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80s Phones

by Julie

In the 80s, phones were cheap and plentiful. We lived in a smaller world and technology was crappy. As a result, there was no need for fancy features like touch screens or apps. The only thing we needed from our phone was to make calls, check messages, and maybe send an email each day. We used simple dialing pads that allowed us to place calls manually by pushing buttons on the pad, which made it easy to find out what time it was or where we left our keys when walking out of the house in wintertime. Here, we will lay out a few popular 80s phones that may get you nostalgic.

Nokia 8110

Released in 1979, this was the first mass produced phone with a numeric keypad and a full QWERTY keyboard . It was also one of the first phones to integrate faxing and voicemail which was unheard of at the time. This model sold so well it spawned hundreds of clones including ones for use in cars and domestic appliances. The modern day Nokia 1100 is similar except it has an LCD screen instead of a CRT display like its predecessor did. In 1983 a new model of the 8110 was released that featured a more sophisticated memory system, which made it more popular. Another feature on this new model was the ability to play music through the phone itself rather than via a separate player like other phones of the time. This phone was nicknamed “The Brick” because of its lack of color and weight as well as its square design. It is still in production today.

Nokia 1100

Released in 1981, this phone is one of the most iconic phones ever made because it was the first smartphone. The basic unit had only 1 KB of RAM and 48 KB of storage space; these were both very small amounts for a phone at that time. The next model up from this one had 2 MB of RAM and 32 MB of storage space but many people preferred the “plain” 1100 since it was smaller and cheaper. In 1983 this phone was updated with a keyboard and extra storage space; this was the first model to be called “Pocket Phone”. In 1984 a new model was released with both color screens as well as an internal music player. This phone is also easy to use and has a simple design, which makes it comfortable to hold in your hand.

Nokia 1100 Classic

Released in 1983, this model of the Nokia 1100 featured a stylus pen that could be used like an ink pen on paper, making it easier to write notes on receipts or other documents. This phone is less popular than the original although many of its features have been incorporated in later models (like having an internal music player).

Nokia 3310

Released on the Finnish market in 1985, this was the first model of the Nokia brand. It was released for $69 USD and had a basic LCD screen. The phone came with a roll up antenna that could be flicked to activate it. Eventually it was released with a speakerphone and later an FM radio as well. The phone has been nicknamed “the brick” because of its form factor and is still considered one of Nokia’s best-selling models ever. It is possible to get these phones secondhand at very low prices (around $20).

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