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"I know kung-fu." So said Keanu Reeves' Matrix character Neo. As well as showcasing his acting and martial arts skills in the sci-fi blockbuster, Reeves introduced the world to the Nokia 8110 'banana phone', which allowed him to jump between worlds as well as providing voice calls and text messaging.
The Matrix-inspired device with talk-of-the-town side-release button hit the market in 1998 and inaugurated the age of the hidden-button slider phone. It also inspired the 7110, Nokia's first WAP phone. While WAP back then turned out to be the mobile equivalent of coal in your Christmas stocking, the 7110 did cement the craze for the annoyingly addictive Snakes game.
Photo credit: Nokia
When the 7600 hit the market, the device got as many cheers as it did jeers. The 7600 was Nokia's attempt to step into 3G with something a little bit different. Different it certainly was and with the number keys split to the left and right of the screen, heavy texters were often left tearing their hair out by the device. However, 3G devices had previously been ugly and clunky - charges that couldn't be levelled at the 7600.
The 7600 was also a significant indication that Nokia had begun to wake up to the fact that phones were becoming more than just candybars for talking and texting. This device also packed in an MP3 player, a camera with video capture and PIM features.
Photo credit: Nokia
Like the 7600, the Xelibri was its maker's attempt to take the phone into new realms of fashion. Siemens envisaged the Xelibri as the height of consumer must-have, with a spring and autumn 'collection' schedule encouraging consumers to update their phones as often as possible.
While the Xelibri brand only lasted some 18 months, its legacy is still oddly present. As well as ushering in the era of phones as design icons, the Xelibri also marked the start of a return to back-to-basics devices, where talking and texting were uppermost. It's a trend that's still hot in advanced markets such as Japan, where stripped-down phones like the RakuRaku concentrate on the simplest of features.
Photo credit: Siemens