Today I would like to continue the cycle of my historical materials and again plunge into the past with you. In this article, the conversation will focus on the first of its kind – those with whom it all began: operators, telephones and smartphones. Turn on nostalgia!
The first Russian mobile operator and “cellular” city
If I ask you a question about which mobile operator in Russia was the first, you will surely name someone from the notorious “big three”. However, this answer will be wrong, because none of these companies claims to be the first in our country.
In fact, the first Russian operator in history was Delta Telecom, which most people know under the Sky Link brand. The commercial operation of this network began on September 9, 1991, and in fact it took place back in the USSR!
Another mystery: in which city was the first cellular network launched? If you answer that this is Moscow, then you are also mistaken, because Delta Telecom started operating in St. Petersburg that day.
The first in the history of Russia (and the USSR) a call on a mobile phone was made by the mayor of the cultural capital Anatoly Sobchak. In a solemn atmosphere, he called his colleague, the mayor of Seattle, America. There is even a historical record of this moment.
It was from this moment that the domestic mobile history began in the 1G-standard NMT-450. The telephones operating in this network were the very legendary “suitcases”, and it is unlikely that the language will turn to call them mobile.
For example, Nokia Mobira Talkman weighing 5.5 kg in boxtype form factor.
The first Russian GSM operator and GSM telephone
I think that only a few of our readers had the opportunity to make a call over the NMT-450 network, but everyone should have caught the GSM era. It was the first truly digital communication standard of the second generation (2G), and it officially appeared in Russia on July 7, 1994, thanks to the newly created MTS company. On this day, 8 base stations of the GSM-900 standard started operating in Moscow at the same time: 6 along the Moscow Ring Road, 1 in the center, and 1 more along the route to the Sheremetyevo airport.
The first mass-produced GSM phone was the Nokia 1011 (1992) with support for mini-SIM cards.
The standard will be used everywhere for almost two decades until the release of iPhone 4 with micro-SIM cards in 2011. By the way, the Nokia 1011 did not yet have the Nokia Tune ringtone – it first appeared only two years later, in the successor to Nokia 2010.
The world's first smartphone
The history of pocket personal computers began in the early 80s through the efforts of the Psion company, but the first PDA with a call function did not appear on sale until 1994. It was the model IBM Simon.
In addition to telephone functions, this device had a calendar, notepad, address book, calculator, world time display, the ability to send and receive faxes, work with e-mail (without attachments). Also IBM Simon had built-in games.
It was also the world's first phone with a touchscreen display, and with the help of it (and the stylus) all control was carried out, including text input. The device worked for 1 hour in talk or data mode and from 8 to 12 hours in standby mode.
By the way, many people mistakenly believe that the first smartphone was the Nokia 9000 Communicator, released in 1996. Indeed, it was the first GSM smartphone, but the gadget from IBM became a debutant in the whole class of devices.
For the first time, the term “smartphone” was used in relation to Ericsson R380 (2000) – a device with a flip cover that covered part of the touch screen, and Symbian OS version 5.1.
The first phone with a color display and the first slider
The legendary German company Siemens is the manufacturer of the world's first phone with a color display. It was Siemens S10, announced back in 1997.
The S10's display showed only 4 colors: red, blue, green and white, but for the second half of the 90s it was a real breakthrough. By the way, it used a pull-out tray for a SIM card, which is fashionable in our time, and this was 10 years before the announcement of the first iPhone, which made such a solution popular on the market.
Two years later, based on the S10, Siemens created the SL10 fashion model, which became the world's first phone in a slider form factor and the second Siemens with a color display. These phones did not stand out in anything special.
The first phone with an mp3 player
Another pride of the now defunct Siemens Mobile is the legendary SL45 luxury phone, the world's first phone with a built-in mp3 player and MMC card slot.
The original version of the SL45 included a 32 MB card, a cradle for charging and synchronizing with a computer, as well as a proprietary Sennheiser headset.
In addition, the SL45 was one of the first phones to support GPRS packet data transmission and JAVA games, that is, it was practically the pinnacle of the evolution of the mobile device market.
In the early 00s only wealthy people could afford Siemens SL45, as for some time the device remained the most expensive on the Russian market. Moreover, at the turn of the millennium, it was about the same attribute of the “new Russians” as the “six hundredth Merc,” a crimson jacket and a gold chain around his neck.
The first phone for fingers
For the sake of fairness, I would like to note that it was possible to work with touch phones, smartphones and PDAs with the help of fingers on devices with a resistive touch screen, but it became really convenient and accurate to do this only after the appearance of capacitive screens. Surely, to the question about which device was the first with this type of screen, you will answer – Apple iPhone. And you will not be entirely right.
In fact, the first phone with a capacitive touchscreen type was LG Prada, introduced in December 2006, but it was just a touchscreen phone without a smart operating system.
A month later, in January 2007, Steve Jobs introduced iPhone, which became the first smartphone with a capacitive screen.
The first “clamshell”
Today the clamshell form-factor is practically not used, although in Asian markets no, no, and there are also models from such large manufacturers as Samsung or LG. It was Asians who loved opening phones the most and could not completely abandon them, but this form factor was first invented by an American company Motorola.
The legendary “tube” Motorola StarTAC was released in 1996, and later entered the list of the most iconic phones of all time. Indeed, it was an insanely popular model, sales of which exceeded 60 million units (according to Wikipedia). For the second half of the 90s, these were simply unimaginable numbers, especially with a starting price of about $ 1,000.
While preparing this material for you, I realized one interesting thing: even I, a person who has been continuously and deeply interested in mobile gadgets for 15 years, could not immediately name a number of debutants from today's collection. And it was all the more interesting to deal with this. If the article seemed interesting to you, write about it in the comments, and maybe I will continue to write on this topic, since there are many other interesting gadgets that have become the first of their kind! And do not be too lazy to read on the net more about those devices listed above that seemed interesting to you – you will find even more interesting facts.