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10 great smartphones from 10 years ago

10 great smartphones from 10 years ago
10 years is an eternity in the world of smartphones (and technology in general). Thus, although we don’t have a special occasion for this, we decided to take a look at some of the greatest smartphones introduced 10 year ago - not just to see how far we’ve come, but also to take a moment and appreciate the precursors of the awesome handsets that we own today.

Back in 2004, we didn’t have Android and iOS, the two platforms that dominate the smartphone market now. We didn’t have Windows Phone, either, and yet Microsoft was an important player in the smartphone industry (thanks to Windows Mobile), alongside Palm, BlackBerry, and - of course - Nokia and its Symbian army.

Without further ado, here are some of the top smartphones that were advanced, expensive, and highly coveted a decade ago (in alphabetical order):

BenQ P50

BenQ (a Taiwanese company) is mainly known for LCD monitors and digital cameras, but it also makes phones from time to time. Introduced in the first half of 2004, the P50 is one of the few Windows-based BenQ smartphones. It ran Windows Mobile 2003 SE for Pocket PC, featuring a full QWERTY keyboard, a 2.8-inch resistive touchscreen display with 240 x 320 pixels, stylus, Wi-Fi, and a 1.3 MP rear camera. The device was powered by a 416 MHz Intel PXA270 processor aided by 64 MB of RAM. 64 MB was also the amount of internal memory, and you could expand that with an MMC, or SD card.


BlackBerry 7730 / 7750 / 7780

The 77xx series includes some of BlackBerry’s first smartphones to use color displays (3-inches, 240 x 240 pixels). The 7730, 7750 and 7780 are identical, but support different connectivity bands (either GSM, or CDMA). If you can believe it, these BlackBerries relied on only 2 MB of RAM.


HP iPAQ h6300 series

In 2002, when HP bought Compaq, it also bought the iPAQ brand. Subsequently, various HP iPAQ handheld devices were released in the following years. The HP iPAQ h6300 series from 2004 ran Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Phone Edition, and included the following variations: h6310, h6315, h6320, h6325, h6340, h6345, h6360, and h6365. The handsets featured 3.5-inch displays with 240 x 320 pixels, Wi-Fi, VGA rear cameras, and attachable QWERTY keyboards. A 168 MHz TI OMAP 1510 processor was at the heart of things.


HTC Typhoon

The HTC Typhoon was never sold under this name, because, in 2004, HTC was still making devices for other companies. Depending on market, the handset was commercialized as the T-Mobile SDA, i-mate SP3, Orange SPV C500, Qtek 8010, Audiovox SMT5600, or Dopod 565. Running Windows Mobile 2003 SE, the HTC Typhoon featured a 2.2-inch display with 176 x 220 pixels, a 200 MHz TI OMAP processor, and a VGA rear camera. Measuring 108 x 46 x 17 mm and weighing a tad over 100 grams, the Typhoon was one of the smallest and lightest Windows-based smartphones at the time.


Motorola A1000

Launched in late 2004, the A1000 was Motorola’s first handset to feature 3G (UMTS) connectivity. It was one of Moto’s Symbian UIQ smartphones, sporting a 2.9-inch resistive touchscreen display with 208 x 320 pixels. Other notable features include a 1.2 MP rear camera, a VGA front-facing camera, and microSD card support.


Nokia 6630

2004 was a great year for Nokia, and the 6630 was one of its best smartphones at the time. Running Symbian S60 2nd Edition, the 6630 is Nokia’s very first 3G handset, featuring a 220 MHz TI OMAP processor, and a 1.3 MP rear camera that made it one of that year’s best performers when it comes to taking photos.


Nokia 9500 Communicator

The 9500 is the fourth smartphone from Nokia’s legendary Communicator series (after the 9000, 9110, and 9210 models). It’s a bulky Symbian clamshell with a small external display, and a 4.5-inch, 640 x 200 pixels internal display. A full QWERTY keyboard (also internal) complements the regular alphanumeric keypad. While it didn’t have 3G, the 9500 Communicator was Nokia’s first handset to offer Wi-Fi.


Palm Treo 650

The Treo 650 was one of Palm's most successful smartphones in the mid-2000s (being sold from late 2004 until 2008). Based on Palm OS, the Treo 650 brought various improvements over its predecessor (Treo 600), including a larger display with a higher pixel resolution (2.7-inch, 320 x 320 pixels), and a faster, 312 MHz Intel PXA270 processor.


Sony Ericsson P910

Sony Ericsson produced several Symbian UIQ smartphones over the years (before Sony took over to put an end to the joint venture), and the P910 was among them. Seen by many as one of the greatest smartphones of 2004, the Sony Ericsson P910 had an alphanumeric keypad that could be flipped to reveal a QWERTY keyboard. Other features included a 2.9-inch resistive touchscreen display with 208 x 320 pixels and 256K colors (a rarity at the time), stylus, a 156 MHz processor, 64 MB of RAM, 64 MB of expandable internal memory, and a VGA rear camera. Measuring 115 x 58 x 26 mm, the Sony Ericsson P910 is about 5 mm thicker than a stack containing an iPhone 6, a Samsung Galaxy Alpha, and a Sony Xperia Z3.


Samsung i700

One of Samsung’s many Microsoft-endorsed handsets, the SGH-i700 / SPH-i700 initially ran Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition, but models sold after July 2004 came with Windows Mobile 2003 on board. The i700 featured a 240 x 320 pixels resistive touchscreen display, a 300 MHz processor, 64 MB of RAM, and a swiveling VGA camera (you could use it both as a rear snapper, and a front-facing one).

59 Comments
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posted on 12 Oct 2014, 11:45 4

2. Duketytz (Posts: 534; Member since: 28 Nov 2013)


It's actually beautiful just to see how much smartphones have come thus far. Thank you PA for this article!

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 12:00 5

9. DogeShibe (Posts: 1111; Member since: 10 Jan 2014)


Thanks Apple , Google/Samsung , MS :)

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 11:47 5

3. akki20892 (Posts: 3900; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


Nokia 9500 communicator is still a epic phone.........classic 007

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 11:58 4

8. DogeShibe (Posts: 1111; Member since: 10 Jan 2014)


Agreed , no one can match the quality Nokia had.

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 12:10 3

12. jesusnexo (Posts: 149; Member since: 26 Mar 2013)


had? i think they still got it

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 12:19 5

15. Napalm_3nema (Posts: 2157; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)


Kind of hard to "have it" when they no longer make Nokia smartphones, Microsoft does.

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 12:43 3

31. jesusnexo (Posts: 149; Member since: 26 Mar 2013)


but nokia still makes them, theyre just not called nokia anymore but the same people that worked at nokia work for microsoft now. so they are still "nokia" just with a different brand name. they still have it

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 11:50 1

4. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


Wow Samsung actually had a great design back then! But Communicator 4life!

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 11:57 1

7. DogeShibe (Posts: 1111; Member since: 10 Jan 2014)


Totally agree.
They were so great back then.One of their phones S5233 Star was so freaking sturdy.
And look at them now :(

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 12:04

11. heysamad (Posts: 52; Member since: 24 Apr 2014)


I have used a S5233 Star before...se*y phone.

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 11:54 6

5. DogeShibe (Posts: 1111; Member since: 10 Jan 2014)


Nokia > HP > Motorola

Nokia, the only company i got emotionally attached to :')

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 12:44

32. palmguy (Posts: 510; Member since: 22 Mar 2011)


For me it was Palm. RIP Palm. Treo700P>Treo800>TreoPro>Palm Pre

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 14:32

42. VZWuser76 (Posts: 3918; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


I could see the argument being made that Nokia was greater than Motorola, but HP? HP would've only had a personal organizer if not for Motorola or Nokia. And I agree with palmguy, Palm was much better than HP. HP was good, but they weren't industry defining.

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 14:37

43. DogeShibe (Posts: 1111; Member since: 10 Jan 2014)


Opinions vary from person to person.

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 18:37

50. VZWuser76 (Posts: 3918; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


Other than a few smart phones in the early days, what has HP done? Palm was about equal to HP back then, but Palm continued on where HP didn't. Motorola created the first cell phone, and between them and Nokia gave us most of the cellular technology and standards we have today.

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 11:57

6. aco96 (Posts: 240; Member since: 12 Oct 2012)


I had HTC Magician. It was my first smartphone. :)

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 12:00 1

10. Vinayakn73 (Posts: 191; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


I would prefer Samsung Wave s8500. Samsung were famous for diamond shape phones. Now its inspired by glossy rocks

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 12:46

33. jesusnexo (Posts: 149; Member since: 26 Mar 2013)


that was the phone with super amoLED screen right?

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 19:39

51. Vinayakn73 (Posts: 191; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


yes. and samsung killed it.

posted on 13 Oct 2014, 07:41

57. steodoreben (Posts: 230; Member since: 26 Sep 2013)


I still have its successor, the Samsung Wave II. Too bad, it's Bada 2.0 and Super LCD. But I love its metal body. It was a great phone back then. HEHEHE. :3

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 12:15 1

14. VJo003 (Posts: 356; Member since: 11 Mar 2012)


Nokia n95 should be on this list

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 12:22 1

17. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 2075; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)


That was made in 2007. The best smartphone, that year.

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 12:22 4

18. Florin.T (Posts: 216; Member since: 16 Dec 2013)


No, the N95 shouldn't be on this list. But wait for our "10 great smartphones from 10 years ago" post from 2017 - you'll see it then.

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 12:49

34. SonyPS4 (Posts: 344; Member since: 21 May 2013)


Where is Sony Clie series ?

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 12:56 1

37. Rishin17 (Posts: 24; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


Long live my Nokia 6630...
It still works..

-- a proud owner of the first phone in India to support EDGE

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 13:22

39. supersam (Posts: 5; Member since: 23 Jul 2014)


What about the imate??

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 15:17

46. crazymonkey05 (Posts: 178; Member since: 20 Nov 2012)


Man if only the OG Motorola RAZR was a smartphone, that phone was all the rage in 2004

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 17:27

48. nenadmitrovic (Posts: 58; Member since: 01 Aug 2014)


My first smartphone was nokia 6600. Great phone at the time, people asked me all the times why i bought that big "ugly phone", and not regular nokia 6230.

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 18:32

49. Darkerm (Posts: 308; Member since: 31 Jan 2012)


where is nokia 6600?

posted on 12 Oct 2014, 19:57

52. zviki (Posts: 13; Member since: 19 Feb 2013)


Motorola A835 was a first Moto with 3G,not A1000...

posted on 13 Oct 2014, 01:59

55. livyatan (Posts: 867; Member since: 19 Jun 2013)


Oh I didn't knew about that Benq, HTC and Samsung!

Lovely, very nostalgic article

posted on 13 Oct 2014, 04:01

56. stopresisting (Posts: 16; Member since: 05 Mar 2013)


Wow, a trip down memory lane. Really loved my Palm Treo 650

posted on 13 Oct 2014, 22:28

59. vhince4005 (Posts: 1; Member since: 13 Oct 2014)


Good old days, My Sony Ericson P910i is still working. Although it is resting in my cabinet for a very long time already.

I remember those days, when I am the only one who have a touch screen phone in school.

Playing Symbian games with friends via Bluetooth :)

I'm glad i am one of those who own this great device.

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