A nostalgic look at the Motorola T720 [Dateline 2003]

Let’s take a quick walk back to 2003 when the Motorola T720 was launched. The clamshell design style was hip back then. A clamshell design was one with two hinged parts that opened and shut like a shell of a clam. There are still a few phones in the world like this. The T720 was a trendy-looking clamshell that was made of plastic. Closed up, there was a small display on the cover – just 96 x 32 pixels for quick access to vital information. But opened up, you get a bigger display and a very comfortable keypad for T9 typing. If you do not know what T9 is, aaah, you’re young!

Motorola T720 closed

Phone screens were so small in those days that the bigger 9-line display of only 120 x 160 pixels was huge for its day. It made the phone stand out. I really, really wanted one back then, but never could get one to purchase. Motorola sold phones in Nigeria and I bought a few – the basic Motorola T2288, which was my first mobile phone ever, the big ugly Hulk-like Motorola MT7800, the elegant and powerful A008 Accompli, and the C336 that had a horrible battery life. Then Motorola sort of fizzled out of the Nigerian market. In 2011, I was able to get my hands on the QWERTY Motorola EX115 Dual-SIM as well. But, back to the T720.

Motorola T720

The phone’s 4096-colour screen and polyphonic ringtones were still a novelty around that time too, so the T720 really was something. Forget Bluetooth, Wifi and other fancy stuff that we take for granted today. In 2003, we only dreamed of the day phones would have such stuff. It had an infra-red blaster though, which was fairly common back then. It also had a WAP 1.2 browser with mobile internet via dialup and GPRS. Nah; no EDGE. It also supported EMS (SMS with images).

And being able to use the T720 as a modem with a PC or laptop was heavenly. You could do this via Infrared or an RS-232 serial cable. Any oldies here remember the days of tethering to a PC with serial cables?

I did get to play with one briefly when I ran into someone who owned one. The keypad was quite comfortable, the display was just beautiful and the T720 was everything I wanted it to be. Well, except that it felt not so sturdy in the hand and then later on, I heard that the battery life was not inspiring at all. The era was the period that Motorola messed up with battery life and got itself hated. Like I mentioned earlier, I owned the Motorola C336, a product of the same era, and till date, my records have a note attached to it saying it had the crappiest battery life of the over 140 mobile phones I have owned.

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