The annual International Consumer Electronics Show is ramping up for January, but it’s possible that we won’t be seeing many mobile announcements this year in Las Vegas. Taking a tip from Apple’s dramatic “iVents,” major tech companies now save the mobile goods for their own individual launch spectaculars, leaving us all a little weepy for cellphones and the way things used to be.
Alas, even when phones were dumb, we loved them anyway.
As we embark into the new year with 2015, we take a look back on five of your favorite early mobile era dumbphones. Whether it was the novel joy of texting or the downtime spent playing Snake and Pong, nostalgic phones of the early-to-mid 2000’s will always be fondly remembered.
The BlackBerry phone was first introduced in 1999 as a two-way pager, but gained notoriety in 2003 as one of the very first smartphones with email and Web browsing. In the days before the iPhone, people were so attached to their BlackBerrys, the device earned the name “CrackBerry.” The company announced in October 2014 that it would be returning to its roots by releasing the BlackBerry Classic Q20, proving that it too waxes nostalgic from time to time.
After Sony’s late-2014 hack that leaked emails and unreleased movies from the company, Sony employees turned to the old yet trusty BlackBerry to keep the business functional. The lesson here? Always keep a spare BlackBerry in your drawer in case of a massive hack.
LG’s Chocolate phone was released on 2006 as a compact phone that would slide up to reveal a hidden keypad. This delectable mobile came in “white,” “dark,” “strawberry,” “mint,” and “cherry” colors. LG’s big selling point: Chocolate is a phone that doubles as an MP3 player.
If we’re going to talk about strategic phone product placement, the original 2002 T-Mobile Sidekick may just be the most notorious. The Sidekick showed up in every music video and red carpet, even being hawked by the 2000’s-cool Paris Hilton in every bejeweled form.
It was difficult to live through the noughties without knowing someone who owned and flaunted a Razr flip phone. The only flip phone in this list, the Motorola Razr impressed crowds with its groundbreaking sleekness. Released in 2004, this “clamshell” phone was one of the best selling in its class, achieving over 130 million sales over a four year period.
But with the rise of big touchscreen phones like the Blackberry and iPhone in 2007, flipping your phone like you’re a crewmember aboard Star Trek’s Enterprise just wasn’t that cool anymore—the Razr rage was pretty much over by 2008.
And who could forget the Nokia brick phone? Even Microsoft couldn’t bear to separate from the phone after threatening to retire the Nokia name in October 2014. Possibly the epitome of 2000’s nostalgia, the Nokia 3310 is best remembered by its sturdy shape, its seeming indestructibility, and the sing-songy ringtone that will be forever paired with Nokia’s identity.
The Nokia 3310, also known as the Terminator of Cellphones, recently came back into Internet notoriety in 2011 after a meme on Reddit reminded the world about the good old days when dropping phones meant smashing the floor, not the screen. Viva la 2000!
Lead image courtesy of Flickr user Irita Kirsbluma, Blackberry photo via Flickr, Chocolate photo via Flickr user youngthousands, Sidekick photo via Flickr user Yoko, Razr photo via Flickr user rust.bucket, Nokia photo via Flickr user Thomas Kohler