It’s the most wonderful time of the year and it really isn’t far away now. There is no denying that aside from the dreaded brussel sprouts, Christmas usually comes with a serving of nostalgia. It’s the time when you think back about the gifts you received over the years and cringe at the horrific knitted jumpers you’ve been forced to wear.
Looking back over the years, it is interesting to see how the most popular gifts have changed, from the Rubix Cube to Tamagotchis and Furbys, to the iPad. It is also really interesting to see how the world of the mobile phone has changed over the last few years and just how popular smartphones now are as festive gifts.
Poignantly enough, the first ever text message to be sent was a Yuletide one from Neil Papworth, a 22 year old software programmer who, on December 3rd 1992, messaged his friend Richard Jarvis of Vodafone to wish him a ‘Merry Christmas’. However, back in the early 90’s mobile phones didn’t actually have keypads, so the message was sent to Jarvis’ Orbitel 901 device via a computer.
So, in a modern-day version of the Christmas classic, follow in Scrooge’s footsteps and have a look at the phones of Christmases Past…
As the first ever mobile phone, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, went on sale in the early 80’s for just under $4000 (approximately £2500), it is probably more logical to start with the decade in which mobile phones started appearing around the house at Christmas. This also happens to be the one that brought us the Spice Girls, Jurassic Park and Furby – yes, the 90’s was an exciting time for a number of reasons, especially within the mobile phone world.
On December 25th 1990, if a mobile phone was the top present you had written on your list for Father Christmas, the chances are you received a Nokia Cityman 190. The Cityman range was Nokai’s first handheld mobile device and originated in the 80’s. To look at it, this really is the epitome of a ‘brick phone’, with an antenna sticking out from the actual middle of the phone’s top! The Nokia Cityman 190 has such a basic design that the handset is now counted as a vintage collectors item!
By 1996 there was a chance that underneath the Christmas tree there would be a mobile phone which, rather than being brick-like, could actually be folded in half (kind of) as the Motorola StarTAC was the first ever full flip mobile phone. It was also the first device to use the vibrate option, as well as being the smallest and lightest mobile phone so far.
When it comes to nostalgic phones of the past, nothing really compares to the Nokia 3210, which was all the range back in 1999. To this day it remains one of the most popular mobile phones ever and there are people who still use the reliable handset as a back up. Long gone was the external antenna and the world fell in love with one of the greatest games ever – Snake.
While the Nokia 3210 couldn’t offer the internet or apps like today’s smartphones can, it really did revolutionise the mobile phone world and its battery life was like no other. Those who were lucky enough to own one of these greats no doubt spent the aftermath of Christmas dinner devising ringtones with the phone’s composer.
Head in to the millennium and things really began to develop quickly and 2002 saw Nokia’s 7650 debut the first widely available camera phone. To look at the device you would think there was no actual keypad, but this was hidden behind the screen thanks to the phone’s sliding feature. Chances are you annoyed a few people on Christmas Day that year taking photos of them left, right and centre.
In 2003, we were given the Blackberry 6230 which helped to change the way people work in the professional world. This device made it possible to not only make phone calls and send texts, but also send emails and connect to the internet to browse. It also offered a number of organisation apps and a built-in handsfree feature.
Sony incorporated music with mobile in 2005 with the first ever Walkman phone, the W800i. The white and orange handset was definitely a funky gadget which, while still serving its purpose as a mobile phone, also allowed you to enjoy music on the go, bringing us hours of entertainment. However, whether or not you had the year’s Christmas no1 song, which happened to be Shayne Ward’s ‘That’s My Goal’, on repeat is probably best left to yourself.
A clear gamechanger in what we find wrapped up under the tree is undoubtedly Apple’s smartphone creation, the iPhone. The first generation was released in 2007 by the late Steve Jobs and came with a 3.5 inch screen, a 2 megapixel camera and the touchscreen feature we have all come to love. Ever since the iPhone first hit shelves we have been offered many improved updates and new features and we can only help but wonder how many people will be delighted to find the iPhone 6 in their stocking this Christmas.