This was cool before there was cool. Before smartphones were in millions of pockets, this device was one of the most sought after among the younger crowd; the anti-thesis of the crop of BlackBerry and Windows Mobile handsets. About the exact opposite of the stiff business executive as one could get. I wanted one so, so bad.
Today, I would never use a device with this form factor—I could probably get used to a physical keyboard, but I actually prefer an all-touch experience. That said, it’s incredible how good this keyboard still feels; soft and tactile, spacious and very easy to use. Maybe one of the best keyboards that’s ever been available in the mobile space. And that screen? Still incredibly satisfying to flip up and down.
Devices in this day and age sport large, beautiful screens, thin designs and some truly incredibly functionality. But a lot of them are nowhere as cool as this device was. That being said, the honeymoon period kind of wore off once smartphones started becoming a more regular fixture, and releasing a device like this today would almost surely end up in failure.
But, even still, this is one of my favorite family of devices to look back on, and something that surely belongs in the annals of mobile history.
Last week’s Guess the Phone was the Nokia E61.