Headline stuff week 5: Stroll down memory lane
This week has been a bit boring – at least compared to the exciting events at the end of January in some of the recent years. We spend a lot of time looking forward (the latest tech, leaked upcoming devices) but we've decided that once a week we'll look back to see how far we've come.
Undoubtedly the most important event to happen in this week through the years was the Apple iPad announcement from 2010.
The tablet started a craze that's still going strong four years later and has seen and has provoked a response from just about every manufacturer out there. It's specs look really laughable now - which is just another proof of how far the market has gone in four short years.
The T-Mobile G1, fondly remembered as the first Android phone on the market, had been available for just a few months (in launched October 2008) when the first dual-SIM Android was announced.
Made by a little known brand General Mobile, the DSTL1 was to be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress that year. You might not think much of the phone now, but it started a long line of multi-SIM Androids.
It wasn’t the first dual-SIM smartphone, the Windows Mobile-running HKC W1000 beat it by nearly a year, but Android's relation with dual-SIM has remained strong, while the other OSes today stick to one at a time.
In certain markets that's a huge advantage and just about every Android phone maker has a dual-SIM phone. There are 487 devices in our database, ranging from entry-level to flagship. There's even dual-SIM phablets (and the "phablet" didn’t exist back in 2009, a 5+ inch device would have been called a tablet since it was "huge").
Anyway, despite voice, text and data prices falling, dual-SIM devices still have a place. And thanks to pioneers like the GM DSTL1, you're not limited to dual-SIM feature phones but can have all the conveniences of a modern smartphone.
Speaking of smartphones, news broke out of another exciting smartphone development to hit the Mobile World Congress 2009 – Acer is entering the ring. The company had recently bought E-Ten Glofiish, maker of Windows Mobile handsets, and was eager to put it to work.
Acer followed through on its promises to unveil a smartphone in late 2008 or early 2009 and brought four Windows Mobile-powered smartphones ("PocketPCs" in the lingo of the day), including a dual-SIM smartphone. But that's a story for another week.
Anyway, Acer hasn’t had the explosive success of other Chinese brands with its Android-powered smartphones. However, the company is still deeply involved with Android and it's the budget-friendly Iconia tablets that get the most attention. It did score some wins on the Android phone front too, like the first smartphone to record 4K video, the Liquid S2.
Smartphones were an awkward thing back then, it was Nokia's Series 40 that ruled the world. The Finnish company had the 6xxx line of phones that are fondly remembered as thin, premium devices with rock-solid battery life and practically indestructible bodies.
The Nokia 6700 was the last of its kind – a lust-worthy candy bar phone with a quality metal body – and it brought some advanced functionality, not the least of which was a built-in GPS receiver and navigation software by Nokia.
This was before the company offered free navigation on all its smartphones, mind you. Funnily enough, that happed a year later, almost to the day. The faith of Nokia's maps eventually took them to the new platform – Windows Phone – where it's still the primary mapping services. And for Nokia-made WP handsets, the voice-guided navigation is still free.
Another curious note we made back then was that the 6700 included a WebKit-based Nokia browser. The rendering engine is now more associated with iOS and Android (though Google forked it), but it has run on feature phones too. Also, it featured Flash Light 3, a stripped down version of a technology now defunct on smartphones.
And don't forget the 5MP camera – it produced some of the best-quality shots we had seen from a phone and was a benchmark for 5MP shooters, even if the video recording capabilities were nothing special (VGA @ 15fps).