A History of Cellphone Styles

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Technology has always evolved quickly, but even though we all love the new fancy gadgets, features and apps, the most important thing is still style and design. Is it functional? Is it practical? Can we type with it? Are our fingers too big for the screen? Is it small enough to fit in our pocket? Does it have dangerous spiky bits poking out of it? The cell phone has radically evolved over the years, from the very first brick styles to the sleek models we have today. But just how much has it changed? Check out our timeline of cellphone styles below to see for yourself.

Pre-1973 | A long time ago, in a terrible place with no mobile technology…

We have no idea what people did before they had cell phones. This is our best guess.


1973 | The first cell phone

The first cell phone was designed in 1973 on April 3rd by Martin Cooper, an engineer for Motorola. It weighed 1kg, took 10 hours to charge and allowed you speak for around 30 minutes. His first call was used to tell his telecommunications competitors that he was calling from a mobile phone. It must have been one of the best calls ever made, setting the standard pretty high for all future calls!

1989 | The Flip Phone:

Motorola came up with the first flip phone design, the MicroTAC, which has randomly spiked in popularity throughout mobile history. Small and portable, the flip phone delivers great satisfaction when used. It works especially well when you flip it down to hang up on a cold caller… or your ex…


1992 | Touchscreen

This surprisingly early date (it certainly surprised us!) is when the first touchscreen cell was created. Although it took a while before people began to use it to the extent that we do today.

1993 | Text Messaging is developed

Text messaging was a hugely exciting development in mobile communication. Suddenly people didn’t have to call each other anymore! Although keypads were tough and small, particularly if you had large fingers, texting literally exploded over everyone’s screens, forever changing the way we used the cell phone.


1996 | The Nokia 9000 Communicator

This was the first cell phone to have internet access. However it was VERY pricey for the time, starting at $800!

1996-1997 | The Antenna

Health and safety might have something to say about the vertical antenna that old cell designs had. Though clunky, and potentially easy to poke yourself in the eye with, it does look quite cute. In 1996/7 the aerials were moved internally into the mobile, to make them smaller, neater and sleeker.

The Antenna

1997 | First color phone

first color phone

The first color phone by Siemens wasn’t quite as colorful as this image, and still looked like an old arcade game, but it was definitely a start!

2000 | First camera phone

The J-SHO4 cellphone by the Sharp Corporation was released by J-Phone, and was the world’s first camera phone. Unfortunately it was only available in Japan. Now, most cell phones have extremely powerful cameras that can take beautifully sharp, professional images like this:

first camera phone

2000 | The Death-Defying Brick Phone

In September 2000, Finland-based cellphone giants Nokia released the Nokia 3310. At some point we all owned a Nokia, even if it was only for a few days whilst our other phone got fixed.

brick phone

Practical, and completely indestructible this cell phone would not die even if you wanted it to. It would most likely be found hidden in the back of your drawer 3 years later, and still working! You can’t say they’re not built to last!

2006 | Blackberry


Blackberry bought along the era of curved, compact cell phones, which sold like wildfire. Always practical, and functional Blackberry chose the design and stuck with it. Almost like a miniature computer, it holds everything you need for work and play at your fingertips.

2007 | Apple iPhone

The Apple iPhone quite literally took over the world in 2007 when it first arrived on the mobile scene. Now, with constantly updating apps and software it has, and continues to dominate the cellphone scene. Apple are set to release the iPhone 7 this year, and as always, everyone is waiting for what comes next.

Apple iPhone

So which style of phone do you prefer? Do you still have your reliable Nokia brick in a drawer in your bedroom, or have you moved with the times to the Age of Apple? Whatever design you choose, why not pair it with our low cost, prepaid national plans for even more freedom to surf the web and connect with the ones you love in style.


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