The first iPhone was released 15 years ago. Before then, the mobile phone industry had already taken off, but the iPhone signaled the debut of the first real smartphone into the global market. Apple founder Steve Jobs termed the phone “a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone.”
The iPhone’s most unique feature was the virtual keyboard, which set the pace for today’s smartphones. The feature was not new, but the iPhone reportedly did well for itself at the time. Later versions feature slimmer, flatter and bigger displays with minimal buttons in comparison to what was available then.
Arguably the first true 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 emails. The phone came with a 2 MP camera and visual voice mails 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 its most revolutionary features.
The iPhone is a frontrunner in the mobile phone market, and even 15 years ago, it still faced some competition from a number of phone brands.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see what mobile phone brands and models dominated the market then.
This was considered a top-tier mobile phone at the time. The slim, stylish phone came with a two-way slide-out keyboard design and was often referred to as a computer in the pocket. It came with integrated 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.
Nokia N95’s features outweighed the iPhone’s at the time and helped propel Nokia’s market share to 49.4 percent at the time. Sadly, the pioneering brand never advanced further.
This was one of the most enviable phones at the time. The Blackberry Pearl attempted to crack the smartphone market with a 260×240 pixel screen. However, the pearl lacked integrated WiFi and although the Blackberry was famed for the QWERTY keyboard, the Pearl’s incomplete QWERTY made it controversial.
The Blackberry curve 8300 was however more sophisticated, featuring a full QWERTY Keyboard, a navigational sphere at the middle and BBM messaging service. It was popular with celebrities and high-ranking individuals, most of whom have adopted to iPhones.
The Blackberry 8800 was also popular, featuring highly compared to the Pearl. It featured a slim design with GPS and the popular push email abilities. However, the phone still lacked 3G and WiFi.
Blackberry wrapped up business in 2022.
It was one of the most stylish phones at the time, featuring 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 upon release.
The Razr models were released in 2004, but were still very popular during the release of the iPhone in 2007. People waited in line to purchase the phones, just like the iPhone. The devices were popular for the razor-thin design, managing to sell 130 million units in four years. Motorola released multiple versions of the Razr in different hues and colours, setting the tone for stylishly thin 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 integrate Razr’s slim stylish design with Windows mobile to come up with the Motorola Q. Despite the challenge in navigating Windows Mobile on the phone, it was the first QWERTY Keyboard phone to sell over one million units.
T-Mobile Sidekick Slide
This was one of the coolest phones in the market, featuring a stylish design with a sidekick slide that revealed a hidden physical keyboard. It mimicked the blackberry but had no 3G capabilities, instead running on an Edge connection. The phone had a 1.3 MP camera and appealed to younger people despite its lack of impressive features.
Later known as just Sony, the brand released a series of music phones integrating its walkman handsets and music features.The W580i which was among the best versions, featured a unique slider design.
Samsung Blackjack was a slim design phone that came with 3G, a full physical keyboard and a spherical navigator. Blackberry filed a complaint over the phone’s similarities with its own. The Blackjack ran on Windows Mobile but also lacked WiFi. Samsung survived the test of time, and is still in hot pursuit of the top spot with Apple hot on its heels.
This device looked just like a regular phone at the time, but opened up to one the coolest designs. It opened like a book to reveal a full keyboard, and an extra screen for multimedia display.