Retro cool: our very first mobile phones. What was yours?

in Team On Device
on Friday November 8, 2013 @ 10:44

Being all about mobile phones here at On Device Research, we naturally got to reminiscing about our first mobile phones - and the surprising ways we managed to procure them!


Stratos: Panasonic GD52 - I got it as a Christmas present from my parents. They didn't like me much probably.

While we had all got our first phones at different stages in our lives, and often, for very different reasons, we were able to find a shared nostalgia recalling the moment we first became mobile phone owners.

One model was a clear winner - the Nokia 5110 - with four of our staff counting it as their first phone. It’s strange to think back and remember that when mobile phones first became (somewhat) affordable, that there were only a few models to choose from. It can feel the same way now when you’re surrounded by iPhones and Samsung phones, albeit for very different reasons!

The most surprising thing, however, was about how camera shy our staff are! It took plenty of coaxing, soothing and a little bullying to get these photos. Luckily I managed to capture photos of everyone without too many tears or emotional picture-taking trauma, enjoy!


Alistair: Nokia 5110 - I wasn't allowed a mobile phone before university.


Alexandra: Motorola M3588 - It was my Dad's old phone, passed down to me!


Rudi: Nokia 8850 - I bought the Nokia 8850 to go to Australia as it was the first phone to work in 3 continents.


Tim: Nokia 7610, ca 2004 - My first phone was the Nokia 7610, I got it for JSR-82 implementation, it was the first smartphone with Bluetooth Java libraries. I went on to build network bluetooth battleships - which we tried to sell to Kugu unsuccessfully!


Clare: Motorola StarTac, ca 1998 - It was so long ago I can’t remember why - but I was the first person I knew to have one!


Ikram: Ericsson T28s - I bought it because I wanted to be cool, [it was] slim, light, and a flip phone.


Siim: Ericsson 888i, ca 1999 - I stupidly blew half of my student loan on the phone as it was one of the more expensive models available at the time. I "needed" a phone as I moved away to a new city, away from parents and friends.

Robert is shy and would only let me snap one photo of him! He spent the rest of the afternoon cursing me because I let others sit down for their photo.


Robert: Nokia 5110 - It was a birthday gift from my mother.

Poh Lin

Poh Lin: Nokia 3410 - I’d saved up for ages the £60 to buy the 3410 just so I could text my friends… and play Snake on it.


Meb: Nokia 6210 - It was a hand-me-down from my brother.


Jamie: Nokia 5110 - My mum bought me the phone at this store called GSM on pay-as-you-go 'cause it was cheap. I chose the silver-face one, and I remember breaking the aerial - it still worked!

Bonus link: The Evolution of Cell Phone Design Between 1983-2009

What was your first phone? What's your story?

Join our Newsletter