The world of mobile devices seems to be obsessed with size and numbers. I guess it is part of a male dominated world where bigger is better, and when it comes to mobile phones there have been several instances where manufacturers simply chase headlines in order to have the most whatever in the market. Currently the obsession with size is focused on screens, not merely resolution as it was a few years ago but simply how big the display is. Ringtones are another area which was seized upon by marketers as an area where the most chords could be had; phones which had a mere 8 or 16 chords were quickly replaced by those with 64 or even 128 as the quest for realistic ringtones became fiercer. The fact is today most people don’t care and MP3’s are easily available anyway, and this brings me onto what was arguably one of the most pointless battles in phone history.
The megapixel; not many people know what it actually means, but its not easy to take an educated guess. The number of ‘pixels’ which a digital camera can capture shot up dramatically in the mid 00’s. From the first cameraphones which had only 0.1MP, up till the relatively recent Nokia 808 ‘Pure View’ which had a ludicrous 41MP, there was a long period where manufacturers attempted to outdo each other for bragging rights and sales, and in fact it normally worked as phones with what was perceived as the most camera-like numbers tended to gain huge advantages over the competition, even if there was little visible improvement.
Arguably the start of this trend came with the launch of Nokia’s 7610 in 2004. It is a phone that I remember well and coveted for a long while even though I did not own it. Back in the days when a camera and colour screen were premium features, the day when my friend brought her brand new 7610 complete with megapixel camera and a whole ten minutes worth of video recording time was undoubtedly for a phone buff like me. A Symbian smartphone like the N95 I reviewed a few days ago, it was full of features that were alien to most customers, such as the ability to read Microsoft Word documents, Bluetooth hands-free and even video-editing software. All of this was wrapped in a package which was styled very differently from anything else currently available, with metallic accents and asymmetric corners adding to its modern look.
The competitive nature of the mobile market meant that Nokia was quick to launch other versions of the phone with more conventional keypads and styling, as the original phone was maybe too stylistically orientated for some business clients. Within a couple of years the Series 60 line of Nokia phones developed into the flagship ‘N Series’ brand which I have already made a post about, and with them came increased technology and inevitably higher ‘numbers’ screen, memory and camera wise. But to me the 7610 never seemed dated at all, and in fact last year I managed to pick one up for cheap on eBay to add to the phones I have squirreled away upstairs in my room.
There are many phones that I have desperately wanted to own, but as of yet the 7610 is the only one I have actually sought out online to buy. To use the phone is obviously quite dated for anyone used to using modern touchscreen phones, but it holds its ground compared to later phones and even contemporary ‘non-smartphones’. In fact it is sitting right next to me now on charge, and even takes a half decent picture!