Mobile Archaeology: From Bricks to iPhones, These Are the Phones That Shaped Our Lives |  Science & Tech

Half a century ago, on April 3, 1973, the first mobile phone call was made. Martin Cooper, Motorola’s vice president and chief innovation officer at the time, called Joel Engel, a researcher at Bell Labs, using a DynaTAC 8000x, the first true cell phone in history. Until then, cell phones were more like portable devices that came with a carrying case; only senior executives and politicians used them, and they could only make, not receive, phone calls. The 2.5-kilogram DynaTAC, developed by Motorola, can be held with one hand and – after 10 hours of charging – provides up to an hour of use.

Fifty years later, those bulky devices of cell phone prehistory have been replaced by sleek, sleek, sophisticated instruments that fit in your pocket and are rarely used to make calls; now we call them smartphones and they are computers, music players, GPS devices, notebooks and cameras. It’s the first thing you see when you wake up (since you probably use it as an alarm) and the last thing you see before you fall asleep as you scroll through an endless Instagram feed. It even has its own phobia: nomophobia, the irrational fear of not having a mobile phone.

“Being such an everyday thing, we’re barely aware of how much it’s evolved,” says Curro Quevedo Bueno, a collector and expert on cell phones. Of course, we remember fondly what brand our first cell phone was. Or when they started coming with color screens. Or when we discovered polyphonic ringtones. The evolutionary scale of the mobile phone is part of the history of technology, but also a sentimental narrative of our past.

Nokia Mobile Cityman (1987). bricks

In Finland, where Nokia is headquartered, it became known as the “Gorba” because Mikhail Gorbachev, the former president of the Soviet Union, used it to call Moscow from Helsinki in 1989. It was the first Nokia mobile phone that came without a bag. . It weighed about 1.7 pounds and offered technical innovations like a backlit screen and the ability to adjust the ringer volume. Because of the high price, it was mostly used by top executives. It even appeared in movies like Wall Street.

Nokia Mobile Cityman (1987)Mirta Rojo

Nokia 3310 (2000). The invincible one

At the turn of the century, legend had it that this phone was completely indestructible. You could drop it, wet it, hit it repeatedly and it would still work. It was one of the first Nokias to become available to the masses. The year it went on sale, the market was dominated by only two brands: Motorola and Nokia. Ericsson, Sony and LG tried to take a bite out of that market, but they only managed to bite. The 3310 was so popular that it sold 126 million units worldwide. Its legacy ended with the arrival of the Nokia 1100, the best-selling mobile phone in history with 250 million devices shipped (it has yet to be surpassed by any other phone). The 3310 was used for more than just phone calls: it had a calculator, a stopwatch, and four games, including the popular Snake II. She scored a streak; in 2017 a revamped version came out for the nostalgic.

Nokia 310 (2000).Mirta Rojo

Motorola V3 (2004). Razr

Although this type of phone was popularly known as a clam shell, the name it was sold under was Razr (pronounced “razor”). In 2004 this aluminum Motorola was the thinnest mobile phone on the market. It was so popular that it even appeared in a Beyoncé video, the TV series How I Met Your Mother and the movie The Devil Wears Prada (Miranda had one). Pink Barbie was Paris Hilton’s favorite accessory.

Motorola V3 (2004).Mirta Rojo

Blackberry Curve 8520 (2009). Made for writing

Originally designed as a high-end phone for executives and businessmen, BlackBerry achieved a global market share of 3% in 2011. What made the device attractive was its 35-key QWERTY keyboard. Anyone who has tried it knows that no one has ever made a more comfortable mobile to type on. Its massive use and the devotion users felt towards their BlackBerry gave rise to a new term: CrackBerry. It was so addicting. What started as an idea for a mobile phone ended up becoming a pocket computer. Some of its most devout users were Barack Obama, Kim Kardashian and Angela Merkel. Despite its popularity, the brand was unable to adapt to the changing times and closed for good on January 4, 2022.

BlackBerry Curve 8520 (2009).Mirta Rojo

iPhone (2007). The one that changed everything

On January 9, 2007, Steve Jobs would completely change the rules of the game with the first iPhone, a revolutionary device that was all touchscreen. This global phenomenon turned the mobile phone into a GPS device, a camera, an MP3 player and, essentially, man’s best friend.

iPhone 4 (2010).Mirta Rojo

Samsung Galaxy SIII (2012). Enter the contest

If in the 1990s the market was contested by Nokia and Motorola, in 2012 the battle was between Apple and Samsung. You were either an Android person or an iPhone person. The answer to the iPhone had come from South Korea. The Galaxy SIII wasn’t the first Galaxy, but it was the only one known as the “iPhone Killer.” It was the most successful Android of the time, selling 50 million units worldwide in just nine months. The touchscreen was no longer Apple’s turf.

Samsung Galaxy III (2012).Mirta Rojo

Samsung Z Flip3 (2021). The foldable phone

According to Quevedo Bueno, since the launch of the iPhone and all other smart phones, the technological revolution we experienced in the 1980s and 1990s has stopped. “Foldable phones are different from others because they have flexible screens, something we haven’t seen before,” he points out. Cameras and batteries are getting better, but when it comes to innovation, we’re stuck.

Samsung Z Flip3 (2021).Mirta Rojo

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