mobile phone designs do you remember? All this nostalgia given you a headache? Come back to the 21st century and check out our latest Smartphone deals here. 

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