/> ED I T O R S C H O I C E IN N O V A T IO N A W A R D
X

15 crazy old phones from a Korean museum (pictures)

Want to see a really big, really old cell phone from the 1980s? Yes, you do. Don't miss this unbelievable TV phone from back in the day, and a handset Neo would call his own.

jessicadolcourt.jpg
Jessica Dolcourt
samsung-history-2.jpg
1 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Samsung phones of yore

About 120 miles (and roughly 200 kilometers) southeast of Seoul, South Korea, the industrial city of Gumi huffs and puffs with factories for several of Samsung's and LG's divisions. It's here that Samsung has a special museum dedicated to preserving its cell phones...and other notable telecommunications specimens, too.

samsung-history-2.jpg
2 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Rotary club

This Samsung rotary phone harkens back to 1983.

samsung-history-2.jpg
3 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Children of the '80s

1983. That's when Motorola's $4,000 (roughly £2,570 and AU$4,926) cell phone, far left, broke onto the scene. 1988 is when Samsung answered with its first mobile phone, the SH-100 (middle).

samsung-history-2.jpg
4 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

SH-100

Korea's first cell phone, this glorious SH-100, coincided perfectly with Seoul's summer Olympics, where the phone launched.

samsung-history-2.jpg
5 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Old Samsung logo

Peer closely at the back and you can see how Samsung's old logo used to look. Note the three stars, which is what Samsung means in Korean.

samsung-history-2.jpg
6 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Portable, but only just

Considering that the first-ever "mobile phone" was in fact enclosed in a briefcase, this barely holdable precursor to today's phones was a step up.

samsung-history-2.jpg
7 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Exhibit A

My docent through Samsung's museum in Gumi looks tiny next to the SH-100.

samsung-history-2.jpg
8 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Hall of phones

You're standing in a dark room. All of a sudden, the sound of a flipping switch, and this: walls of cases light up holding nearly every cellular phone that Samsung has ever made.

samsung-history-2.jpg
9 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Up and up and up

You'll strain your neck following the models from floor to ceiling. There are just about 1,900 models, and counting.

samsung-history-2.jpg
10 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Into the Matrix

The 2003 Matrix phone is an eye-catcher. It was created to emulate the "futuristic," slide-up device shown off in the first "Matrix" film.

samsung-history-2.jpg
11 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Multimedia, anyone?

This gem from 2005, the SCH-B100 Satellite DMB phone (digital multimedia broadcasting) had a flip-out screen for watching video clips horizontally. Anycall is a Samsung sub-brand for its Asian markets.

samsung-history-2.jpg
12 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

TV on a phone

Even before the DMB phone, Samsung experimented with TV. This SCH-M220 from 1999 had a slide-out antenna and a clamshell design.

samsung-history-2.jpg
13 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Catching signal

Like your TV at home, a hinge helps you fully adjust the phone's antenna.

samsung-history-2.jpg
14 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

No slim pickin's

All those electronics stuffed inside make for a ham-fisted phone. Try putting that in your pocket.

samsung-history-2.jpg
15 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

10-megapixels

From 2006, the Anycall-branded SCH-B600 featured a whopping 10-megapixel camera, an ambitious endeavor for the time.

samsung-history-2.jpg
16 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Anycall MP3

Music played a big role in cell phones in the 90s and aughts. Take this MP3 phone, for instance.

samsung-history-2.jpg
17 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Candy bar meets flip

The stubby antenna joins up with a candy bar-shape handset adorned with a flip cover to guard against accidental dialing on the alphanumeric keyboard.

samsung-history-2.jpg
18 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Sing a Serenata

A partnership with Bang & Olufsen from 2007 resulted in the Serenata, a music phone with a dial similar to Apple's iPod.

samsung-history-2.jpg
19 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Samsung Juke

That red, slim thing in the center? That's the Samsung Juke, a 2007 entrant that played MP3s when closed, and which swiveled open to serve as a cell phone.

samsung-history-2.jpg
20 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Not exactly a phablet

Branded as an Anycall product, the wacky SPH-P9200, (known internally as the Butterfly), folded open to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard on top of its telephone controls.

samsung-history-2.jpg
21 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Credit card meets calculator

The calculator-like phone in the middle, 2006's SCH-V870, was touted for its credit card-slimness of 8.9 millimeters, or 0.35-inch thick.

samsung-history-2.jpg
22 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Sleek statement

This screenless beauty in the middle, the SGH-V821, stands out in Samsung's wall of phones.

samsung-history-2.jpg
23 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

BlackBerry warpath

Samsung wasn't the only phone maker to copy RIM's QWERTY success with the BlackBerry, but its Duos GT-E2262 was one familiar-looking device of many.

samsung-history-2.jpg
24 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Colorful and slim

A teeny, tiny strip of screen on top and riot of colors marked the SPH-W2700, an Anycall branded phone for Asia.

samsung-history-2.jpg
25 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Layers

Also in the Gumi gallery is a neat installation that shows the making of a smartphone through its many electronic layers, from the PBA to the display.

samsung-history-2.jpg
26 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Molding the future

Here, a replica of the mold used to make the Samsung Galaxy S3.

samsung-history-2.jpg
27 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

In da house

Mold-making is an in-house activity that takes five days to machine, from start to finish.

samsung-history-2.jpg
28 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Paying homage

Back in 1882, this wall set was cutting-edge. The oak telephone was built for the Bell system. It consisted of a hand-cranked magneto, an alternating current generator, which you turned to connect to a switchboard operator, who would then put you through to the other party.

samsung-history-2.jpg
29 of 29 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Dial it up

This separate touch-tone keypad is a much more modern addition that makes the phone compatible with the present telephone system.

Can't get enough retro gadgets? Check out more, including Samsung's very first laptop and smartwatch. They'll surprise you!

More Galleries

The best games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The best games on Nintendo Switch

41 Photos
The new Genesis G90 looks incredible

More Galleries

The new Genesis G90 looks incredible

6 Photos
Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

More Galleries

Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

67 Photos
2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

More Galleries

2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

65 Photos
The 51 best VR games

More Galleries

The 51 best VR games

53 Photos
Best dating apps of 2021

More Galleries

Best dating apps of 2021

13 Photos
International Space Station shines in glamour shots from SpaceX Crew Dragon

More Galleries

International Space Station shines in glamour shots from SpaceX Crew Dragon

10 Photos