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31 Years Of Mobile Phones

LG G Flex (2013): Curved Display

In 2013, LG introduced the first phone with a curved screen: the G Flex. The phone shared several features with LG's G2 smartphone, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC, 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage. Its key features, though, were a 6-inch curved display and flexible plastic chassis. The 720p display drew criticism for having a relatively low pixel density of 245 PPI.

Incidentally, Samsung introduced its own smartphone with a curved screen around the same time, the Galaxy Round.

Apple iPhone 5s (2013): Enter The 64-bit Era

With the launch of the iPhone 5s in September 2013, Apple brought the smartphone into the 64-bit era. It was the first smart device to use the Apple A7 SoC, a dual-core model operating at 1.3GHz paired with a PowerVR G6430 GPU. It also contains the M7 coprocessor, which collects data from various sensors inside the device.

The iPhone 5s comes equipped with a 4-inch IPS screen with a resolution of 1136x640 (326 ppi), up to 64GB of storage, an 8 MP rear camera and a 1.2 MP front-facing camera. It supports 4G LTE and 802.11n Wi-Fi.

Its other claim to fame is Touch ID, a capacitive fingerprint sensor that's used to unlock the phone and authorize transactions. Fingerprint sensors are now a common feature on most mid-range and high-end phones.

The Personal Assistant: Siri, Now, Cortana (2011 - 2014)

The notion of a voice-based personal digital assistant hit the mainstream when Apple launched Siri back in 2011 with the iPhone 4S. Google followed suit with something similar with Google Now in 2012, although that service was more about marrying app usage, search and personal preferences into a series of information-based cards at your fingertips. In 2014 Microsoft released Cortana with Windows Phone 8.1, and its claim to fame was introducing contextual awareness and inference to the digital assistant, using an entity database Microsoft calls Satori. Further, Microsoft has extended Cortana onto the desktop, and there are apps for iOS and Android. The program has been criticized for excessive data gathering.

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  • BadActor
    They have come a long way in a relatively short period of time. My first mobile phone was a Motorola bag phone with a large antennae. People would be amazed when you told them you were calling them from your car.
    Reply
  • plasmastorm
    My 1st phone was an alcatel of some sort when I was about 14-15.
    1st phone you would recognize was the 7110 I got after that, loved that phone and would pay good money for the same shell with modern features.
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    My dad has had seriously nearly every single one of those dating back to the giant brick sized Motorola portable phone he got in like 1992 all the way to a Galaxy S6 which he has now.
    Reply
  • chaosmassive
    I used to gaming on Nokia 3310
    you know, perfect score on space impact !
    and snake at maximum speed !
    Reply
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    You missed the first colour phone: the Siemens S10, launched in 1998.

    You included the first phone with a 1080p screen, but not the first phone with a 4k screen: the Sony Z5 Premium in 2015.

    I got my first cellphone in 1997/1998. I think it was an Alcatel brick. I later inherited my Dad's Siemens S10. :-)
    Reply
  • 10tacle
    My first "mobile" phone was a Motorola car version of the hand-held brick back in the late 1980s that my parents got me when I went off to college. Mobile service was spotty back then of course, even in relatively populated areas. And when I was roaming out of my service area, it was very expensive per minute....something insane like nearly a dollar a minute which in today's dollars is closer to two bucks a minute.

    Needless to say, we didn't yap much back then as even the contract plan cost per minute was something like $.25/minute on top of the monthly fee. In any event, it's always fun to reflect on all the old phones some of us older people have had over the decades. Even my retired four year old Android Motorola Razr Maxx smart phone can play older PC games, games that 10 years ago needed a pretty powerful build to run them on a 1600x1200 CRT monitor!
    Reply
  • Pat Flynn
    Awesome article guys, love seeing stuff like this! Historical mobile computing at its finest :)
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    17546961 said:
    My first "mobile" phone was a Motorola car version of the hand-held brick back in the late 1980s that my parents got me when I went off to college. Mobile service was spotty back then of course, even in relatively populated areas. And when I was roaming out of my service area, it was very expensive per minute....something insane like nearly a dollar a minute which in today's dollars is closer to two bucks a minute.

    Needless to say, we didn't yap much back then as even the contract plan cost per minute was something like $.19/minute on top of the monthly fee. In any event, it's always fun to reflect on all the old phones some of us older people have had over the decades. Even my retired four year old Android Motorola Razr Maxx smart phone can play older PC games, games that 10 years ago needed a pretty powerful build to run them on a 1600x1200 CRT monitor!

    My dad's car had one of these:


    We thought it was state of the art back then. :lol:
    Reply
  • 10tacle
    17546990 said:
    My dad's car had one of these:
    We thought it was state of the art back then. :lol:

    LOL! That's exactly the Motorola design I had and mine was mounted in the center console like this, but it was after-market and not factory. Looks like Lexus got a contract with Motorola for a factory phone option. Awesome! If I remember correctly, the keys lit up in green.

    Early adopter memories, heheheh.
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    17547042 said:
    17546990 said:
    My dad's car had one of these:
    We thought it was state of the art back then. :lol:

    LOL! That's exactly the Motorola design I had and mine was mounted in the center console like this, but it was after-market and not factory. Looks like Lexus got a contract with Motorola for a factory phone option. Awesome! If I remember correctly, the keys lit up in green.

    Early adopter memories, heheheh.

    It wasn't that exact one - that was just the first image I pulled on Google. My dad's was a Volvo and yeah the keys did light up green from what I remember. :lol:
    Reply