10 first revolutionaries in the history of the mobile telephone

Modern smartphones can perform a ton of different tasks and functions. They do everything for us from taking pictures to browsing the web. However, before these features became the norm among phones, they had to be put to the test. These early devices might not be the most famous, but they set the stage for the devices that followed.

Here is a list of top 10 smartphones that helped shape the devices we use today.

1. The first camera phone

photo of a person taking a photo with their smartphone

Cameras are an integral part of any modern smartphone experience today, but over two decades ago the story was different. In 1999, Japanese phone maker Kyocera launched its Visual Phone VP-210 on the market. This silver block of a phone had the aesthetics of modern phones of the day, but with a distinction.

On the front of the device there was a large camera module. This camera can take pictures at 0.11 megapixels. The Kyocera Visual Phone VP-210 was able to take up to 20 photos before running out of onboard storage.

2. The first phone with multiple cameras

Today’s flagship and mid-range phones come with a handful of cameras to create a versatile photographic experience. Plus, some apps will even use your phone’s camera. While the HTC One M8 gets honorary mention as the first modern smartphone to have multiple cameras, LG takes the cake in this regard.

The LG Optimus 3D launched in February 2011 and featured a pair of cameras on the back. 3D was the main theme of this phone with its 3D display and 3D centric user interface. As for the cameras, instead of functioning as separate sensors, the cameras of the LG Optimus 3D would work in tandem, creating a three-dimensional image.


3. The first phone with a fingerprint reader

Fingerprint scanners on phones are nothing special, even with the recent advent of underscreen fingerprint scanners. Before they became the norm among mobile phones, Pantech released the Gi100 in 2004. It was a pretty standard looking flip phone of the day, and had decent specs.

The main feature was the fingerprint scanner which was placed right in the center of the D-pad for easy access. But it wasn’t just used to unlock the phone. One cool feature was the ability to assign up to 10 numbers to be accessed quickly by scanning one of your fingers. From that moment on, other companies like HTC and Toshiba have implemented fingerprint scanners on their phones.

Related: How Fingerprint Scanners Developed Over the Years

4. The first phone with an HD screen

Smartphone app screen with iOS apps

HD displays are nothing special these days. In the early 2010s, however, Samsung rocked the world by bringing the Galaxy SII HD LTE to the market. This phone offered an impressive 720p display (for the time).

The 4.65-inch screen (which was huge for the time) contained 921,600 of them. This Super AMOLED panel had a pixel density of 316 pixels per inch.

5. The first phone with a touchscreen

We’re all used to interacting with our phones through touch screens, but it hasn’t always been that way. Although touchscreen phones were growing in importance in the mid-2000s, the first touchscreen phone was introduced in the early 1990s.

IBM brought us the first phone that could be used through touch. He introduced the IBM Simon, a phone that looked nothing like a modern touchscreen phone. It had a tall, slim profile with the typical earpiece and lower microphone. Instead of the numeric keypad, the IBM Simon had a large LCD touchscreen.

The list of features makes this phone the first smartphone. I was able to make calls, send e-mails and send faxes. He also had an address book, clock, calendar, planner, and notepad app on board. The IBM Simon was selling for $ 1,099 when it was launched.

6. The first phone with Bluetooth

Photo of an iPhone with Bluetooth enabled

We’ve been streaming music and sending files over Bluetooth for years. The technology was unveiled in 1999 and it didn’t take long for it to spread to different devices. The first phone to use Bluetooth technology was the Ericsson T36. Ericsson presented this phone at COMDEX 2000.

However, the Ericsson T36 never made it to store shelves, due to delays caused by a supply shortage at Ericsson. It was revised as the Ericsson T39 and sold in 2001. The Ericsson T36 was an average looking flip phone that didn’t look like much to the average viewer.

7. The first telephone with Internet access

Photo of a woman using her phone outdoors

In the mid-1990s, the Internet was all the rage; thus planting the seeds of the Internet on phones. The first mobile phone to access the World Wide Web was the Nokia 9000 Communicator. This phone had (aside from a cool name) a full QWERTY keyboard that could be accessed by flipping the top of the phone.

Inside the top flap there was an LCD screen. With this display, it could pass for an ancestor of the modern smartphone – the feature set is also useful. The Nokia 9000 communicator could fax, send e-mail, do word processing, create spreadsheets and most importantly, access the Internet.

8. The first telephone with near field communication (NFC)

Most people know of NFC as the technology behind Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. This has been pretty standard on smartphones over the past couple of years. Before reaching the mainstream, NFC was implemented in the Nokia 6131 NFC in 2007. This phone was pretty standard, being an ordinary flip device. The magic, however, was inside.

NFC capabilities have enabled this phone to wirelessly share files, store business cards, and even make payments. Nokia, being forward thinking, saw the possibility of using your phone as a login and wallet. These days there is a lot you can do with NFC.

9. The first water resistant phone

Water and dust resistance are pretty standard among flagship smartphones these days. Ten years ago, however, it was still something pretty deep. In 2010, Motorola was the first company to offer telephone resistance against the elements.

The Motorola Defy was launched with an IP67 water and dust resistance rating. Not to be confused with waterproof, that means it was protected from all types of solid particles and could be submerged under three feet of fresh water for 30 minutes without any issues. The Motorola Defy was a rugged and versatile device that could take a beating.

10. First Android phone

Picture of an android phone

Android is a massive mobile platform, with billions of devices around the world. There are a ton of phone makers out there that use Android software, but which was the first? That honor goes to the HTC Dream.

This phone was released in 2008 and ran Android version 1.0. He then ran Android 1.6 Donut. The 3.2-inch screen would slide up to reveal a physical keyboard. The HTC Dream had a whopping 265MB of storage and 192MB of RAM. This phone has received mixed reviews, but it paved the way for one of the most robust and colorful mobile operating systems to flourish.

These smartphones were born commonplace, but have become legends

The phones on this list brought functionality to the mobile phone space long before they were mainstream, but that’s their beauty. Some of the most memorable devices brought something new to the table before the public knew the value. It’s hard to think how different our smartphones would be if these 10 devices weren’t there, so we owe them a lot of appreciation.

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