Retrospective: Nokia 7650

Retrospective: Nokia 7650
We glance back at one of the industry’s most iconic smartphones, the Nokia 7650.

Cover - Nokia 7650 dialler

There’s something truly special about this phone. Released in 2002 as part of Nokia's experimental 7xxx series, it was a status symbol, a phone of dreams for all fans of the latest mobile technology. It was a sign of paradigm shift for phones. Being the first Nokia phone running Symbian OS, the 7650 not only incorporated multi-tasking capabilities, but it also was the first phone from the Finish manufacturer to feature a built-in camera.

Nokia 7650 closed

And it was quite a looker, too. With stylish and sleek curves dominating it’s body, weird gizmos hovering around the earpiece and the oddly shaped, yet fully usable keypad, Nokia 7650 was a messenger of the future. Even the SIM card slot is located in the top section of the device, and not behind battery where you’d typically expect it to be. No wonder this phone was showcased alongside a notable science fiction movie, Minority Report.

Nokia 7650 earpiece

Much has changed in the mobile industry since the arrival of the Nokia 7650, Nokia's first venture into Symbian smartphones. But, despite looking arguably dated now, the legacy of Nokia 7650 could be felt across many generations of smartphones. For example, the iconic Symbian menu key, along with the two soft keys right below the screen, has remained mostly unchanged for over a decade.

Nokia 7650 keypad

And, what’s more, everything in Nokia 7650 still works a treat. There’s a ARM 104 MHz processor tirelessly pounding inside. Browsing through the no-nonsense S60 menus using the rubber joystick feels surprisingly accurate and responsive, and, if you dig deep enough, you can find some fully working versions of apps, such as Best FileMan or Resco Photo Viewer, that still support S60 v1. The app memory is abysmal – less than 4 mb – but you have to keep in mind that back then apps weren’t that heavy on the size.

Nokia 7650 camera

Aside from the obvious lack of apps and 3G, the biggest downturn for any active smartphone user would be the absence of a memory expansion slot – something that Nokia quickly addressed with subsequent Symbian based phones. Understandably, Nokia 7650 doesn't have built-in wi-fi, but you can still rely on the good ol' Bluetooth connection to wirelessly send files. And, if that's even an option these days, the 7650 can also communicate via an infrared connection.

Nokia 7650 slide out

There’s no doubt, Nokia 7650 was the sort of experiment that turned into a resonating success story throughout the mobile industry. It also proved over and over again, that there’s no wining without daring. And there’s no daring, without really trying. Food for thought…

Nokia 7650

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