Did you know which was the first phone with a color display?

Did you know which was the first phone with a color display?
Chances are that you're reading this article on a color display, be it the one on your computer, your tablet, or your phone. Either way, your screen can probably reproduce millions of colors quite faithfully. Things weren't as colorful back in the '90s, you know. It was a time when most phones could not offer more than a monochrome screen, usually accompanied by a soothing Irish Green backlight.

It wasn't until 1998 when a company called Siemens decided to try something different. The year marked the debut of the Siemens S10, which is regarded as the first phone with a color display. Now, we won't blame you if you don't remember this particular model. After all, it couldn't spark a revolution with its rather primitive color screen. It could reproduce just four colors – red, green, blue, and white – and while it was an innovation for its time, it wasn't something you'd call pretty or practical.

The Nokia 9210 Communicator, on the other hand, put its color display to good use. Launched in 2000, the phone offered a 640 by 200 pixel LCD screen and a user interface that took advantage of it. One could access the web, play games, and view images with a 4096 color palette.

Then in 2001 came the first phone with a color screen to be offered in the US – the Sanyo SCP-5000 for Sprint PCS. The display was 2 inches in size – quite large for its time – and could display up to 256 colors. Yet owning a gadget this fancy had its price. The Sanyo SCP-5000 sold for $500 at launch, which could make many have a second thought and settle with something not so colorful.

This article would be incomplete if we don't include the first color display phone that actually became popular. We're talking about the Ericsson T68, of course, which launched in late 2001. Sure, at over $600 apiece, it was expensive, but it was money well spent. The phone was compact, beautiful, and packed with cool features, including a 256-color screen screen with a resolution of 101 by 80 pixels.

Which was the first phone with a color display you ever owned or used? Let us know in the comments!

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32 Comments

1. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Ah Nokia Communicator... The last i saw was in 2008 ... miss it

12. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Dude it was time....it was time......I'm still missing those days.

27. lalalaman

Posts: 638; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

i still have and sometimes use Nokia 9300 communicator.....hahahahaha...im still living those days:D

19. greenelektron

Posts: 537; Member since: Sep 10, 2014

I can still remember the first time i saw thr communicator. "Omg it looks like a small computer. Can i write C on it?" lol

2. mistercarter

Posts: 360; Member since: Sep 01, 2011

that's what i call a crisp and vivid display LOL

3. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Lol Crisp ... I can literally see what you did there :))

5. palmguy

Posts: 978; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

Hmmm worked at Sprint in '03. I believe it was called the Sanyo 5300. I could be wrong. Those Sanyo phones were an exclusive to Sprint. Sanyo 4500 was the 1st video camera phone also. My 1st color screen & Sprint phone was the Samsung N400(the good old days). :)

6. vuyonc

Posts: 1089; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

I remember when my uncle bought the T68 in 2001. My eyes popped out every time at the vivid, beautiful colours, 'small' pixels and the directional stick thing. Nowadays, I look at 1000 nit, 8K resolution, Adobe RGB displays and say "meh".

7. drzonw

Posts: 12; Member since: Jan 14, 2013

A trip dowm memory lane :) I remember my Sony Ericcson T68i, not only did it have a color screen but it had an external attachable(!) 0.3MP camera! It was a beast in those days even though saving a picture took about 20-30s.... those were the days :)

8. maccess

Posts: 742; Member since: Jan 16, 2013

And even james bond used it in one of his movies.. I forgot which movie.. "The world is not enough" i guess.. Lol..

26. krasi

Posts: 11; Member since: Sep 12, 2014

I still keep my t68 just because... :) But at that time I had it with attachable camera, attachable MP3 player, and played games with my best friend over Bluetooth. It was also first phone capable of MMS at my country and so on... Exceptional device! There's no device that excites me more after that.

9. MihaiPredaH

Posts: 3; Member since: May 01, 2013

T68i was a very good phone at the time. I've used it for 3 or 4 years.

10. JaroB

Posts: 112; Member since: Feb 13, 2013

I still have T68...beautiful :)

11. Bondurant

Posts: 780; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

T68 was also the first camera phone although the camera was accessory.

13. xtremesv

Posts: 299; Member since: Oct 21, 2011

My first cellphone with color display was the Alcatel OT 332 with a 96 x 65 display and 4096 colors, that was 10 years ago.

14. irsuv

Posts: 18; Member since: Apr 10, 2008

My first color phone was also my first smartphone. Audiovox SMT5600

15. DannyJr

Posts: 38; Member since: May 08, 2014

SonyEricsson T68i, with an attachable camera! I can't find the camera attachment anymore but the phone is still with me (dead and broken, I'm afraid).

16. TinyTesla

Posts: 13; Member since: Aug 25, 2014

I still use Sony Ericsson K700i :D

17. trnz007

Posts: 48; Member since: Feb 12, 2014

Nokia 6610 was my first color phone.

18. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

I had the SCP-5000. I hated cellphones for the first five or six years I had them, though, because they felt like an electronic leash.

20. ojdidit84

Posts: 462; Member since: Jul 16, 2011

Ha! I had the SCP-5000. Loved that phone. Thought I was hot sh!t with my color screened clam-shell phone in my senior year of high school while everyone still rocked their monochrome Nokia's and Motorola's. That phone started a 6.5 year long love affair with Sanyo for me until the Palm Pre came along...

23. palmguy

Posts: 978; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

Palm Pre! webOS RIP. :(

21. willywanta

Posts: 502; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

i actuallt had the chance to play with my friend's siemens s10. I didn't realize it had color screen in the beginning. My first color screen phone was samsung true i, the sgh-t100. It was breathtaking.

22. pegasso

Posts: 285; Member since: Nov 27, 2011

i had that Siemens phone back in 1999. it was a great phone. very durable. and i remember how that 4 colours screen made my friend confused. :)

24. Nkolsen

Posts: 60; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

Arh yea the T68. Great Phone, i can remember me and the misses playing games against each other over bluetooth :-)

25. GreekGeek

Posts: 1276; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

I had a T68i back in the day and it was the most fragile phone that I have ever owned. The joystick became completely unusable after 3 months, my colleagues' T68i's lasted a little bit longer before it broke down but we all shared the same problem, that iffy brittle joystick!

28. Stevo.Tombola

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 16, 2012

My first phone with colour display was Sony Ericsson T610 in 2003. Beautiful phone, it was love on first site when I saw it on the magazine. Before that I had Ericsson T65, despite I always wished Ericsson T68 which was too expensive for me these days... Miss those times..

29. dorfoz

Posts: 156; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

That T68.. oh boy, It was so tiny. That thing fell out of my pocket and I lost it! Ah! Missed that phone so much.!

30. bored_guy147

Posts: 43; Member since: Jun 11, 2014

Nokia 2220 slide from 2009, very late to catch on.

31. alumoyo

Posts: 391; Member since: Aug 26, 2013

I'm no fan on the company but Samsung deserves a mention for the T100 - the first TFT display. It could manage over 400 colours where the Ericsson could only do 256 - and the technology used in the Ericsson was abandoned in a few years.

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