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    11 January 2017


    Did you have these iconic phones?

    That Nokia 3310 or Motorola Razr was your best friend for a while. Let's throw back to some of the great phones we'd still secretly love to own.

    That Nokia 3310 or Motorola Razr was your best friend during some of the best times of your life. Let's throw back to some cellphone milestones, and some of the great phones we'd still secretly love to own.

    The 90s - where it all began

    1992: Motorola launched their Personal Phone, and the Nokia launched the 1011. They were the original 'brick' phones. The 1011 could hold up to 99 phone numbers and weighed nearly 500g.

    1994: South Africa gets its first cellphones - Vodacom is the trailblazer, of course!

    1996: Motorola's StarTAC becomes the first widely used mobile phone, selling 60 million devices. It was the first clamshell/flip phone ever released. This was also the year the Nokia Communicator hit the market. These phones looked like regular phones, but opened up to reveal a QWERTY keyboard and a large screen.

    1997: The Nokia 6110 came on the market. It was the first phone to have Snake. Rad!

    1998: Who can forget the Nokia 6120? It sold 21 million devices, making it the best selling phone that year, and it continued to be the brand's flagship until 2001.

    1999: And then came one of the most popular phones of all time - the Nokia 3210, which sold a whopping 160 million devices. Nokia also introduced the teensy 8210 - cellphones had to get really tiny before they started getting huge again. 

    The 00s - where everything started changing

    2000: Ericsson released the R380, the first phone to be called a 'smartphone' - it used the brand-new Symbian OS (developed for smartphones, it has since been discontinued). Plus, it was really small and light. Nokia also introduced the 3310. This famously durable phone sold about 126 million units worldwide - and sparked a relaunch last year. 

    2002: Nokia launched the first-ever phones with colour screens: the 6100, 6610 and 3510. In this year, the Palm Treo by Handspring hit the market. It was the first phone to allow you to check the calendar while talking and to send emails. It had 16MB of memory and was a flip phone with an external antenna. And its connection? 2G. Yes, millennials, you read correctly: TWO. Can you imagine how long it must have taken to send emails?

    2003: Blackberry released the Quark family of phones - these were the first Blackberries that allowed you to make and receive voice calls without plugging in an external headset.

    2003: This was also the year that the Nokia 6600 became the first cameraphone to sell over a million devices (it sold 2 million in the year). Its camera resolution? 0.3MP!

    2004: The Motorola Razr V3 took off. It was slick, shiny, and best of all, it came in pink. 

    2004: Bonus milestone - in this year, ringtones generated US$4 billion in sales around the world. Remember paying to buy the ringtone version of your favourite song? We vividly recall being so impressed with our first handset that played polyphonic, instead of the jarring monophonic, ringtones, around this time. 

    2007: The launch of the Apple iPhone. Did you know it was one of the first phones to offer a touchscreen instead of a keyboard, keypad or stylus? At its launch it was hailed as a great integration of a cellphone with an MP3 player, and critics forgave it its dodgy call quality and slow data network speed. It didn't access a 3G network, explained Steve Jobs, because the chipsets took up too much room and drained too much battery.

    2008: The first phone to use Android was launched in 2008: the HTC Dream. At the time, Android was Linux-based and was only later bought by Google.

    2008: The first iPhone to ever top the sales charts, the iPhone 3G was launched.

    The 10s - where stuff got good

    2010: The Samsung Galaxy S is launched, the first handset to rival the iPhone. It came with Wi-Fi, Google apps, including Google Buzz (Google's first attempt at a social networking site), a microSD card and a 5MP camera.

    2013: Yip, another iPhone - the 5S was the first phone to ever feature fingerprint recognition technology. It was also the best-selling phone of the year, and had an 8MP camera.

    2013: In this year, the first phone with a front-facing, or selfie, camera was released - the Sony Ericsson Z1010.

    2014: The Samsung Galaxy S5 is released, becoming the year's most popular water- and dust-resistant smartphone, competing with Sony's line-up of life-proof phones.

    2014: The Nokia-branded Microsoft Lumia 930 became critics' favourite Windows phone ever released. 

    2015: Amid all the big-budget, high-end, brilliant phones to be released in 2015, we have to mention the iPhone 6 Plus - Apple's first phablet. Until then, Apple had never released a phone bigger than 5 inches, despite phablets' popularity with Android users.

    With thanks to Gizbot and The Telegraph 

    It's fun to look back on the phones of the past, but Vodacom Online has a top-notch selection of the most cutting-edge phones that money can buy - shop today »