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18 things everyone knew before smartphones

Bring back the Nokia 3310, the Motorola Razr, polyphonic ringtones and non-predictive text.

WE THOUGHT OUR mobiles were the business back in they days before smartphones.

And we were right.

1. How to compose your own ringtones

If you wanted that Bomfunk MC’s Freestyler song as your ringtone, then you had to type it in yourself, note by note.

Source: Joy Reactor

And it sure as hell beat this old gem.

Source: danielgill6/YouTube

2. How annoying TV ads for ringtones were

Hands up if you still occasionally get “GUUUURL, YOU BETTA CHECK YO’ TEXTS” stuck in your head when someone near you gets a text.

Source: CrazyFrogVEVO/YouTube

3. How novel polyphonic ringtones were

Look at us now, with our touch screens and our incredibly fast internet at any time we want it. Once we were happy with polyphonic ringtones.

Source: PissMasterPlus/YouTube

4. The importance of the right phone cover

And the satisfaction of clicking it into place.

Source: ebay

Source: shellingz

5. The beauty of picture messages

A beautiful vision in black and white.

Source: illustir

6. Which friend sent the chain smutty jokes

They really finished up around the time of smartphones, right? No more smutty jokes. (PS – don’t revive them, we’re not saying it’s a bad thing they died out.)

Source: mangee

7. How bad-ass flip opening made you feel


Source: ceriseyyy

8. Ditto aerials

Sure, phones with aerials were like America at home.

Source: ebay

9. There was one Nokia that was rumoured to bounce

The Nokia 3220, to be precise. Rumours abounded that the “builders’ phone” (as it was dubbed) was nigh-on indestructible and even bounced if you dropped it due to its rubbery, light-up sides.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

10. The joy of phone charms

So jazzy, so festive. The precursor to the ubiquitous sparkly iPhone case.

K-ON Mugi Cell Phone Charm Source: camknows

Or perhaps you had a nice leathery black case? On a belt holster?

11. How good the games were

Angry Birds? Pffft. Give me Snake or give me nothing.

snakeo Most impressive Snake game EVER Source: Joy Reactor

Source: Brett Jordan

12. How to type out complex emoticons

Ah, the joys of non-predictive text. Now eclipsed by the emoji, but forever in our hearts.

emoticon Remember this? Source: DailyEdge.ie

13. The cachet of “fancy” models

The ultra-thin Razr from Motorola, or the first of the gang to get a chunky but useful Blackberry. Remember what we used to think was so high tech?

Source: Storm Crypt

Source: craig1black

14. How to change your welcome message

After the hands came together across the globe, a little message would flash up. The ideal opportunity for smutty phrases (as above), your own name, or perhaps an inspirational quote.

Source: Imgur

15. That WAP never, ever worked

Trying to boot up anything on a WAP connection was a waste of time, but we persevered anyway. Even if you were fruitful in your endeavour, websites were laid out like shopping lists and everything felt banjaxed. Still, though. INTERNET PHONE!

Source: tnarik

16. How truly exciting the first camera phones were

Honestly, the thrill of a flip phone could only have been eclipsed by the thrill of a flip phone that also boasted a camera. Pictures taken on them now look so hopelessly low res that they’re almost hard to look at.

Source: jaygrandin

17. The knack to slidey bits and pieces

Don’t question why the keyboard had to slide out. It just did and it was BRILLIANT.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

Slidey, slidey.

Source: Imgur

18. That everyone would have a charger handy

“Anyone have the skinny Nokia charger?” was a common question at house parties. And someone always, always did. Luckily, charging wasn’t that much of an issue because, pre-smartphones, you only had the charge the things once in a blue moon.

Source: thirstforwine

What do you remember from the era before the ubiquitous smartphone? Share your thoughts on your 3310 via WAP in the comments.

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About the author:

Fiona Hyde

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