Wed. May 22nd, 2024

4 Of The Best Old Flip Phones: Life Before Smartphones

ericsson t28
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Old flip phones have been around since the Motorola StarTac (released on 1996), and most were boring. I wasn’t one to be excited about the fact that I could flip a phone open. My interest in cell phones was deeper; I wanted the most advanced functionality possible.

I used my first cell phone in 2001, so I have been around a while and was here during the exciting years that flip phones became popular. I was not a huge fan of traditional flip phones and so, I only owned a few of them. But I did love the early forefathers of the modern smartphone which came in the same clamshell form factor of flip phones.

My adventures with old flip phones began with the Motorola Accompli 008. Released in 2002, it had a stylus-supported touchscreen and advanced email and internet capabilities.

The next one was the Ericsson R380s, followed by the Ericsson T28. Ericsson was the champ of old flip phones in the earliest years of the 2000s. It wasn’t until the middle of the decade that Motorola jumped in with the Razr V3 and its offsprings.

Motorola A008 Accompli

Apart from the Nokia Communicators, the Motorola Accompli 008 was one of the most advanced cell phones in the market in 2002 when it was released. It was unique and striking, and it had capabilities that most other phones at the time only dreamed of.

Motorola Accompli 008 was the first of my old flip phones

It had a superior WAP browser and an email client, and did I use them! Note that this was in the days when Circuit Switched Data aka cellular dial-up was the most only means of going online on a cell phone. But I used it successfully for managing my business email communications.

Ericsson R380s

The R380s was released in the year 2000, a year before I used my first mobile phone, but it was love at first sight and I was determined to own one.

Ericsson R380 was a non-traditional old flip phone

What was not to like about a phone that looked like something out of a science fiction movie when compared to the average cell phone at the time? The fact that I could use it as a regular phone, then open it up to reveal that large touchscreen was captivating. Touchscreen phones didn’t work with fingers back then, so it came with a stylus for writing or pecking on the screen, whichever you preferred.

Like the Motorola A008, the Ericsson R380s was a forerunner of modern smartphones. As a matter of fact, it was the first mobile phone to be referred to as a smartphone. Never mind that it had no way to install apps. You were stuck with whatever features it came with – and it came with plenty for the time.

Ericsson T28

Released in 1999, the Ericsson T28 wasn’t quite special in any way apart from the fact that it was compact. Perhaps it was it’s compact size that attracted me, or perhaps I was just bored, but I bought one.

Ericsson T28 flip phone

Boy! Was it tiny! The tiny screen was no joy, though. But I loved the tactile feel of the alphanumeric keypad.

Motorola Razr V3

Released on 2004, the Razr V3 went on to become the most popular of these old flip phones, especially in the United States. This was the phone that made flip phones hip.

Motorola Razr V3 became the most popular of the old flip phones from the early 2000s..

The Razr V3 didn’t have any super features to wow users. It was the super-slim design and build materials that did the magic, and millions of people bought it in droves. It was beaten to the title of the best selling phone released in 2004 by the Nokia 2600 but remains the world’s bestselling clamshell phone to date.

The Motorola Razr V3 was so successful that Motorola designed its modern touchscreen Razr after it. I have a copy in the Mobility phone museum; it still works.

Which Old Flip Phones Did You Own?

If you were already using a mobile phone between 2000 and 2005, did you use any old flip phones? If you did, which ones? Do share you story with me in the comment section below.

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By Mobility Daddy

Founder, MobilityArena. Way back from the days of EPOC, Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems, I have owned a few hundred smartphones and tablets, and counting.

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