The first iPhone came out 15 years ago. Before that, the mobile phone industry had already taken off, but the iPhone marked the debut of the first real smartphone in the global market. Apple founder Steve Jobs called the phone “a magical revolutionary product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone.”
The most unique feature of the iPhone was the virtual keyboard, which set the tone for today’s smartphones. The feature wasn’t new, but the iPhone would have done just fine back then. Later versions feature thinner, flatter, and larger screens with fewer buttons than what was then available.
Arguably the first real smartphone, the first iPhone came with a safari browser that had both Google and Yahoo search engines. It also had a provision for YouTube, Google Maps, Messaging and Email. The phone comes with a 2 MP camera and visual voice prompts touted as one of its unique features.
The first iPhone ran on 2G, had Edge and WiFi capabilities and featured the iPod which turned out to be one of its most revolutionary features.
The iPhone is a forerunner in the mobile phone market, and even 15 years ago it still faced competition from a number of phone brands.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see which brands and models of mobile phones dominated the market then.
This was considered a top mobile phone at the time. The slim and sleek phone featured a two-way slide-out keyboard and was often referred to as a handheld. It came with built-in WiFi, 3G, GPS, a web browser, and Bluetooth capabilities. It also came with an impressive 5MP camera, one of the most impressive at the time.
The features of the Nokia N95 surpassed those of the iPhone at the time and helped propel Nokia’s market share to 49.4% at the time. Unfortunately, the pioneering brand never advanced further.
Also Read: Why iPhone Customers Will Face Delays in Delivery of Latest Models
It was one of the most enviable phones at the time. The Blackberry Pearl attempted to break into the smartphone market with a 260×240 pixel display. However, the Pearl lacked built-in WiFi, and although the Blackberry was famous for the QWERTY keyboard, the Pearl’s incomplete QWERTY made it controversial.
The Blackberry curve 8300 was more sophisticated, however, with a full QWERTY keyboard, navigation sphere in the middle, and BBM messaging service. It was popular with celebrities and high-profile people, most of whom adopted iPhones.
The Blackberry 8800 was also popular, differing greatly from the Pearl. It featured a slim design with GPS and the popular push messaging capabilities. However, the phone still lacked 3G and WiFi.
Blackberry ceased operations in 2022.
Also read: Apple unveils iPhone 13 with longer battery life, iPad and Watch 7
It was one of the sleekest phones of the time, with a small, compact design for its large touchscreen. The phone ran on Windows Mobile with a 2MP camera and came with WiFi. Although from a small company at the time, HTC Touch rivaled the iPhone when it was released.
The Razr models were released in 2004 but were still very popular when the iPhone was released in 2007. People lined up to buy the phones just like the iPhone. The devices were popular for their ultra-slim design, managing to sell 130 million units in four years. Motorola has released several versions of the Razr in different hues and colors, setting the tone for sleek and slim mobile phones. The company joined the growing field of foldable smartphones in 2019 by releasing an advanced version of the Razr in 2019.
Motorola attempted to bring Razr’s slim and sleek design to Windows mobile to deliver the Motorola Q. Despite the challenge of navigating Windows Mobile on the phone, it was the first QWERTY-enabled phone to sell more than one million units.
Also read: Apple is rumored to be working on a foldable iPhone
T-Mobile Sidekick Slide
It was one of the coolest phones around, sporting a sleek design with a sidekick slide that revealed a hidden physical keyboard. It mimicked the blackberry but lacked 3G capabilities, instead running on an Edge connection. The phone had a 1.3 MP camera and appealed to young people despite its lack of impressive features.
Later known as Sony, the brand launched a series of music phones integrating its walkman handsets and music features. The W580i, which was among the top versions, featured a unique slider design.
Read: Five common challenges faced by iPhone users
Samsung Blackjack was a slim design phone with 3G, a full physical keyboard and a spherical browser. Blackberry filed a complaint about the phone’s similarities to its own. Blackjack worked on Windows Mobile but also lacked WiFi. Samsung has survived the test of time and is still in pursuit of the top spot with Apple hot on its heels.
This device looked like a regular phone at the time, but opened up to one of the coolest designs. It opened like a book to reveal a full keyboard and an additional screen for media display.
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