Phones that have had a lasting impact

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus vs. Apple iPhone 12 Pro vs. Google Pixel 5 EOY 2020

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Motorola engineers Martin Cooper and John F. Mitchell probably had no idea what impact their invention, the cell phone, would have on all of humanity when they did this. first call April 3, 1973. The original cell phone, the Motorola DynaTAC, was a huge brick of one thing that was fully battery powered and cost $ 4,000. While the DynaTAC introduced people to the whole idea of ​​the cell phone, the mobile devices we all carry in our pockets have been popularized over the years with smaller, more affordable rates.

What makes a phone influential? Not just sales. A phone has to introduce a new feature, a new feature, or a whole new way of doing things to be considered influential. It must have a lasting effect on what comes next. The following devices make Android Authorityof the list of the most influential phones for their impact on the large market.

Motorola StarTAC (1996)

Motorola StarTAC Clamshell Phone, one of the most influential phones.

The Motorola StarTAC was an instant hit even at $ 1,000. It was the first popular flip phone and reached total worldwide sales of 60 million. The phone was even a hit with filmmakers, as it appeared in movies and TV shows in the late 1990s thanks to the flip flip action.

The StarTAC has influenced generations of flip phones.

The StarTAC has been sold in a number of different models over the years and has come with the ability to send and receive SMS messages, a vibrating alert, and replaceable external batteries. He was incredibly small at the time, weighing just 88g. If you had the cash to spend, the Motorola StarTAC was the phone you bought. The StarTAC has influenced generations of flip phones.

Related: The best 5G phones you can buy right now

Nokia 9000 Communicator (1996)

One of the most influential phones, the Nokia 9000 front view.

The Nokia 9000 Communicator was ahead of its time, making sure it made it to our list of the most influential phones. You could call it an ancestor of the modern smartphone in terms of features, but not necessarily form factor, which was a side shell. It was a phone combined with a miniature laptop and data modem targeting business users.

Key specs included an Intel 24 MHz processor with 8MB of memory for applications and user data. It had a full QWERTY keyboard as well as a 640 x 200 screen. The Nokia 9000 Communicator included a fully functional phone on the front and a lightweight smart platform for sending and receiving e-mail. emailing, browsing the web and running business applications indoors. It was a monster, weighing 397g.

The Nokia 3310 stood out for two reasons: its legendary durability and its instant messaging-style chat functionality. The 3310 was an update to an already popular device, the 3210, but it took things a step further.

The phone smartly added a chat app that allowed people to send messages longer than your typical text message.

Nokia didn’t market the 3310 as a rugged phone, but it sure was. Its plastic outer shell can withstand all kinds of abuse. The Nokia 3310 also featured swappable Xpress cases that allowed owners to personalize their phone with different colors and patterns. The phone smartly added a chat app that allowed people to send messages longer than your typical 160 character text message. This has made the phone extremely popular with texting enthusiasts. Nokia has added several other cool features, such as a reminder app, stopwatch, calculator, and several games including Snake.

With global sales of 126 million, it wasn’t quite the success of the 3210 sold at 160 million, but it was a more influential phone overall thanks to its messaging tools.

See also: The best dumb phone you can buy right now

Palm / Handspring Treo 180 (2002)

Some might wonder which Treo is more important, but it’s the 180 that combined a PDA with phone calling capabilities in the same Treo line-up device. That alone was a big first step for Palm and Handspring.

This interesting piece of hardware featured a monochrome, resistive touchscreen and QWERTY keyboard, as well as a flip-up cover that covered the screen and served as an earpiece when open. Other specs included 16MB of memory and a 33MHz Dragonball processor. This phone set the stage for the upcoming Treos, especially the Treo 600 and 650, which were hugely popular with business users in the 2000s.

Motorola RAZR (2004)

The Motorola Razr (2004) phone opens.

The Motorola RAZR was one of those phones that everyone coveted, earning it a well-deserved spot on our list of the most influential phones. It took the clamshell form factor to the max with svelte lines and metal construction. The RAZR was selling for $ 400.

It was among the most important fashion phones and sold over 130 million units. Like StarTAC, it was popular with celebrities and in Hollywood. It was emulated by the competitors, who then came out with their own clamshell designs. The Motorola RAZR was an icon in its day. Motorola recently resurrected the RAZR to jump on the foldable train.

Related: A flood of new foldable phones could be on the way this summer

BlackBerry Curve (2007)

Similar to Palm’s Treos lineup, we could debate all day which BlackBerry was the most influential. Was it 6210 or 7290? For our money, we consider the Curve the most important berry, as it was parent company Research In Motion’s first real push to attract the mass market. And he appealed. The Curve was a big seller for RIM, which has continued to make a wide variety of Curve devices over the years.

The BlackBerry Curve was a lot of people’s first smartphone.

The Curve took the popular trackball feature of the BlackBerry Pearl and stuck it into a more user-friendly device than the older BlackBerries. It featured a full QWERTY keyboard, as well as a color screen. Some specs included a 312 MHz processor, 64MB of storage, 16MB of RAM, and a camera. Some variants had Wi-Fi and others had GPS. The BlackBerry Curve was a lot of people’s first smartphone.

More reading: These are the best Blackberry phones (hint: there aren’t many options)

Apple iPhone (2007)

Apple original iPhone

The original Apple iPhone is perhaps the most influential phone to ever hit the market. It wasn’t the biggest seller, nor the best hardware, but it was a collection of ideas that got executed well for the first time in one device.

The big change Apple introduced was the all-screen design. Of course, other phones of the time had large screens, but many still relied on a series of buttons to control parts of the user interface. With the iPhone, the entire user interface was handled on the touchscreen itself. The home button was only used to exit applications and return to the home screen. Another big advancement introduced by the iPhone was the (almost) full browser. It offered a much richer web browsing experience than other phones on the market, which often relied on textual representations of websites. It also integrated with the iTunes Music Store, which was a big deal back then.

The first iPhone paved the way for more iPhones and, more importantly, the App Store, which would revolutionize the way people consume mobile apps.

See also: The best iPhone mounts and holders for your car

HTC Dream / T-Mobile G1 (2008)

HTC Dream

How not to like the first android phone? The HTC Dream, sold by T-Mobile as G1, was the very first Android phone to hit the market. Too bad it’s a bit of a mixed bag.

What’s not to love about the first Android phone?

The hardware was janky thanks to the odd swivel mechanism that controlled the screen’s sliding display. The buttons on the QWERTY keyboard were mushy and the phone’s overall performance was fragile, but it taught us a lot. For example, soon after it hit stores, people learned that the bootloader could be unlocked for root access. This made it an instant hit with the coding community.

The dream might not have been HTC’s best effort, but it cemented the company as a pioneer in the Android space and set the stage for what Android was to become.

More reading: The best Android phones

Google Nexus One (2010)

The Nexus One, also made by HTC, was commissioned by Google and debuted in the early months of 2010. The phone was the first to really boast the idea of ​​pure Android, as it came with a version clean of Google’s skinless operating system. or HTC.

Google’s Nexus One has seen other firsts. Google sold the phone directly to consumers, unlocked it, and allowed them to use their own SIM cards. It laid the foundation for the online Google Store and the entire Nexus (and later Pixel) line of phones over the years. In the Android space, it was very influential material. It later became a Google Developer Phone, which all Nexus and Pixel phones would become known for. When it comes to the most influential phones, the Nexus One certainly deserves a spot on our list.

See also: Android 12 hands-on beta: the most personal Android version yet

Samsung Galaxy Note (2011)

Samsung galaxy note

Last but not least, we have the Samsung Galaxy Note – the original 2011 model. This phone was a big step for Samsung, literally. The company went rogue with the idea of ​​a phone that had a giant screen and supported a stylus. Samsung has given us a new Galaxy Note every year since, and the phone continues to be the pinnacle of Korean company design, technology and software.

Shortly after the Note arrived, the average screen size of smartphones began to increase. Even Apple decided to follow Note’s lead: it then introduced the iPhone 6 Plus, which was the first large-screen iPhone. The Samsung Galaxy Note is on our list of the most influential phones to usher in the era of big-screen smartphones.

That concludes our list of the most influential phones. What do you think? Did your favorite make our list? Be sure to add yours in the comments below.


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