It’s been 25 years since I started using mobile phones, and of course, the first name which came across my mind was Nokia. Back then, there were many popular brands like Ericsson, Motorola, Sony, etc. but Nokia was the paradigm. My very first phone wasn’t actually mine, cause I got it from my friend, and used it for a couple of months – the Nokia 8110. Yes, the one shown in the Matrix movie. Sure, that one was a little adjusted, since the original model didn’t open the slider with a spring.
Still, I used Nokia 8110 in 1997, hence, almost two years before Matrix came out, but at the time, switching phones was nothing like today.
A year later, I bought my own phone – Nokia 6110. Very good phone with a battery that lasted for more than a week. In that era, phones were mostly able only to make calls and send SMS, but the competition heated up as a race to make them smaller. In the year 2000, I got 8210. We called it Match Box. The phone was so small, that people didn’t believe it was actually a phone, but rather some kind of toy for children.
On the other hand, they were right. It was a toy, but for big boys. In my mid-20-es, having a such phone made me kind of popular among my circle of friends and acquaintances. „Hey, that’s the guy with a weird phone that fits in the small pocket of Levi’s 501.“
I kept it for a year or a little more, but then something happened. Producers realized that phones need some improvements to keep buyers interested. So, there came WAP. The first Internet protocol for small monochrome screens, which could provide basic information from websites, had to be adjusted so that phones could possibly receive any information. The modem speed was 9600 bps (5 times slower than 56k modems on PCs). It was terrible even for that time, but still something.
So, I bought Nokia 6210. Much bigger than my 8210, but it also had a quite larger display, and of course, WAP. Since connecting to the Internet through a 9k modem was really a pain in the ass, I abandoned that extreme sport, but kept the phone, which lasted a little bit longer. I decided to wait for a better experience since operators were making preparations for GPRS and UMTS (3G).
My next phone was the iconic Nokia 7650. The first worldwide-available mobile phone with a camera, and among the first ones with a color display. This was really a revolution, but my friends didn’t quite understand me, and of course, my obsession. They used to make fun of me, mocking me that I have a TV phone. Sometimes, I’ve been telling them „just f*cking wait“, because I knew that day was about to come, but they still didn’t understand me. Yeah, I know I’m retarded.
Besides the camera, 7650 brought so much anticipated GPRS, so you could use the Internet with speeds similar to those on your PC. Still, it wasn’t that useful, because not many websites were adjusted to show simplified pages. On the other hand, you could use it for email, and MMS. There were many other features, like Bluetooth, so you could connect your headphones wirelessly.
Time passed, and the phones evolved. My next choice was the Nokia 6600, which is still one of my favorite phones of all time. All that technology, a larger screen, and other stuff is packed into perfectly designed hardware. I was in love with this phone, and I will never regret giving it away to a friend of mine, after purchasing the next one. Damn, I should have kept it for myself and put it in a time capsule.
In the meantime, carriers in Croatia started to implement 3G technology, and my next phone had to support it for obvious reasons. So I chose the Nokia 6630. Not so well-designed as 6600, but it came with 3G support. Additionally, it helped me to get interested in Symbian programming. However, my enthusiasm didn’t last long, because the code was written in C++, with more limitations (due to screen size) than advantages.
I gave up developing apps for Symbian, but not the Nokia phones. The next one was N70, which brought a better camera, connectivity, and memory options. A year later, I bought N95, the first phone with GPS. Really revolutionary, but with one big flaw – the battery life. It was so annoying to charge the phone once a day, knowing previous models lasted a few times longer. If I knew what will have happened with phone batteries 10 years later, I would have never sold it shortly after.
For some reason, I had a feeling that Nokia was losing momentum, and unfortunately, I was right. I abandoned the idea of having a flagship model, so I rather focused on work. Since I was simultaneously using a BlackBerry device, which had a unique feature called BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service) which provided flat Internet, it was a must-have device for business purposes. Still, I was not fully satisfied with BlackBerry as a phone, so I moved to Nokia E61i.
Yes, BlackBerry taught me that the physical QWERTY keyboard was one of the best features on phones for business, and Nokia in cooperation with BlackBerry announced the „BlackBerry Connect“ service, which enabled using BlackBerry services on Nokia E61i. The world was mine. I kept this phone for several years, and I wouldn’t have to move to another if I hadn’t broken it. What s disaster. I wanted to buy the same model again, but the BlackBerry Connect service started getting buggy. So I had to move to BlackBerry itself again but still wanted a Nokia.
The compromise was – to carry two phones again. So I bought Nokia E63 and kept using it along with a variety of BlackBerry models.
At that point in history, Nokia started lagging with new technologies and losing the advantage. Apple came with iPhone, and Android was born. Symbian OS was rewritten all over but still couldn’t compete with advancing troops from Apple, Google, HTC, and Samsung. So, the Nokia E63 was the last Nokia phone in my possession, but I never stopped loving the brand. I had some hope for the future, but when Stephen Elop announced that Nokia would be shipped exclusively with Windows Phone OS, I simply gave up.
Still, in 2016, the Nokia brand raised from the dead but never achieved my personal expectations. Nevertheless, I believe there is still much potential in the markets for Nokia to shine again, and I’m looking forward to meeting at that moment.