Nokia 7600.
Nokia 7600.

Phone designs which didn’t connect

Sleek phones are now considered a norm. But, over the years, there have been a fair share of peculiar designs

In the present day, smartphone manufacturers are battling with each other to make the slimmest and the lightest phones. But, this has not always been the case. Over the years we have seen (and in some cases, used as well) phones with unusual designs, which didn’t work out well since they sacrificed comfort of use in most cases.

Nokia 7600

Nokia launched the 7600 in 2003; it had a 2-inch display with 128x160 pixels, and a VGA camera. The design was inspired by a leaf, which meant it wasn’t very comfortable to hold in the palm of your hand. In those days, physical keyboards were a norm in phones and to fit everything within the unique design, the number and menu keys were spread on both sides of the screen.

Aesir Copenhagen by Yves Béhar

Aesir Copenhagen.

Motorola Flipout

Motorola Flipout.

Introduced in 2010, at first glance the Flipout looks like a typical touch-screen phone, albeit with a slightly square-ish display. But, this is where the fun stuff comes in—you had to “flip" its qwerty keyboard, which would slide open from one side, and arc its way down below the display. Besides the awkward design, it was 17mm thick (modern-day phones are about 10mm). And the keyboard itself wasn’t the best one to type out an SMS or an email on.

Nokia N-Gage

Nokia N-Gage

Much before games on smartphones became a big thing, Nokia tried to make the perfect gaming phone. The N-Gage was launched in 2003, and was widely criticized for a poor Symbian operating system and performance issues because of low memory. Nokia persisted, and launched a successor to the N-Gage, N-Gage QD, in 2004. However, the same problems remained, and the experiment was laid to rest and no one shed a tear.

Nokia 7710

Nokia 7710

Around the time the N-Gage was making people curse and pull their hair out, the Nokia 7710 emerged in 2004 as the company’s first commercially available smartphone with a touch screen—3.5-inch TFT with 640x320 pixels. The Symbian operating system was updated as well—known as the Series 90 version. It was aimed at business users, but they found BlackBerry phones more appealing.

Nokia N91

Nokia N91

Nokia’s design experiments continued with the N91, which was launched in 2006. It was marketed as a performance phone, particularly with multimedia capabilities that surpassed the rival phones. There was 4 GB of internal memory, improved audio playback and dedicated music controls on the front of the phone. Incidentally, it was this music control cluster that slid down to reveal a physical keypad. The phone had 3G, Wi-Fi and a 2 MP camera. Even though it was 22mm thick (that is a brick, by today’s standards), it was fairly well accepted back then.

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