Old-school phones, modern reincarnations: Motorola MPx200
HMD Global has been causing quite a stir in the mobile community of late! Sure, its new line of Android powered Nokia smartphones have been surprisingly well-received by everyone since their introductions back at Mobile World Congress 2018 last month, but there was one single phone that garnered the most attention – and that was the Nokia 8110! This isn't a new strategy for HMD Global, who interestingly enough has been on this retro kick starting last year with the Nokia 3310.
While we certainly love these throwbacks, giving us a taste of the simpler times back then, it got us to really wonder about some other classic phones we'd love to see get the updated treatment. Nokia wasn't the only major player in the phone space during the late 90s and early 2000s, as notables such as Sony Ericsson, Kyocera, Samsung, LG, and even Motorola were all competing against one another for supremacy.
Each of those manufacturers produced several memorable phones during that time, but if we're going to choose one who managed to match Nokia's dominance back then, it would have to be Motorola. No, we're not going to ask for a modern reincarnation of its most popular phone, the RAZR, seeing that it's been given the smartphone treatment already. Instead, we're going to choose something a little bit more obscure – the Motorola MPx200.
The Motorola MPx200 back in 2003
You might be scratching your head and wondering what it is, and trust us, we don't blame you for doing that because it never reached the level of acclaim that the original Motorola RAZR achieved during its run. From a cursory look, the Motorola MPx200 is your traditional-looking flip phone – albeit, a little bit on the chunkier side. The design of the phone was regarded as forgettable during its original release back in 2003, but it holds a first that no other phone can claim.
Smartphones weren't in huge supply during the early 2000s, mainly because of their expensive cost and bulky looking designs. What makes the Motorola MPx200 notable in the space is that it was the first GSM/GPRS smartphone released commercially in the United States to be running Microsoft's Windows Mobile Smartphone 2002 operating system.
The specs of the Motorola MPx200 include a 65,000 color LCD display with a resolution of 176 x 220 pixels, secondary 96 x 32 TFT display, 850 mAh removable battery, IR port, Texas Instruments ARM OMAP710 processor running at 130MHz, SD/MMC card slot, and a 2.5mm headset jack. Some of us might be jaded by some of the cutting-edge specs we find in many flagship smartphones today, but back then, this was nearly top of the line as well.
New take on the modern reincarnation
Being a modern reincarnation, it should come with a microSD card slot, standard 3.5mm headphone jack, and NFC to really provide additional use for the phone. The display, without question, should be given the resolution upgrade to make it sharper and more detailed. As much as we'd want it to be touch enabled for better use, it's just not really practical for its form factor – so a standard, non-touch display will work here.
Even though the original didn't feature a built-in camera, you know that this updated version would be rocking two; one for snapping photos and other for selfies and video chatting. And you know what? It should also retain the jog wheel on its side for better navigation for the user. As for the numeric keypad, it should also remain unchanged from the original – complete with the numbers and directional pad flanked by the usual array of other buttons for navigation. Speaking of those navigation, they would specifically be shortcuts for back, home, and recent apps. You probably know what we're alluding to with this...
Bring on Android
If there's a reason why I wouldn't use either HMD Global's reimagined classic phones, it's that they're fairly limited in what they can do. Essentially, they're dumbphones with a small splash of "smart" functions thrown into the mix – so they wouldn't be usable as being a daily driver. Rather, they're reserved for those users who probably just need a backup phone while on a getaway, or just a dedicated phone for conversing.
That leaves us to what's next on our wish list, which is for the reincarnated Motorola MPx200 to run Google's Android platform. Now, this isn't a far-fetched idea, seeing that not too long ago, Samsung released the Galaxy Folder 2 in Asia – a flip phone running Android! Therefore, it would be feasible for the reincarnated Motorola MPx200 to run Google's mobile platform. Of course, it would have to be tweaked and skinned appropriately to make navigating on a flip phone a lot easier, but it's nonetheless something we'd like to see happen.
Honestly, though, Google Assistant would be something that would be heavily leveraged by this new Motorola MPx200. Instead of having to type up a short email or something, you can just get some help from Google Assistant to do just that. Given how evolved this personal digital assistant service has become, we feel it'd be a perfect fit here. Running Android, this phone would most probably be packing a MediaTek chip of some sort to keep its price point affordable – plus, Lenovo's various smartphones leverage MediaTek processors.
Would you buy one?
Generally speaking, these classic phones do nicely to attract attention, just because it's not often nowadays that we see a flip phone in the wild. However, as we mentioned earlier, it's questionable if these remakes can be practical as daily drivers. With our take on the Motorola MPx200, we feel that it could really achieve that.
Although, its pricing would have to be under $100 in order for it to have any chance at success in being a daily driver for some people. Anything more than that, it wouldn't stand a chance given how we already have a slew of new, fully featured Android powered smartphones that could do so much more. Even though the original phone didn't make a long-lasting impression in the space, this modern reincarnation can certainly deliver the notoriety that it deserved the first time around.