Categories
Tech

Top 10 most coolest/innovative mobile phones (2020 edition)

There’s been a lot of mobile phone designs throughout the years, but IMO the coolest and innovative ones came from the 2000s. A time when mobile phones started becoming popular and trendy and manufactures started experimenting with different designs. A time before the iPhone and Android phones homogenized the way that phones look into a singular black slab. Here are just a few designs I found quite interesting:

10. Nokia 7600 (2003)

Nokia 7600 (Dengan gambar) | Ponsel, Teknologi, Mobil

I mean, just look at it. It looks like a leaf. Now this phone wasn’t going to win any awards for usability but it certainly was a unique design that’s for sure. So just for that creativity I put it at this spot here.

9. Nokia 7280 (2004)

Mobile-review.com Review GSM phone Nokia 7280

Another ‘what is that’ Nokia design. It has a lipstick form factor, and you can see the tiny buttons on the side of it for dialing. I mean, just wow how did Nokia come up with designs?

8a. Nokia N93 (2007)

Nokia N93i specs, review, release date - PhonesData

Get used to seeing Nokia on this list. They made ALOT of cool devices. The Nokia N90, N93 and N93i were phones that were basically camcorders, and used a swiveling display. This phone could be used in landscape mode and as a video camera, and is rather unique in this design. Only the Samsung Alias 2 tried something similar (but wasn’t exactly the same since it didn’t focus on video recording)

8b. Samsung Alias 2 (2009)

Samsung Alias 2 SCH-U750 (Verizon Wireless) review: Samsung Alias ...

The Alias 2 has a similar form factor the N93 except instead of being a camcorder, it has a unique e-ink keyboard which shifts and displays different text depending on the application and the context, which is very cool. So Samsung solves the problem of needing different keys very elegantly and in a way that hasn’t really been replicated since.

7. Nokia 3250 (2005)

Nokia Body Housing Replacement For Nokia 3250 http://shopperstech ...

Another phone with a really cool and usable form factor, the 3250 and the Xpressmusic 5700 after it had a twist design that let you switch between the different functions – as a music player, camera or phone. Again with Nokia and their out of this world designs.

6a. Nokia E70 (2006)

Nokia E70 Reviews, Specs & Price Compare

Really this entire list could be just Nokia phones, but the E70 had a unique flipover keyboard design that lets you use the phone as a text messenger in landscape mode. I have to say – another one of Nokia’s truly unique design choices.

6b. Sony Ericsson P990 (2006)

Throwback Tech Thursday: We Revisit the Sony Ericsson P990i ...

Tied with the Nokia E70 and released the same year, is another phone that shares the E70’s unique way of incorporating both a numpad and a physical keyboard. The P990 does it by having a numpad on the front of the phone and then peeling it back to reveal a qwerty keyboard underneath. Very cool.

5a. Samsung Exclaim (2009)

Samsung M550 Exclaim - Wikipedia

The first non Nokia on this list. The Exclaim along with the Pantech Matrix and Helios Ocean, packed not one, but TWO sliders into the device with different keyboards – one with a qwery keypad and one with a numpad. Again – remember how the days of non multi touch phones had to think of inventive inputs? 

5b. Motorola Flipout (2010) 

Motorola FlipOut pictures, official photos

Tied for the number 5 spot is another interesting phone, the Motorola Flipout – just look at the size – is a small mini phone that also has a mini qwerty keyboard that flips out! very neat

4a. TMobile Sidekick 3 (2006)

Sidekick 3: More features, smaller footprint - Technology ...

Looking more like a handheld gaming console than a phone, the Sidekick 3 had a display that swivels out, and d-pad and directional buttons for navigation. It also had a great keyboard for texting and messaging. Definitely a unique phone for unique times.

4b. Nokia E90 Communicator (2007)

Nokia E90 Communicator - Wikipedia

Another Nokia device, this one was the last in a long line of Communicator devices, and carried the ability to open up into a secondary display on the inside. Again very cool retro-futuristic design that we haven’t really seen since. Wish Nokia would revisit this series sometime. 

3a. Sony Ericsson Xperia Play (2011)

Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Sim Free Smart Phone with 8GB: Amazon.co ...

This one is a TIE because both these devices are not even trying to be phones at all even though they are – but they are more like handheld gaming devices that also took a phone call. The Xperia play was like a PSP Go that ran Android. 

3b. Nokia Ngage (2004)

Flashback: Nokia N-Gage - the gaming phone ahead of its time ...

The Ngage was just a device that didn’t look like anything before or since and also looked like it had an identity crisis – like a gaming console that sprouted a numpad. 

2. Motorola Aura (2008)

Motorola Aura pictures, official photos

Motorola’s swivel display here made of swiss bearings, was a luxury device that hardly anyone really saw when it was released and obviously still rare today. But what a unique way of opening the phone, it’s a phone that could be considered more of like jewelry than actual electronics

1. Samsung Galaxy Fold (2019)

Yes the most modern device on this list is also #1. Why? because of the pure technology of it. When have we ever thought about a phone with 2 different displays that also turns from a phone into a tablet? It’s just amazing what this device has heralded. A new category of foldable computers. Along with the Huawei Mate X, Z Flip and Motorola Razr Fold, a completely new category of devices has emerged, and I think that’s pretty incredible.

Samsung Galaxy Fold passes all testing with flying colors, re ...

Categories
General

the iPhone 10th anniversary & legacy..

On the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, people have been celebrating how revolutionary it was.. and yes, it does deserve all that praise. Steve Jobs was a brilliant marketing genius and visionary. Apple products haven’t been the same since he passed away. The Apple Watch (whats the use case?), the iPad Pro (stylus?), the new iPhones (no headphone jack?) and the new MacBook lineup (all USBC?) have all been criticized a lot since they came out and some design flaws like the camera bump in the new iPhones, no headphone jack, the elimination of magsafe and switch to all USBC etc have caused to people to wonder if Steve Jobs was alive if those things would have been approved.
Well, I’m not sure, but definitely I can say the presentations haven’t been as awe-inspiring with Tim Cook in charge. He’s more of a quiet delegator whereas Steve could light up the room and take charge with everything.

The iPhone brought *capacitative* touch computing to the massive. Previously, touch screens have been mostly resistive touch which made those devices very hard to use and required a stylus to use them. Back in the mid 2000s I did use some Palm devices, Pocket PCs and carried around a hefty Windows Convertible PC (yes they had those back then!) all which required styluses to use. It was a pain.
After the iPhone and iPad came out, every device got much easier to use, and just using the fingers was so simple and easy.

There are some things I miss about the pre-iphone phones though. I think people unfairly look at the old Blackberrys and Windows Mobile devices as crap compared to the iPhone but thats not exactly true. People forget that the original iPhone had no 3G, no copy+paste, you couldn’t attach images in emails, there was no selfie cam, there was no video capability or flash, no third party app store, etc. A lot of smartphones back then had all those features. No it wasn’t as easy to install a third party app onto a Pocket PC or Palm OS device as an iPhone’s App Store, but there definitely was a thriving marketplace for those old devices. It wasn’t as bad as people thought it was.

Moreover, I liked how every device looked so unique. You had flip phones, slider phones, swivel phones, dual slider phones, transforming phones, etc. These days everyone has the same phone.. iPhone 7, Samsung Galaxy, etc the same black slabs everywhere. Back then there was very slim chances you and your friend had the exact same phone model. Here are some standouts (I own alot of these):

Nokia XpressMusic 5700
Nokia XpressMusic 5700

Blackberry Porsche P9981
Blackberry Porsche P9981

Samsung Alias 2
Samsung Alias 2

Pantech Matrix Pro
Pantech Matrix Pro

Nokia N95
Nokia N95

Nokia N93
Nokia N93

Nokia E90
Nokia E90

Nokia E70
Nokia E70

Motorola Aura
Motorola Aura

Motorola Flipout
Motorola Flipout

Yeah especially Nokia had a lot of really cool designs… we won’t be seeing these kind of designs anymore unfortunately.

And another thing is cellphone charms! remember those?

cellphone charm
cellphone charm

Young people might not even know that back then, phones had a hole where you could attach a charm to it.. that hole is not longer on modern smartphones so cellphone charms (the way people could customize their phones) have now been replaced by smartphone cases, which IMO isn’t quite as great. Yeah you can still customize your phone with a case, but its not the same as having a good old fashioned charm.

So yeah just pointing out some of the negative side effects of iPhone’s legacy..

In other news, I’m going to Korea next month and not a moment too soon.. been dying here of boredom having nothing to really do. my plan right now is to just save up money for next year. After the hassle of getting yet another work visa at the border, I don’t really plan on doing that again. I’m planning to leave in another year or so, and go back to either Korea or Canada. Yes, that means I’ll have to leave my current job, but unless I can work remotely it just won’t work out. I don’t get enough vacation time with my current job to get the freedom that I want.

Also, planning on selling my home too. There are a few reasons for this. Yes having a place in San Francisco is nice and all, but the housing market in SF is beginning to cool off, and for the price I could sell my apartment for, I could easily buy another place in the US (I’m thinking San Diego because of the weather and West coast location), AND have enough spare money to help me get another place in Vancouver Canada (with the help of a mortgage) as well. I’ll just rent out a storage locker while the unit is on sale and then just move things out when I get my new places. But yeah that’s my longer term plan. My best friend in San Francisco is in the same situation as me except he is 5 years older so its probably even more urgent for him, but he doesn’t want to stay here either. And besides him I have very few friends and very little reason to stay in SF. 90% of my friends are in Korea or Canada so it makes more sense to move to those places instead. I’m in the USA just for saving up money that’s it, but hopefully the US/CAD exchange rate remains the same next year else I’m losing a lot of money if I don’t exchange now…

Categories
Tech

I collect small gadgets

If you have read my previous posts, like this one, or my other gadget collection posts, you would know that I love collecting gadgets. In fact I should probably be a full time reviewer from the number of gadgets I collect.

I love collecting small electronic devices, with these criteria:
-The device should be usable for many years. It should not rely on any data servers that might be outdated. For example, the Tmobile Sidekick relied on Danger’s servers for data, else it was a paperweight. I want devices that are just as usable 10 years ago as now.
-It should be really portable, and the screen size <= 7 inches. 7 inches is probably the maximum.
-weighs under 2lbs
-It should have something special or unique about it, either hardware wise and/or software wise. For example, if the tablet looks just like any other tablet out there, then its not going to be as desirable as say, a tablet that can turn into a laptop or has a slide out keyboard.
-Unique software is always a plus. For example, if the device runs Maemo, or Linux or MeeGo or Firefox OS.
-Reasonably obscure and rare. So, an iPhone wouldn’t really score as high as a Nokia N9 for example.

With that in mind, let’s look at the some of these devices:

Casio BE300 (2001)

Casio BE300 Pocket manager
Casio BE300 Pocket manager

Price: $65 on eBay
Device type: Palm sized PC
Special features: touchscreen, special build of Windows CE 3, easily hackable
OS: Modified Windows CE 3.0
related: Casio Cassiopeia Pocket PCs, HP Jornada Pocket PCs

Sony Clie UX50 (2003)

Sony UX50
Sony UX50

Price: $50 on eBay
Device type: PDA
Special features: touch screen, camera, keyboard, screen rotates
OS: Palm OS 5.4
related: Sony CLIE PDAs, HP iPAQ Pocket PCs, Palm PDAs, Handheld PCs

Psion Netbook Pro (2003)

Psion Netbook Pro
Psion Netbook Pro

Price: $100 on eBay
Device type: netbook
Special Features: the original and first netbook ever, runs Windows CE .NET
OS: Windows CE 4.2 .NET
Related: HP Jornada Handheld PCs, Toshiba Libretto Handheld PCs, NEC Handheld PCs, Psion handheld pcs, Sony CLIE PDAs

Sharp Zaurus C1000 (2004)

Sharp Zaurus C1000
Sharp Zaurus C1000

Price: $200 on ebay
Device type: Handheld PC
Special features: one of the last handheld pcs, runs linux, unavailable in USA, touch screen, camera, keyboard, screen rotates, last Zaurus made
OS: Linux
Related: Psion Handheld PCs, NEC Handheld PCs, Toshiba Libretto Handheld PCs

Nokia N95 (2006)

Nokia N95
Nokia N95

Price: $60 on eBay
Device type: smartphone
Special features: dual slider, camera, one of the greatest non touchscreen phones
OS: Symbian
Related: Nokia E series, Sony Ericsson walkman & cybershot phones

Sony Vaio UX (2006)

Sony Vaio UX
Sony Vaio UX

Price: $200 used on eBay
Device type: UMPC
Special features: most powerful UMPC ever, slide out keyboard, touch screen, runs full Windows
OS: Windows XP
Related: OQO model 2, Samsung Q1, Viliv S5, Vulcan flipstart

Philips PMC 7230 (2006)

Philips PMC7230
Philips PMC7230

Price: $90 on eBay
Device type: PMP
Special features: last Media Center OS PMP, has kickstand, built in TV recording abilities
OS: Media Center OS
Related: Creative Zen Portable Media center, iRiver PMC

Creative Zen Vision M (2006)

Creative Zen Vision M
Creative Zen Vision M

Price: $60 on eBay
Device type: PMP
Special features: The last hard drive based mp3 player from Creative, one of the most best mp3 players ever, touch strip, plays many video/audio formats, FM radio recording and voice recording
OS: Creative OS
Related: Apple iPod, Archos PMPs, Cowon PMPs, iRiver PMPs

Nokia E90 Communicator (2007)

Nokia E90 Communicator
Nokia E90 Communicator

Price: $100 on ebay
Device type: Smartphone
Special features: the last communicator made, dual screens, dual touchpad and keyboard
OS: Symbian
Related: Nokia N series

Nokia N810 (2008)

Nokia N810
Nokia N810

Price: $50 used on eBay
Device type: tablet
Special features: slide out keyboard, runs Maemo, pre-Android tablet
OS: Maemo
Related: Sony Mylo 2

Archos 5 (2008)

Archos 5
Archos 5

Price: $200 used on eBay
Device type: PMP
Special features: the last PMP with DVR recording capability, plays many video/audio formats, touchscreen, can go on internet, can be GPS and FM radio
OS: Archos OS
Related: Apple iPod, iRiver PMPs, Cowon PMPs, Creative Zen Vision W

HP iPAQ 210 (2008)

HP iPAQ 210
HP iPAQ 210

Price: $100 on eBay
Device type: Pocket PC
Special features: touchscreen, one of the last and best Pocket PCs, last iPAQ made
OS: Windows Mobile 6
Related: Dell Axim pocket pc, Palm Treo pocket pc

Microsoft Zune HD (2009)

MS Zune HD
MS Zune HD

Price: $60 used on eBay
Device type: PMP
Special features: Last Zune model, multi touch screen, can go on internet, inspired Windows 7 Phone OS
OS: Zune OS
Related: Apple iPod Nano

Fujitsu UH900 (2010)

Fujitsu UH900
Fujitsu UH900

Price: $500 used on eBay
Device type: netbook
Special features: smallest and best netbook, runs full windows, 2 usb ports, 2gb ram and SSD, multitouch high res screen
OS: Windows 7
Related: Sony Vaio P series, Asus EEE PCs, Viliv S7/N5

Toshiba Libretto W100 (2010)

Toshiba Libretto W100
Toshiba Libretto W100

Price: $700 on eBay
Device type: UMPC
Special features: Last Libretto PC made, one of the last UMPCs, dual 7inch touchscreens, virtual keyboard
OS: Windows 8
Related: Netbooks, Fujitsu LOOX, Fujitsu Stylistic

Dell Venue Pro (2011)

Dell Venue Pro
Dell Venue Pro

Price: $40 on eBay
Device type: Smartphone
Special features: Dell’s last smartphone, multitouch screen, slide out keyboard, one of only 2 windows phones to have a keyboard
OS: Windows 7 Phone
Related: HTC 7 Pro

HP Pre 3 (2011)

HP Pre 3
HP Pre 3

Price: $80 on eBay
Device type: smartphone
Special features: slider, camera, keyboard, the last phone to use WebOS
OS: WebOS
Related: Blackberry, iPhone, Android phones

Nokia N9 (2011)

Nokia N9
Nokia N9

Price: $100 on eBay
Device type: smartphone
Special features: multi touch screen, camera, only phone to run MeeGo
OS: MeeGo
Related: Blackberry, iPhone, Android phones

Sony Tablet P (2011)

Sony Tablet P
Sony Tablet P

Price: $130 used on eBay
Device type: tablet
Special features: the only tablet that can be folded, dual screens, multi touch screen
OS: Android 3.1
Related: Apple iPad, other Android tablets

Pandora console (2012)

OpenPandora Console
OpenPandora Console

Price: $600 on eBay
Device type: UMPC
Special features: combination game console/pda/umpc hybrid
OS: Linux
Related: Pepperpad 3, GCW Zero, GP2X Caanoo

Samsung Galaxy Golden (2013)

Samsung Galaxy Golden
Samsung Galaxy Golden

Price: $600 on eBay
Device type: smartphone
Special Features: dual screens, flip phone form factor, phone keypad
OS: Android 4.2
Related: LG Wine Smart

Nvidia Shield Portable (2013)

Nvidia Shield Portable
Nvidia Shield Portable

Price: $130 used on eBay
Device type: tablet
Special Features: combination game console/tablet, built in controller, multi touch screen, game streaming from PC
OS: Android 4.2
Related: Wikipad, Archos gamepad 2, Sony Xperia Play

Blackberry Passport (2014)

Blackberry Passport
Blackberry Passport

Price: $500 on eBay
Device type: smartphone
Special features: Square form factor, gesture enabled keyboard
OS: Blackberry OS 10
Related: Apple iPhone, Android phones, Blackberry Classic

Amazon Fire Phone (2014)

Amazon Fire Phone
Amazon Fire Phone

Price: $200 on eBay
Device type: smartphone
Special features: multi touch screen, dynamic 3D perspective, Firefly, Mayday, runs Fire OS
OS: Fire OS
Related: Blackberry, iPhone, Android phones

Neptune Pine (2015)

Neptune Pine
Neptune Pine

Price: $300 on eBay
Device type: smartphone/smartwatch
Special features: Smallest phone/tablet to run full Android, touchscreen, camera
OS: Android 4.2
Related: Moto 360, Apple Watch

I’ll have pictures and video up soon for these gadgets, as I own most of them. Stay tuned!

Edit: review is up!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UdDM83Spm0

Second edit

One of my pipe dreams is to build one of those old school like UMPC devices except with modern components. The problem with new tablets these days is that they still can’t match up with the old UMPC form factor – like the old OQO model 2 or Sony Vaio UX, its just cool to have a 5inch Windows PC with keyboard in the palm of your hand.
Its fully possible to build a much slimmer, much faster PC, with better battery life these days using modern components. Unfortunately with Windows 8 tablets, there’s still no tablet thats 8″ and below and has full USB and keyboard support. You can use bluetooth sure, but thats not the same. That’s 2 devices you have to carry. I’m talking about one device. If I build a device it would have the following components:
-5″ IPS FHD capacitative touch display (1080p)
-a sliding keyboard form factor a la the OQO model 2 / Sony Vaio UX or a convertible display a la the Sony Clie UX-50 or Fujitsu U820
-an HD front camera for web conferencing
-an 8MP back camera for pictures
-micro-HDMI output
-miniUSB for charging
-SD card reader
-2 USB 3.0 slots
-Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11ac wireless
-fingerprint reader for security
This won’t be a tablet.. its a full PC running Windows 8.1
Running internally:
-Intel broadwell processor ensuring its fanless – speed should be ~1.3-1.6Ghz
-4GB RAM
-256GB SSD
…I’m sure if Lenovo can make a fanless 13″ convertible, then they can make this.