Return of the flip phone

A look back through the history of clamshell. The good, the bad, the Razr…
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Return of the flip phone

Remember the joys of the clamshell phone? Ultimate screen protection? Answering and ending calls in the most ‘business’ way imaginable? Well you don’t have to reminisce for too long, as Samsung is gearing up to release its latest Android-powered clamshell device, the Veyron W2017.

You’ll surely be yen-ing for this luxury flip phone going on sale in China this month – for a reported $1,500 (£1,200) – we thought it was high time we took a brief look back at the history of clamshell phones.

The Motorola StarTac (1996)

Where it all began – the Motorola StarTac started a mobile revolution. This was one of the first refined flip phones of its kind.

With a sizable battery, network indication LED, and vibration feature, the device went onto sell over 60 million units during its lifespan.

Sanyo SCP-5300 (2002)

The Sanyo SC9-5300 was the first camera phone to be released in the US – and low and behold, it was a clamshell.

Though the image quality was less to be desired – a 0.3MP sensor – the idea was there, putting flip phones in the forefront of everyone’s interest.

The Motorola Razr V3 (2004)

With its thin aluminium body and keyboard made from a single sheet of metal, the Motorola Razr is probably the most memorable of all the flip phones.

Hailed one of the best selling handsets of all time ever, these phones sold over 130 million units. Its success was mainly down to its stylish and thin design – before it, clamshell phones were quite chunky and round.

The Motorola Pebl U6 (2005)

Nowadays everyone wants big phones - but back in the mid-noughties everyone wanted small and compact devices. That’s where the Motorola Pebl came into play.

With its small design and pebble-smooth exterior, the Pebl U6’s design aimed to give a more natural look and feel.

The Sony Ericsson W508 (2009)

With a long list of premium features, the Sony Ericsson W508 included 100MB of internal memory, music controls on the front, and a 3MP camera.

Launching at around the same time smartphones were beginning to take hold, this clamshell epitomised a high-end flip phone phone at a reasonable price-point.

Blackberry 9760 Oxford/Style (2010)

Complete with two screens and 240 x 320 external panel, this model from Blackberry offered a more attractive alternative to the standard Blackberry design.

One of the latest flip phones to hit the shelves, the Blackberry 9760 offered sophistication as well as a full QWERTY keyboard.

Which clamshell did you have back in the day? Let us know in the comments below.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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