Today's mobile phones are fast and powerful, and offer a kitchen sink-load of features. But it wasn't always like that, and each of those features was once revolutionary and ground-breaking.
For all their universal popularity, mobile phones are still relatively new on technology's horizon, and most of us can still remember our first baby steps into a whole new world of communication.
There were plenty of duds along the way, but a good few mobile phone classics too – phones that paved the way for the all-singing, all-dancing smartphone superstars of today. Let's cast our minds back at some of those classics – feel free to let us know what you think of our selection, and maybe suggest a few game-changing phones of your own in the comments below.
Motorola DynaTAC 8000x (1983)
Claim to fame: was the first commercially available mobile phone
Ah, how far we've come. The 8000x may have started the mobile revolution off, but it's a true dinosaur by today's standards. Weighing the best part of 800g and standing 25cm tall, it certainly had presence; but it was also the first handset that could be called portable – just – and it could make calls directly without going via an operator.
Little-known fact: the 8000x was the result of 10 years of work and $100m of investment.
Nokia 101 (1992)
Claim to fame: gave us an appetite for candybars and GSM
Nokia's inroads into the Motorola-dominated mobile world began with the 101, which was the first phone to use the then-new GSM network. It also introduced us to the candybar form factor – one that would become a staple for Nokia during a decade of dominance.
Little-known fact: at just $300, the Nokia 101 was one of the most affordable mobile phones of its day.
Nokia 9000 Communicator (1996)
Claim to fame: introduced us to smartphones
Until the 9000 Communicator came along, keyboards were for computers and number pads for phones. Indeed, from the outside the 9000 appeared to play by the rules. But flip it open and suddenly you had a full keyboard, full width screen and – best of all – email, fax and web connectivity.
Little-known fact: the 9000 Communicator was used by Val Kilmer in the 1997 remake of The Saint.
Nokia 3210 (1999)
Claim to fame: put a phone in everyone's pocket
Between them, the Nokia 3210 and its follow-up a year later, the 3310, sold in excess of 275 million units – a figure unheard of at the time for the still-emerging mobile phone market. Fun, accessible and most importantly affordable, this popular duo also introduced the world to the insanely addictive Snake game.
Little-known fact: the 3210 was the first phone with an internal antenna, and also introduced T9 predictive text.
BlackBerry 5810 (2002)
Claim to fame: brought the name BlackBerry to our attention
Talk about smartphones and it's hard to ignore the name BlackBerry – still the best-selling smartphone brand on the planet. The 5810 was the first BB to feature calling capabilities, and its full QWERTY vertical design – while clumsy at the time – is a BlackBerry staple to this day.
Little-known fact: to use the 5810 as a phone, you had to plug in earphones, as the phone itself contained no speaker.
Sony Ericsson T610 (2003)
Claim to fame: made a camera feel at home on a phone
It certainly wasn't a smartphone but there's no denying the T610 was smart. One of the first true multimedia specialists, the T610 features a 2.5-megapixel camera, colour screen, Java games and polyphonic MIDI ringtones.
Little-known fact: it may have been a cameraphone pioneer, but the T610's on-board camera was actually panned as one of its biggest weaknesses.
Apple iPhone (2007)
Claim to fame: made touchscreens a must-have on a mobile phone
The iPhone changed the mobile landscape forever when it launched in 2007, and since then every other phone has been trying to catch up. It was loaded with features, but Apple realised it was the user experience – not a lengthy spec list – that people really wanted. And history has proved it was right.
Little-known fact: in releasing the iPhone, Apple said it was aiming for just 1% of the world phone market.
T-Mobile G1 (2008)
Claim to fame: began the Android invasion of planet Earth
The HTC-made T-Mobile G1 wasn't the best phone of 2008 by a long way, but it was certainly the most significant. It brought Android and then-unpopular HTC together for the first time, and it's safe to say neither has looked back since.
Little-known fact: Google may own Android, but it didn't develop it. The company acquired startup Android Inc – and current Android boss Andy Rubin – in July 2005.