Remember the chunky brick phones your parents owned in the ’90s? Just when you thought the mobile industry has reached peak weirdness that time, a newly launched virtual mobile phone museum will prove you otherwise.
This virtual exhibit is called—surprise, surprise—The Mobile Phone Museum, and it features over 2,000 handsets from more than 200 different brands.
Much of the models are presented complete with high-resolution photos and backstories, starting with 1984’s Mobira Talkman E50 transportable phone to TCL’s Chicago foldable clamshell, which the company admitted canceling in September 2021.
The models are also systematically arranged into nine collections: firsts, best selling, James Bond phones, ugliest, phone in movies, Vodafone, luxury, fashion, and Japan.
Some of the most outlandish ones include Sony’s NTT DoCoMo Personal Paldio 101Y released on July 1, 1995, and Toshiba’s G450 mini mobile phone with two separate number keypads.
There’s also 2003’s Samsung SPH-N270, otherwise known as “The Matrix Reloaded phone,” and the Nokia 7700 with a “striking taco design.”
Another one that belongs to the museum’s “ugliest” category is the I-KIDS SF 100, as well as Samsung and Vodafone’s P110V with a multi-directional hinge.
The Mobile Phone Museum started as a personal collection of industry veteran Ben Wood in 2004. Five years later, he teamed up with fellow mobile phone collector Matt Chatterley to create a not-for-profit entity, which, as its website states, is “designed to safeguard this important collection of mobile technology heritage and help fund further growth.”
It was launched on Tuesday, November 23, alongside a one-day in-person exhibit in London that was visited by students from a local primary school. The museum has tapped Berkshire-based smartphone maker Vodafone as a five-year sponsor.
“This all started as a passion project over 25 years ago, so it’s immensely exciting to work with Vodafone to launch the museum… No other invention in recent memory has shaped how we live more fundamentally than the mobile phone. From mobile payments to citizen journalism, always-on social media and the ability to work anywhere, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of the mobile phone,” Wood said at the launch event.
“It’s a privilege to be able to recognize and celebrate the devices and people who have made such a significant contribution to the world, as we preserve that history and make it available to all by launching the Mobile Phone Museum today.”
If you want to learn about the smartphones of the past, or simply want to take a trip down memory lane, visit the virtual Mobile Phone Museum here.