Did you know which was the first phone with built-in stereo speakers?
It has been a while since we last posted anything with a blast from the past flavor to it. You know, a post like the one where we introduced you to the world's first smartphone, our article on the first "smartwatches" ever made, or our post about the first phone with a color display. We're doing something about it, obviously – in the paragraphs below, we'll take a trip back in time in search of the first phone rocking stereo speakers. Care to join us?
HTC One got announced. At the time, it was surely the best-sounding smartphone one could get as a pair of speakers graced its front. Dedicated amplifiers and Beats Audio enhancements aided it in delivering "deep and rich sound", as we stated in our review of the handset. Since the One's debut, stereo speakers have gradually turned into a staple feature for HTC as over a dozen of phones in the company's portfolio have them, including high-ends like the One (M9) and mid-range models, such as the Desire 826.Our first stop is the year 2013, when the
To track down the first phone with stereo speakers, we have to travel back in time to 2004But while HTC made it cool to have stereo speakers on a phone, it wasn't the first company to put a pair of speakers on a handset. In 2011, for example, or two years prior to the One's release, we had the Nokia X7 blasting stereo tunes. The Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY, released later that same year, also rocked a pair of decent speakers. Yet neither of these two was the first phone to deliver the feature. To find the first phone with stereo speakers, we have to travel back in time even further. To about 2005, to be more precise.
2005 was the year when the LG VX-9800 launched on Verizon. Also known as The V, LG's handset was a clam-shell phone that opened to reveal a QWERTY keyboard, a large (for its time) secondary display, and a set of stereo speakers. While the phone was marketed as one made for texting, throwing some MP3s on its miniSD card turned it into a pretty decent pocket-sized entertainment device. But this wasn't the first phone with stereo speakers either.
On February 18, 2005, which was more than half a year prior to The V's launch, Japanese carrier KDDI/Okinawa Cellular released PENCK – a flip phone designed by Saito Makoto and manufactured by Hitachi. As you can probably guess, the stereo speakers were one of the phone's key selling points, along with its premium build quality, large, 2.2-inch display, and 1.3MP camera. While storing music on the phone's 2.8MB of built-in memory was next to impossible, the miniSD card slot allowed extra megs to be added to expand the PENCK's capacity. And to access the internet, The phone used a CDMA 1x radio, which was considered blazingly-fast for its time. Overall, not bad for a phone made over 10 years ago, don't you agree?
So there you have it – one of the first phones with stereo speakers was a flip phone launched over 10 years ago in Japan. Or at least this was the oldest stereo phone we managed to dig out of the archives. Its existence goes to show that some great ideas, such as the awesome front speakers on many modern phones, are just old concepts for which the right time to go mainstream has arrived. And it is a great time to be alive, we might add.
UPDATE: Well, this didn't take long. As reader mike2959 points out, the LG VX-8000, which rocked a pair of speakers on its flip cover, was launched on Verizon in January of 2005. This ranks it among the first phone with stereo speakers ever made.
UPDATE #2: Another undeservedly forgotten phone was named by a fellow reader. Wishmaster reminded us of the awesome Motorola 398, which, back in the old days, impressed us with its loud, powerful stereo speakers. It wasn't alone in its category, however. Along with the 398, Motorola also announced the Motorola E680, which also produced stereo sound. Both were unveiled on March 8, 2004. Can anyone remember of an even older phone with stereo speakers?