69 Times It Was Totally Unclear What Designers Were Thinking When They Came Up With These Crazy Phones

There’s something incredibly satisfying about the way phones were designed back in the early 2000s. Whether it’s the nostalgic effect for all of us 90s babies, the plethora of buttons, or perhaps the fact that you never feared dropping them down a flight of 500 stairs, those little (sometimes not-so-little) devices sure made our childhoods more interesting. 

So let’s use a metaphorical time machine to look back on some intriguing designs that make us look at our reflective touch-sensitive blocks of technology with a sense of disdain, with us asking, “Where did it all go so wrong?” 

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If you’re curious to learn more about modern-vintage (not sure if that’s a category, but it should be!) phones, make sure to check out this Bored Panda article right here. Don’t forget to vote for your favorites, dearest Pandarandas, and let’s get this phone rolling! 

#1 My Grandma Gave Me This Old Phone Today As A Housewarming Gift. It Quacks When It Rings. I Was Terrified Of It When I Was A Child, So That’s Why She Gave It To Me

Image credits: Cas_PFantasy

Who doesn’t like a little bit of nostalgia to hit just right, both in the pain and pleasure departments of the soul. You’ll definitely want to sell yours to see the return of these intricate and fascinating phone designs, making you feel as though you’re living inside one of those indie sci-fi films. 

In the most basic sense, mobile phones allow us to keep in touch with others, whether we’re on the go, or just splayed out on the couch rewatching the same episode of Friends over and over again because it acts as therapy. It’s not therapy, Stephanie, go get some professional help! 

#2 Found My Old Cell Phone With Optional Clip On Chatboard For Easier Texting

Image credits: ontbijtkoek

#3 Samsung Serenata

Image credits: mobilephonecollections

If we’re to have a slight history lesson, mobile phones have been in development since the late 60s and throughout the 70s, but they were too bulky to be considered truly portable. Whilst Motorola dominated the early mobile phone landscape, Finnish company Nokia joined the mobile phone evolution, coming into prominence in the early 1990s.

We’re all aware of the iconic Nokia 3310. It may have looked closer to a brick than a mobile phone, but if you built a house or a chapel out of that model, it would live through wars, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcano eruptions—everything. Nothing destroys the Nokia 3310. It will exist longer than the Sun and our known universe. 

#4 Motorola Startac Rainbow

Image credits: telefoniusati

#5 Motorola Flipout Mb511

Image credits: techformative557

#6 Motorola V100

Image credits: oldgadgetzreborn

The models that we see here today were mainly released from 1998–2000, introducing the market to seemingly never-ending customization. From ringtones to shapes to color schemes, to the way they opened and twisted and turned, phones became somewhat of a fashion accessory and a way to express your personality. 

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Although they were incredibly complex in appearance, they were capable of fulfilling only the most basic of tasks, compared with the capabilities of mobile phones today. With Apple, Samsung, and Huawei dominating the market, we’ve seen the emergence of the plain rectangular black mirror, which can hardly be compared to the simpler, yet iconic and personable devices of the past. 

#7 Siemens Xelibri 8

Image credits: oldcellphone

#8 Simens SK65

Image credits: proedross

#9 My Beautiful Motorola V50. In The Dark Gray Color, Which I Think Looks Best. Great Phone, Very Small, Compact, Has Great Range, And It Still Works On 2g Networks

Image credits: old_flip.phone_collector

As shared on NokiaMob.net, some believe that smartphones have reached the peak of usability. “Usability is something that drives design creativity, and nowadays we only use phones to soak our minds in the wonders of the modern information-driven world, thus the design becomes irrelevant,” they argued. 

We all tend to buy phones that are usable, durable, and have good battery life, and as we’re all just buying protective covers to protect our precious belongings anyways, is there really a need for more design innovation? As Adam Conway, an Irish technology fanatic, stated, “Innovation is fun, but innovation leads to products that aren’t good enough for everyone.”

 It all boils down to the fine dance of balancing functionality with design, as well as market competition. Design should complement functionality, not contrast it, and although our heads may turn to the next shiny thing on the shelf, the way it works will be the element that keeps us coming back for more. 

#10 Two-Faced Samsung

Image credits: jis_vintage

#11 Nokia 7600

Image credits: yajyay

#12 Sierra Wireless Voq

Image credits: Don MacKinnon

As Ferdinand Porsche put it, “Design must be functional, and functionality must be translated into visual aesthetics.” Lisa Maltby, an illustrative designer, explained that any product must solve the user’s problems and make their lives easier; thus, creatives should combine functionality and fun in the most effective way possible. 

To put it simply—if I can’t use it, I don’t want it. What’s the point of having a triangular phone if I can’t fit it in my back pocket? What’s the point of having a flip phone if the screen is indenting in the middle, making it look messy? What’s the point of my phone being run by an AI that can read my mind and tell me how useless I already know I am? 

#13 My Old Phone Has This Unusual Button

Image credits: Nawozane

#14 Nokia N-Gage

Image credits: cr8ivecodesmith

#15 2003 Nokia 6810. An Unbelievable 71 Individual Buttons On A Handset This Size

Image credits: solid_state_vintage

The lack of production diversity says a lot about the market itself. Consumers want to be comfortable with their purchases. Would you really want to invest in something utterly different that hasn’t been seen before? It’s been done a couple of times in the past, with big innovators joining the game, yet until another genius comes forth, we’re stuck with the reflective magic rectangle. 

As you continue this voyage into the nostalgic, dear Pandas, make sure to continue upvoting your favorites. At the end of it all, leave your opinions and thoughts below: did we have it better in the past or is the present pretty neat as well? 

Have a great one and happy scrolling!

#16 The Nokia 3650. First Phone With A Video Camera. It Helped Establish Symbian Os In The Consumer Market

Image credits: _ITX_

#17 Cool Old-School Crank Phone At My Work

Image credits: toottootputtoot

#18 Siemens Xelibri

Image credits: techformative557

#19 Samsung P910 TV

Image credits: cellphonemuseum

#20 Nokia 7380

Image credits: cellphonemuseum

#21 Newgen C620

Image credits: cellphonemuseum

#22 This Old Jaguar Still Has Its Car Phone

Image credits: Armistarphoto

#23 Samsung Dual Flip

Image credits: Lucy Langford

#24 This 20-Year-Old “Modern-Looking” Landline Phone

Image credits: fractionalhelium

#25 Motorola Aura A Premium Phone

Image credits: expressservicespb

#26 Virgin Mobile Lobster 700tv

Image credits: benwood

#27 Samsung Serene

Image credits: RyJones

#28 Samsung Sph-N270

Image credits: HaoieZ

#29 Nokia N-Gage

Image credits: L. Cohen

#30 Introducing My 2009 Samsung Gloss Sch-U440

Image credits: WholeGrainCamper

#31 Fly Z300

Image credits: elena_arashi_valina

#32 Motorola StarTac 6000e

Image credits: Sfphiynckxs

#33 Nokia 5510

Image credits: Ben Wood

#34 My Phone’s Battery And Main PC’s HDD Both Started Failing At The Same Time, So I’m Relying On These Two A Lot More For The Time Being

Image credits: BowzasaurusRex

#35 This Is The Google Sooner, Which Is A Prototype For The First Android Phone. It Runs A Super Early Version Of The Android

Image credits: JustinN2002

#36 Nokia 7700

Image credits: Shritwod

#37 I Found So Many Old Phones While Decluttering My Grandpa’s Office

Image credits: Trizocbs

#38 The Year Was 2010. I Was Being Handed Down This Phone From My Brother. Suddenly I Felt Like The Coolest Kid In the Class. This Is My LG KU990i

Image credits: TDIRocker99

#39 Ericsson T60d. Limited Edition Spider-Man Version

Image credits: D_G599

#40 My 6822 Arrived Today. The 6800-Series Is Now Finally Complete. The Foldout Keyboard Is Hands Down My Favorite Failed Nokia Concept Of All Time

Image credits: _ITX_

#41 Handphone Unik Siemens Xelibri

Image credits: jis_vintage

#42 My Old High School Cell Phone And The Phone I Got After It

Image credits: Dropkicklover

#43 KDDI W51SH “AQUOS Phone” By Sharp

Image credits: phone_collectors_japan

#44 I Finally Got An Xperia Pureness

Image credits: DayOlderBread16

#45 Sony Ericsson Z320i

Image credits: SGXVII

#46 Nokia E90

Image credits: _ITX_

#47 Siemens Xelibri X4 The Shape Is Super Unique. Like A Ladybug

Image credits: babequ.shop

#48 Nokia N93

Image credits: gadget.store34

#49 Sch-B600

Image credits: Jessica Dolcourt

#50 NTTdocomo D701iWM “Music Porter II”

Image credits: phone_collectors_japan

#51 Samsung SGH F500

Image credits: jis_vintage

#52 Old Nokia Phone

Image credits: nokia_vintage_phones

#53 Yotaphone

Image credits: Yota Devices

#54 My Old Mobile Phone Is Cool. Samsung P300 From 2005

Image credits: sipeyskeyk

#55 Motorola 308 Startac

Image credits: cellphonemuseum

#56 Sch-V870

Image credits: Jessica Dolcourt

#57 I Still Like My Nokia 9110 Communicator

Image credits: espero

#58 Nokia 5510. Still My Favorite Phone Of All Time. It Was Also My Very First Mp3 Player

Image credits: _ITX_

#59 Nokia 9210

Image credits: cellphonemuseum

#60 Samsung Upstage

Image credits: unknown

#61 Toshiba G450. The Weird Little Phone

Image credits: Quantum_Dynamo

#62 Blackberry Passport

Image credits: unknown

#63 Motorola MTx

Image credits: bluereptile

#64 Sidekick II

Image credits: LatencyVariation

#65 Sony Ericsson W950i. A Rare Touchscreen Walkman Phone From 2006

Image credits: MCDiamond9

#66 During The ’90s Motorola Service Centers Offered “Express Exchange” Loaner Phones To Customers While Their Phones Were Out For Repair

Image credits: Sfphiynckxs

#67 Nokia 3300

Image credits: cellphonemuseum

#68 Sch-M220

Image credits: Jessica Dolcourt

#69 Modded Motorola V600

Image credits: DMG41

Source: boredpanda.com

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