Cell phone’s ‘golden period’ preserved in new museum

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Ben Wooden was working at Vodafone’s long-forgotten premium price telephone line division within the mid-Nineteen Nineties when the cell phone market immediately took off.

In little greater than a decade, the handset developed from a bit of expertise the dimensions of a automotive battery to the “sweet bar” fashion fashions that took it into the mainstream.

Wooden has preserved every growth, salvaging outdated handsets from the Vodafone skips. Virtually 30 years later he has amassed a set of three,255 fashions protecting the “golden period” of the cell phone. “It’s a few greater than that with those I’ve at residence and hidden from my spouse,” he admitted.

Motorola DynaTAC8000x, which was the symbol of the Gordon Gekko “greed is good” era
The Motorola DynaTAC8000x, which was the image of the Gordon Gekko ‘greed is nice’ period © Theodore Liasi/Alamy

He has now joined forces with different collectors to launch the world’s first important cell phone museum, funded by means of a five-year sponsorship settlement with Vodafone that was struck this week.

The museum will launch as an unlimited on-line archive in November to inform the story of what’s now the world’s most prolific shopper machine, with 1.5bn smartphones offered final yr alone.

The Cell Cellphone Museum, which will probably be structured as a charity, will probably be become a travelling exhibition displayed at science and design museums and colleges over the approaching years.

It should showcase fashionable handsets that predate the iPhone period. Telephones such because the Nokia 3310 “Beetle”, which shipped a staggering 126m units and introduced the sport Snake to the world; the trendy pink Motorola Razr — the best-selling telephone within the historical past of Carphone Warehouse — and full-keyboard BlackBerry fashions, will present a nostalgic hit of a bygone period of private communication, based on Wooden.

Amongst telephones on show are the Nokia 3310, left, which shipped 126m units, Motorola’s trendy Razr, and the Xelibri-4

The museum additionally options handsets that had important cultural impression together with Wall Road’s Motorola DynaTAC8000x, which was the image of the Gordon Gekko “greed is nice” period and the Nokia 8110 “banana” telephone that gained cult foreign money on account of its use within the movie The Matrix. There’s additionally a set of forgotten ugliest telephones — together with the Nokia 3650 that had a rotary phone-style round keyboard that made texting not possible — and evolutionary dead-ends such because the Siemens Xelibri style vary, a few of which have been based mostly on alien-inspired designs.

Wooden, 48, spent lockdown scouring eBay to seek out uncommon fashions after being “stuffed with horror” on the concept of individuals clearing out their attics and dumping outdated handsets within the bin.

Keanu Reeves in The Matrix
Keanu Reeves in The Matrix, which gave the Nokia 8110 ‘banana’ telephone cult standing © Alamy

Now a telecoms analyst with analysis firm CCS Perception, he stated the glory days of the progressive cell business have been up to now as a “sea of sameness” — touchscreen rectangles — has characterised the business. “As quickly as Steve Jobs pulled an iPhone out of his pocket on stage on the ninth of January, 2007 it was throughout,” he stated.

Nonetheless, he argued that the museum’s artefacts confirmed there was “zero room for complacency” for firms similar to Apple and Samsung in a market the place improvements like foldable screens are beginning to emerge.

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