Before the advent of mobile phones, few if any, have heard of the name NOKIA. Yet this little known Finnish company soon became the fastest rising star of the cellular phone world.
In 1996, it launched the model 8110 — that iconic, somewhat quirky banana-shaped phone that had everyone going gaga. It featured a full matrix LCD screen and a sliding cover that also acted as an ON/OFF button. Several of my colleagues each bought one within a week of its launch in Singapore. It seemed cool to be seen with this novel design.
I too was hugely tempted to jump onto the trendy bandwagon. But after fiddling with a unit belonging to a friend, I opined that the curve shape did not really go well with fitting into a pocket, or waist pouch. And so, I chose a conventional flat Ericsson instead.
In 1984 the once-almighty Motorola launched the world’s first cellular mobile phone, the DynaTAC-8000X. It was huge by today’s standards and aptly named “the brick phone”. Some sources said the price then was US$3,995 which would be like US$9,000 today.
To many, it became a status symbol – announcing to the world “I have arrived”. We had a senior neighbour in our apartment block, whose son bought one for him. Everyday, he would be seen at the void deck stone table, with The Brick exhibited prominently, attracting the covetous gaze of passers-by. It added a lot life to his years.
Fast forward 20 years to 2004 – when big M introduced the world’s sleekest and most glamorous flip phone, called Razr V3. Thanks to the exponential rate of advances in micro-electronics. It was such an aesthetic and ecstatic fusion of form, and function and visual appeal that I ended up buying 2 of them.