40 Years Old! The Most Iconic Mobile Phones in History 09/05/2013
Mobile phones are 40 years old this year. Here we look at the most iconic mobile phones in history.
40 Years Old! The Most Iconic Mobile Phones in History  Mobile Phone technology can celebrate a milestone Birthday this year as it has been 40 years since Martin Cooper made the historic first call from a street corner in New York. In 1973 there were no cordless phones let alone mobile phones so the achievement was quite remarkable. It spawned an industry of innovation and design that was more prolific and well-received than could have ever been imagined.

The design process has been long-winded taking the mobile phone from a bulky briefcase design to the streamlined, large-screen style of today. Let’s take a look at some of the more iconic phone designs that have marked the 40 year journey.

Motorola Dyna TAC

In all there were several handsets released under this model name from 1973 to 1983. The prototype did not have a display but by the end of the series it included an LED display to see the number you were calling. Initially battery power allowed for a one-hour call before recharging was necessary.

Motorola 4500x

This model was the first ‘carphone’ thanks to its bulky size. You could, muscles permitting, take it with you to make phone calls from virtually anywhere.

Philips C12

A classic refinement in terms of size for the mobile phone it was released on the BT network in the UK. It had a removable aerial and was capable of saving ten text messages. Supposedly users could hold down the 5 button to miraculously make £10 credit appear.

Nokia 3310

This was as ubiquitous as the iPhone is today as 126 million of them found their way to mobile phone users. The handset was more streamlined than its predecessors and its case was virtually indestructible. It offered ‘Snake 2’, great battery life, decent call quality and the ability to customise the casing with accessories.

Ericsson T28

The first in thin, streamline design which encountered screen readability issues thanks to its small size. It can be thanked for encouraging ‘pocketability’ in phone design.

Ericsson T68

The first mobile phone to include a colour screen featuring a whopping 256 colours. The derivative model the T68i became the first mobile with a camera.

Blackberry 6230

A highly-respected inclusion to the mobile phone market with its ability to check and respond to emails on the go.

Sony Ericsson V800

The first UK mobile phone to come with the 3G network and a rotatable 1.3 megapixel camera, which enabled video calls. It also had 7MB of internal storage and the ability to expand it with memory discs.

Motorola Razr V3

This phone sparked pairing a functional phone with a stylish design. The first of its kind to offer such a thin, streamlined body.

LG Chocolate

A game changer in terms of marketing pink things to women in the technology arena.

Motorola Rokr E1

A first iPhone, of sorts, the partnership between Motorola and Apple meant you could sync your phone to iTunes and take 100 music tracks with you. The phone was too clunky and had badly designed UI to really create user buzz.

Nokia N95

An opener in the market of smart phones with a 5 megapixel camera, GPS, web browser and Symbian OS 9.2. It also featured expandable memory.


The most iconic and highly sort after smart phone in the history of mobile phones. The phone incorporated Apple’s highly successful iPod feature to include a camera, web browser, email and phone capabilities. The biggest inclusion was the ability for apps – a complete game changer in the use and appeal of smart phones today.

Bang and Olufsen Seranata

A conceptual design that was extremely unusual. It featured a built-in speaker. The concept failed to take off and its price point of £650 in 2007 was a real turn off.

T-Mobile G1 with Google

A partnership between Google, T-Mobile and HTC created this innovative Android powered design that included a number of UI options. It featured a touch-screen, pull-out keyboard and slide-out controls with a trackball to increase navigation by users.

Motorola Aura

A design that eclipsed both the extravagance and price tag of Bang and Olufsen’s attempt and Nokia’s craziest creations. It featured a stainless-steel frame, a round, rotating screen and a front plate with moving cogs.

Samsung Galaxy S2

The biggest addition to the smart phone market to rival the goliath of smart phones: the iPhone. It features a thin, powerful design showcasing the most sophisticated Android system to date.

Samsung Galaxy Note

Introduction of an S-Pen and an immersive 5.3” screen gave this real innovation for those seeking a small tablet device. It featured Premium Suite and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades.


Increased to the 4G network speeds using dual-core Qualcomm S4 processor to accommodate the LTE radios.

Samsung Galaxy S3

Upgraded to the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It also included a microSD card slot enabling a 128GB capacity.

Sony Experia

A super slimline body with a 5” screen and a glass front and back made for a super stylish phone. It also heightened its durability with its dust and water resistant capabilities.


A unique metal design featuring the latest in both Qualcomm and Android Jelly Bean. It includes the exclusive Sense UI skin and BlinkFeed news reader application delivering a more intuitive model.

Samsung Galaxy S4

An innovative smart phone incorporating the most intuitive features to date including air gestures, air view, smart stay, smart scroll and the IR blaster to control your TV/DVD.

No matter what your penchant is in the smart phone market; android or OS – you are facing the most innovative, saturated market we have ever seen. Despite the recent upgrades we have enjoyed it is still worth recognising that Martin Cooper started this mammoth journey 40years ago.

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