2004, a magic year for mobility.
We saw external antennas shrinking into obscurity, along with the bulky size of the handsets from previous years. We saw PDAs and mobile phones put their differences aside, and the burgeoning of a device we now call the smartphone. Motorola ruled the roost with the ultra-desirable RAZR V3, Nokia tried some daring designs and Sony Ericsson gave us a remote controlled car connecting to your phone by the power of a mysterious technology known as Bluetooth.
As we celebrate our 5th year, journey with the team from CNET Australia as we travel down memory lane remembering the best and worst mobile phones from the year 2004.
No other phone from 2004 screamed "antique" quite like the N-Gage QD. For its original ticket price of AU$389 you got a dual-band GSM phone and a portable game console, but it lacked any form of music player. If you bought the N-Gage QD at launch you'd have received The Sims: Bustin' Out, but if we remember correctly, that was about the only good game available on the doomed gaming platform.
Yes, it's exactly what you think it is. The CAR connects to your mobile phone using Bluetooth and is remotely controlled using either the phone's navigation joystick or the numeric keypad. The best part? Sony Ericsson figured you'd be happy to pay A$120 for the privilege.
Ladies and gentlemen, this phone needs no introduction. If you were alive and had access to a disposable income in 2004 chances are you owned or lusted after the Moto RAZR.
This state-of-the-art handset featured a 2.2-inch colour screen, supported MP3 audio and MPEG4 video files, a VGA resolution camera and, of course, that panic-attack inducing "Hello Moto" ringtone. Sometimes we still hear it in our nightmares.
The machine-gun sounding title was actually fitting for the Siemens M65, a phone that could supposedly withstand the rough-and-tumble life of a rugged outdoors guy or gal.
It featured a "cyclometer" used in combination with an additional cycle mount (for an extra AU$100) to track your movements and vital details, without the assistance of GPS, of course.
This snazzy-looking PDA was as hefty as its title was long. Impressively, the spec sheet for the hx4700 reads a lot like smartphones of 2009, minus the phone functionality. A 624MHz processor, a 4-inch VGA resolution screen, plus Wi-Fi lead the way on a handset running Windows Mobile 2003 SE. Not too shabby.
A phone from the past with a design from the future, the Nokia 7200 reminds us of the movie
And while we're on the subject of sweet looking Nokia's from 2004, the 7610 is a personal favourite. This uniquely designed handset showed how daring the Finnish manufacturer was five years ago, leading the way for arguably its most daring design, the 7280, released only months later in March of 2005.
In the years that followed Sony Ericsson would cement its reputation for intriguing, sexy handset design, but in 2004 the S700i was the most interesting from the Swedish-Japanese partnership. Making use of the long forgotten "swivel" form factor, the S700i caught our eye and earned itself an Editors' Choice award.
Though there were BlackBerrys available, discerning Australian business people chose to use a Palm in 2004. A true, early model smartphone, the Treo 650 featured GPRS connectivity, but no Wi-Fi, a 1-megapixel camera and a slot to insert a full-sized SD memory card. How kooky! It also sported a 2009 price tag, setting you back AU$1199 when it hit stores at the end of 2004.
To be honest, we expected to find some stupidly large Bluetooth hands-free headsets during this excursion into the past, but the GN 6210 is surprisingly discreet. Don't get us wrong, it's still shaped like an enormous black slug, but the design called for it to be worn behind the ear, which is an excellent idea and something we wish we saw more of today.