The 2000s were an exceptional time for mobile phone advancement. Cell phones got smaller and better looking and were unleashed in every color under the rainbow. Cameras were eventually added to every phone and blessed us with the “selfie.”
The cultural phenomenon of text messaging was in its infancy in early 2000, with the average user sending only 35 texts per month. This was probably because of multi-tap messaging. Just texting “OK” took 5 keystrokes. We were still texting whole words at the start of the decade, leaving out the vowels halfway in, and developing acronyms like LOL and BRB.
In 2007, Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, but TBH, there were some GREAT cell phones that fell away in favor of the $1,000 glass-fronted computer we now carry in our pockets. Here are some of the most noteworthy.
Nokia 3310 / 3390
For a lot of older millennials, this was their first cell phone. The Nokia 3310 was famously indestructible, inspiring memes that hilariously compared it to Chuck Norris. The phone was so popular, the ringtone became a classic. The Nokia was the battleground of Snake II, an extremely popular game you could lose hours in, despite its simplicity.
Hello, Moto. Although it could not survive a dip in a pot of French onion soup (RIP), the Motorola Razr was an awesome upgrade. It was fashionable, slim, sleek, and all metal. It came in 13 colors and is the best-selling clamshell (flip-phone) design to date, with 130 million units sold.
In 2005, Motorola released the SLVR, the non-flip version of the Razr. Still thin, still sleek, the SLVR is one of the very few non-Apple branded phones released with iTunes. The SLVR could hold 100 songs and import them at two songs per minute.
Other notable achievements include the SLVR being the 2nd-highest radiation-leaking cell phone of its time.
Released September 2006, the Pearl was the first BlackBerry device to have a camera and media player. The Pearl was ubiquitous among business professionals and launched our work culture into perpetual availability. We could, for the first time, check our email around the clock and respond on the QWERTY keyboard, the layout we are accustomed to on our computers.
The “Pearl” was a translucent trackball to navigate horizontally and vertically instead of the scrolling wheel.
Sony Ericsson Walkman Phone
In 2005, Sony Ericsson capitalized on a 26-year-old brand, The Walkman. It leveraged Sony’s electronic expertise through a 2 megapixel camera and 500 megabytes of memory. It came with “good quality headphones,” and with storage space like that, you could rock out to 150 songs. Intended to bring the Walkman brand back to life, it lost its momentum with the release of Apple’s iPod.
First released in 2002 under the brand name Hiptop, the phone boasted a cutting-edge swivel screen and full keyboard. As it gained popularity among celebrities, T-Mobile rebranded it as the Sidekick. Smart move, T-Mobile.
On a list of all the cell phones Paris Hilton owned in the 2000s (yes, there is a list), the T-Mobile Sidekick is most notorious. When Hilton’s Sidekick was hacked, the cell phone enjoyed free advertising on every pop culture news outlet. Today, Paris Hilton incorrectly claims she invented the “selfie” alongside Britney Spears in 2006.
No list from the 2000s would be complete without the iPhone. Unveiled on January 9, 2007, Steve Jobs said it was a day he looked forward to for two and a half years: “Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone.” It was a revolutionary UI with touchscreen technology. It combined the iPod, phone, and internet into one neat, hand-held device. We got FaceTime alongside social media and news alerts.
Smartphones were finally smart. And all the other gems on this list were rendered obsolete.