“Communicators” were the T-Rex (Tyrannosaurus Rex) of early smartphones. Like the real T-Rex, the Nokia Communicator was the most powerful device of its time. It ruled among early smartphones. Communicator was a brand name for a set of smartphones that had a clamshell form factor and opened up to be used for work just like laptops. When closed, it was used like every other phone because it had an outer display and keypad.
Here Are The Nokia Communicator Models
Nokia 9000 was the first Communicator and Nokia E90 was the last (even though the slider-keyboard Nokia E7 was later marketed as a Communicator). Between them was a span of eleven (11) years. Related article: The First & Last Communicators: Nokia 9000 & E7.
This was the very first Communicator was the Nokia 9000. It was released in 1996 and ran an operating system called GEOS, had a “whopping” 8 MB of internal memory (LOL). It was also the first commercial mobile phone with internet and email capabilities.
The Nokia 9110 was launched in 1998. It ran the same locked down OS – GEOS – that its predecessor ran and had a monochrome display like it too. It was no big upgrade, as improvements were incremental.
Nokia 9210 / 9210i
Nokia 9210 was the first Communicator to run Symbian OS (Series 80) and to have a colour screen. It was launched in 2001. This was the first smartphone Communicator. The 9210i was released in 2002. It was the first Communicator I ever owned.
2004 saw the introduction of the Nokia 9500. Like its predecessor, it also ran Symbian OS Series 80, the version of Symbian that was designed specifically with the Communicator in mind. The 9500 also had Bluetooth, camera and WiFi. I owned a 9500.
Launched in 2007, the Nokia E90 was the last true Nokia Communicator. It ran Symbian OS Series 60. Nokia had discontinued Series 80 for the more popular Series 60. Series 60 wasn’t well optimised for the display of the Communicator but Series 60 had more apps and so it meant that the E90 users got access to hundreds of apps that Series 80 didn’t have. Many of us Communicator fans griped and complained about how Series 60 made the E90 feel watered-down from traditional Communicators. But it was a great device still.
I remember that the E90’s camera was one of the best in its time. I so loved the E90 that I ended up purchasing it twice. Ah, the love of my life…..
Nokia Communicators: Honourable Mentions
The Nokia 9300 and 9300i were smaller versions of the Nokia 9500 and ran Symbian OS too. But Nokia did not market them under the Communicator tag. Which was odd.
Nokia attempted to market the E75 as a Communicator, but we fans refused vehemently. It ran Symbian OS but didn’t have the Communicator form factor. Its slider keyboard was not classic Communicator form factor. What were they thinking?
Lastly, the Nokia E7 was launched in 2011 had a form factor that was similar to the Communicator but instead of a clamshell that opened, it had a slide-out mechanism – more like the E75. It was a sleek beauty and I was privileged to be one of the first to own one. It ran Symbian^3, one of the very last iterations of Symbian OS.
Nokia Communicator Related Articles
- Communicator Flashback: From the Nokia 9210 to the Nokia E7
- Gemini PDA: The 2nd Coming Of The Communicator Form Factor Is Here
- Casio JD-6000 was Mister Mobility’s first handheld computer
- The First Mobile Phone With Internet Capabilities – Authoritative Mobile History
- Gallery: The 26 Nokia phones of Mister Mobility
If there is any form factor of mobile phones that I miss till today, it is the Communicator form factor. Using one was like using a phone and a mini laptop rolled into one. Nokia Communicators were powerful and very useful. They were also the most advanced mobile phones arpound in their days. Perhaps someone can revive the form factor. Just imagine Android or Windows 10 (not Windows 10 Mobile) in a Communicator form factor. Ooohhh-la-la.
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Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.