Monday, May 5, 2014

Remembering the Nokia 7110, When Apple Was Not yet King

What gadget comes to mind when asked about the Matrix movie? I bet it is Neo’s Nokia slide phone. Neo’s phone was an 8110 with springs added, a feature that was incorporated in the succeeding model: the Nokia 7110. Imagine our surprise when my wife found her 7110 while cleaning a cabinet drawer!

The 7110 is the first mobile phone to support a WAP browser for surfing the Internet. This was years before 3G. My wife and I bought 7110s because of its 1,000-entry phone book, a feature uncommon at the time. It also had six lines of text for those who love SMS, and a Navi roller that makes scrolling a breeze. Of course, that snapping sound when you slide the mouthpiece to reveal the keypad was a buying factor for me.

How was the 7110’s battery life? Unlike today’s phones, the 7110 has the battery acting as its back cover. That means you can use a slim battery if you prefer to carry light, or snap a high capacity, yet thick battery for longer use. With today’s mobile phones, there is no way you can replace an internal battery with thicker ones. I would love to use it again, if only to elicit strange looks from younger kids. Too bad our charger seems broken, though it may be possible to use the newer 5V chargers if I can find a suitable plug.

The 7110 reminds us of how mobile phones have advanced in the last fifteen years. The 7110 has no Bluetooth. Back in those days, we use infrared to transfer files. That means perfectly aligning the infrared ports of two devices before starting the transfer. One small move and you lose the connection. It does not even have a camera, or a screen that rivals a high-definition TV. Yet, back in those days, mobile phones have unique physical characteristics that set them apart from competitors. The 7110 is a testament to that. Today, almost all mobile phones have the same rectangular shape. Thanks to Apple.

Nokia is dead, replaced by Microsoft Devices Group fifteen years after the release of the 7110. Our 7110 now serves as a reminder to Nokia’s former glory days.

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