Our mobile and music timeline


We've put history's most important phones to music.
Our mobile and music timeline

Mobile phones have come a long way in just 32 years. To show how quickly your mobile’s developed, we’ve paired some of the most important phones ever with the chart-topping singles from the year they were released. So join us on nostalgia highway as we speed through the evolution of music and mobiles.

1983 – Culture Club, Karma Chameleon

Motorola DynaTAC 8000X

World’s first mobile phone: The Motorola DynaTAC 8000X went on sale in 1983 as the first cellular telephone. It cost more than £2,500 at a time when the average house price was just £26,000.

1986 – The Communards, Don’t Leave Me This Way

Technophone EXCELL PC105T

First pocket-sized phone: Early mobile phones needed carry cases or cars to make them mobile. So when the Technophone EXCELL PC105T launched in 1986, its pocket-sized dimensions were astonishing.

1992 – Shakespear’s Sister, Stay

Orbitel 901

First phone to get a text message: By 1992, we were bored with talking to people around the world while walking down the street, so texting was invented. The Orbitel 901 was the first phone to use SMS technology, but we’re pretty sure you still got texts about unclaimed PPI.

1994 – Wet Wet Wet, Love Is All Around

IBM Simon Hagenuk MT-2000 Nokia 2100

First touchscreen phone, first mobile game and the birth of the Nokia ringtone: 1994 was a big year for mobiles. IBM Simon (right) was the first phone with a touchscreen. The Hagenuk MT-2000 (left) kicked-off the mobile gaming revolution when it launched with Tetris built in. And the Nokia 2100 (centre) was the first phone to use the iconic ringtone immortalised by Dom Joly in Trigger Happy TV.

1996 – The Spice Girls, Wannabe

Nokia 9000 Communicator

First mobile office: The Nokia 9000 Communicator had a QWERTY keyboard and could send emails and faxes, making it the first phone that let you get serious work done on the move. In hindsight, we wish Nokia hadn’t bothered.

1998 – Celine Dion, My Heart Will Go On

Siemens S10

First full-colour screen: It’s amazing to think we managed to get emails, web browser, touchscreens and games onto our mobiles before the Siemens S10 launched with the first full colour mobile screen.

1999 – Britney Spears, Baby One More Time

Samsung SPH-WP10 and Kyocera VP 210

First watch phone and first camera phone: If you think Apple Watch and Android Wear smartwatches are pretty futuristic, you’re wrong. The Samsung SPH-WP10 (left) was a watch with a built in phone and it launched last millennium. 1999 also saw the first camera phone with the launch of the Kyocera VP 210 (right).

2000 – Baha Men, Who Let The Dogs Out

Ericsson T36 and Samsung SPH-M100

First Bluetooth phone and first MP3 Player phone: It’s hard to imagine a phone without Bluetooth – how’d you connect your phone to a speaker? But it’s only been around since the Ericsson T36 launched. 2000 was also the year MP3 music came to our phones with the Samsung SPH-M100, a year before Apple unveiled iPod.

2001 – Atomic Kitten, Whole Again

Masushita P2101V and BlackBerry 957

First phone with push email and first 3G phone: Working on your phone was transformed by the BlackBerry 957 Internet Edition thanks to its new push email service that told you as soon as you got a new message. The launch of the first 3G phone, the Matsushita P2101V, made a big difference too. It could get full websites, not just very limited mobile pages.

2004 – Eamon, F**K It

Neonode N1

First phone with fingerprint scanner: Fingerprint security has got a lot of attention recently, but it’s nothing new. The Neonode N1 had the first mobile fingerprint scanner when it launched in 2004.

2007 – Rihanna, Umbrella

LG Prada and iPhone

First phone with a capacitive touchscreen and first iPhone: Sorry for getting a bit techy here, but this was an important phone. The LG Prada had the first capacitive touchscreen. Previous touchscreens were resistive, which meant you had to press them so hard you nearly broke your finger. 2007 was also, of course, the year iPhone launched.

2008 – Basshunter, Now You’re Gone

HTC Dream

First Android phone: Apple might have transformed the smartphone world first, but Google had been working on Android for seven years before it thought it was ready and launched the HTC Dream.

2010 – Alicia Keys, Empire State Of Mind (Pt. II) Broken Down

Samsung Galaxy Beam

First phone with a projector: A glorious idea – show off your home movies and photos using a projector built into your Samsung Galaxy Beam. Why didn’t they keep working to perfect it?

2012 – Gotye, Somebody That I Used To Know

Nokia 808 PureView

Sharpest phone camera ever: With its 41MP camera, the Nokia 808 PureView could take bigger photos than most professional cameras – and it was a pocket-sized smartphone.

Can you think of any other world-beating mobiles? Tell us about them in the comments below.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

comments powered by Disqus
We take a look at how you can up your smartphone etiquette. Our top ten simple rules will quickly ha

21 February, 2018
The BBC has launched a spectacular new augmented reality app, Civilisations AR, to...
21 February, 2018
Is your phone always running out of battery? A few of our tips below should help...
20 February, 2018
Airplay 2 is Apple’s multi-room control for your home audio set-up. It lets you use...
19 February, 2018
MWC 2018 is the world's biggest mobile tech show, and it starts in Barcelona 26 February....
16 February, 2018
We've got a handful of handy Snapchat tricks you didn't know about, to help you become...

21 February, 2018
The BBC has launched a spectacular new augmented reality app, Civilisations AR, to...
9 February, 2018
We've got some great news for fans of role-playing games. Final Fantasy XV Pocket...
6 February, 2018
Android Oreo is Google's latest operating system, and it's rolling out to all the...
26 January, 2018
Samsung has posted a Tweet teasing details of its Barcelona Unpacked event, where...
19 January, 2018
Amazon Echo Spot is available to buy from our sister company, Currys PC World from...
12 January, 2018
Sony has announced a brand new mid-range smartphone called the Xperia XA2 at Las...
9 January, 2018
2018 may be young, but there's no time like the present to get going with your New...
17 November, 2017
Is Apple Pay Cash different to Apple Pay? We take a look at the new peer-to-peer...
12 November, 2017
Monqi is a unique version of Android, designed for children. Through an accompanying...
3 November, 2017
You should take your smartphone out on Bonfire Night. It'll help you stay safe and...
10 October, 2017
Amazon has well and truly established itself in the smart home, internet of things...
4 October, 2017
Google has just revealed its 2017 smartphones, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Both smartphones...