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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.

Photo by: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Rotary club

This Samsung rotary phone harkens back to 1983.

Photo by: 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).

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SH-100

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

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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.

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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.

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Exhibit A

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Catching signal

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

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No slim pickin's

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

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10-megapixels

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

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Anycall MP3

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Sleek statement

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Molding the future

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

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In da house

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

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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.

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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!

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