How-To Geek

Cell Phone Evolution: From Brick to Slick [Infographic]

Over the last 30 years cellphones have gone from monstrous multi-watt consuming bricks to power sipping computers you slip in your pocket. Check out this infographic for a rundown of notable moments in cell phone history.

Hit up the link below for a high-resolution copy of the image.

Mobile Phone Evolution Infographic [Wilson Electronics via Mashable]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/14/11

Comments (13)

  1. Jim

    Not a fan, but it seems like a blackberry would make the chart.

  2. SDreamer

    Seeing charts like this remind me of how much more creative cell phone makers were before the iPhone interrupted design. Everything now is just a touch screen phone or horizontal slider phone for quick messaging. Gone are the unique flip out style of phones that turned heads. I really miss having more unique looking devices than just touch screen slabs. I think it would be great if someone started pushing design again like companies were doing then.

  3. Acumark

    The HTC Evo 4G was released in 2010, not 2011.

  4. IT_Jedi

    Yeah Blackberry first shows up in 1999. Why would it not be recognized on this list?

  5. mattmuttsmith


    It might not be on the list because it seems that most of the phones on the chart are for the regular user. When blackberry first came on the market, and up until recently, was marketed toward the business user that needed access to their docs and etc. Who knows? The people responsible for making the chart might have felt it did not make enough market impact with the average user to justify its inclusion in the chart.

    Oh well.

  6. Vorlock

    Is this chart decided on connectivity (ie 4G, 3G etc) because the newer smartphones should be decided on their power and the ones that have really made an improvement to the market not just on connectivity. Because why isnt the galaxy s II on there it is a technological marvel and its not up there.

  7. Ushindi

    Had to laugh – I STILL have my old Motorola Bag Phone (it was analog, as I remember – had to quit using it when EVERYTHING went digital). Paid $100 for it, I seem to recall, when I was with AT&T. I needed the extra power then, as my kids were old enough for camping off the beaten path and I wanted something with extra reach for emergencies – this was back in the early 90s, and coverage was much spottier then it is now.
    I probably kept it all these years for sentimental reasons – those were great times.

  8. Ushindi

    BTW – yes, the Bag Phone put out three watts when, at the time, the regular cell phones were rated at only one-half watt. A big difference in the mountains.

  9. one.m.davis

    There are a couple of odd exclusions, Blackberry would be the largest (I would argue than many on the phones included where business tools only). Handspring’s early treo’s or the treo 600 would be another (interestingly the picture of a treo running windows, is actually running PalmOS). I would also say that the first palm pre, being the first webOS phone should also make the cut. The nokia phone I would have singled out, would probably have been the 5110. WinMo doesn’t really get a mention (other than the Palm device, which is pictured running palmOS, but the description says it’s using WinMo)

    I also agree, as amazing as the iPhone is, it is not for everyone (read me) so I am also saddened by the lack of design innovation since it came out. (that may be why the Galaxy range isn’t included, as samsung went one step further, as not just the form was heavily influenced by the iPhone, but then then skinned andriod to look more like iOS)

    regardless of which phones randomly, or intentionally, made the cut, it was an interesting trip down a technolgical memory lane.

  10. wunch

    I really like the overall effect of the chart. However, I think it could have shown a smoother transition from feature-phone to smart-phone. Including a Blackberry, Sidekick, Windows Mobile, or even an earlier Treo would have exemplified this.

    Also, I would have thrown the T-Mobile G1 on there to mark the beginning of the Android era.

  11. Holger

    It’s funny to detect my preferred mobile in this list – the Ericsson T39M. I bought a used one from a friend back in 2002 and it served me well until May 2011!!!!!
    I did not even have to replace the battery.
    Unfortunately I got into a heavy rain shower this May and this killed my T39M.
    Now I have a HTC Legend and I do doubt that it will last as long as the Ericsson.

  12. Poet

    I always thought if they took the body of a brick and put in up to date components. The phone would be durable and more interesting for those of us who might like to be different. I also miss the analog days when an old TV with fine tuner could pick up both sides of the local cell calls.

  13. Liz

    I just wish they still made phones that actually worked like they did in the old days

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