Since an early age I have always loved mobile phones. I always had to have the latest device and loved that feeling of unwrapping that new phone for the first time and opening that shiny new box. I still do. Unfortunately it’s a bit of an expensive affection but I don’t think there’s any better feeling. It was mobile phones that really got me into technology but it wasn’t until phones became ‘smart’ that I really started to become obsessed. What I find amazing is how technology is getting so much more powerful but at the same time smaller and more power efficient. Technology is moving on so much and the next innovative thing is only every just around the corner. That’s what I love so much. Trying to guess at what is coming next. Smartphone developers know only too well that consumers love to show off these new technologies and will market devices accordingly. I am a massive sucker for this marketing and as such always have to have the latest thing.
Of course some developments in technology are more intuitive than others and it’s not necessarily the most successful developments which have the biggest impact. The Nokia N90 for example was not the most successful device in the world but for me it is one of the most intuitive as it captures the imagination. The LG Optimus 2X was not the most successful device either. What it did do however was show what mobile processors were capable of and for that reason it also captured the imagination. This is a personal list of smartphones which I feel have had that effect. Some have been more successful than others but what they all have in common is intuitiveness. I’m sure the most intuitive smartphone label will be up for debate but below is a top 10 collection of devices which have really showcased what I love about technology.
1. Apple iPhone
No top 10 list of influential phones would be complete without the revolutionary iPhone. The original iPhone revolutionised the smartphone experience by bringing hardware and software together in perfect unison. The iPhone was an instant success. Launched in 2007 and featuring such innovative features as pinch to zoom, the iPhone was the coolest kid on the block resulting in queues of hundreds waiting to own one. The original iPhone was the first in what is now one of the most desirable product lines in the world and made Apple a household name. The iPhone set the benchmarks for which every other company aimed at.
2. HTC One
No list would be complete without the stunning HTC One. Easily my favourite smartphone ever. The One had an unprecedented build quality and design and included intuitive features such as the ultra pixel camera and boom speakers. This to me is just the perfect package. The best of everything brought together in a stunning aluminium body. Easily as well built as the iPhone but much cheaper. The One will go down in history as one of the smartphone greats. It’s yet to be seen wether the One is enough to turn around HTC’s fortunes. This doesn’t change the fact however that the HTC one is possible the finest smartphone ever made and like the iPhone sets the benchmarks for all future flagships.
3. T-mobile G1
T-mobile G1 or HTC Dream as it was also known was the very first Android smartphone. The G1 was officially released in 2008 and showcased the brand new Linux based operation system – android. In was mainly well received and featured good build quality and sweet features such as notification management. It also had a full pull out qwerty keyboard and boasted top notch integration with Google services. Android is now one of the biggest and best operating systems in the world but none of this would have been possible without the G1.
4. Nokia N90
You may be a little surprised to see the N90 in my top 10. Perhaps not the most popular N-series phone but easily one of the most intuitive. Unfortunately this was one of the phones that I wanted desperately but never actually owned. I was totally mesmerised by the slick twisty display that turned the whole thing into a camcorder. For me this device showed what smartphones were capable of. It was just so cool. Massively expensive however. I don’t know why I loved this so much, it was just so desirable. My mate had one and I would have done anything to have owned one. The Nokia N90 was a true gadget phone that easily deserves to be in my top 10.
5. Palm Pre
I think the Palm Pre was one of the most underrated smartphones ever. The pre had a beautiful pebble like design with that amazing sliding qwerty keyboard and intuitive operating system. To me WebOS was one of the finest operating systems of its time. Like Android WebOS was based on Linux and focused on the user experience. All this made the Pre one of the biggest threats to the iPhone and initial sales when it was launched in 2009 were very promising. The device never really gained popularity here in the Uk however and subsequent releases failed to gather momentum. Those of us who remember using WebOS will remember that buttery smooth interface and sleek design. I’d love to see it again running on a mainstream device.
6. LG Optimus 2X
The LG Optimus 2X was the first smartphone in the world to feature a duel core processor. The device featured a decent LCD IPS display and 8GB of Ram. It was revolutionary in that it featured Nvidia’s latest Tegra 2 CPU and also featured a HDMI out port. I owned this phone for a short while and really loved it. I remember being amazed playing Samurai ll Vengeance for the first time and being able to play this on my telly through the HDMI. It’s hard to believe that this device was only released in 2011. Smartphone technology seems to have developed so fast in the last few years. Unfortunately the 2X was soon overshadowed by Samsung’s amazing Galaxy S 2. This was more powerful and featured a much improved display. However the 2X was the first to the market and therefore beats the S2 into my top 10.
7. Samsung Galaxy Note
Samsung took a huge risk with the Note. Nothing like this had been seen before and the note could have quite easily flopped. Fortunately however it didn’t. The Note was hugely successful and samsung effectively created a whole new market which it still largely dominates today. The Note is to the phablet what the iPad is to the tablet. What I find interesting about the Note is how attitudes have changed. In today’s consumer market bigger is in fact better. People don’t really like small displays anymore. When your someone who consumes a lot of media, surfs the web and play 3d immersive games then what you need is a huge window to that world. Even Apple took note with the iPhone 5 having a bigger display. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the iPhone 6 is bigger still. The samsung Galaxy note makes it into my list because it redefined mobile computing and changed the attitude regarding what is deemed acceptable.
8. HTC Desire/Google Nexus one
Quite simply the HTC desire was one of the best phones I ever owned. The Desire was the whole package – what we used to call a “iPhone killer”. The Desire had it all; a clamshell design, AMOLED display, half a gig of RAM, a five million pixel camera and also shot video in 720p HD. This was a fine example of what HTC were capable of. For me HTC have always been the most competent at taking the latest and best smartphone features and cramming them all into one super cool little package. I always found this device a true competitor to the iPhone and it was a fine example of an early Android handset kicking ass. I have cheated a little here by adding the Google Nexus One. Although a separate entity, the Nexus One was the original Google smartphone. Based around the same hardware as the Desire the Nexus One cost more and was less popular. It did however start what is now an exceptional line of raw android devices.
9. Samsung Omnia HD
The Omnia HD was the first smartphone to record video in 720p high definition. It seemed like quite a hefty device at the time but is rather small compared to today’s flagships. It featured a lovely 3.7 inch capacitive AMOLED display and a brilliant 8mp snapper. The Omnia HD ran on Nokia’s now extinct Symbian operating system and came in 8 and 16GB memory sizes. I remember people laughing when they saw the size of this phone. That beautiful quality video playback shut them all up however! The design and build was pretty robust too but the shiny coating became a bit of a finger print magnet.
10. Motorola RAZR
The Motorola RAZR was originally launched in 2004 as a non mainstream fashion device. Thankfully however the price was eventually lowered for domestic markets and by 2006 the RAZR had become the fastest selling phone ever. Back in 2006 Motorola were once of the big smartphone manufacturers and with the RAZR they were on to a winner. The RAZR’s unique selling point was its immense slimness. Nothing like this had been seen before and even today the device looks cool. Unfortunately that slim screen did have a tendency to crack but this takes nothing away from the innovative design. The RAZR was like the iPhone of its time – that must have gadget that everybody wanted to be seen with. There were many improved versions of the RAZR released but the original will always have a place in my heart.
I have really enjoyed putting this list together and I’m sure people will want to disagree. Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think.