Back to the 90’s – Vintage Cell Phone Designs

Cell phones are one of the best inventions of all times and they have really changed the way we communicate pushing this process beyond the limits. Tracing instant evolution of this hi-tech product we can state that it evolves extremely fast changing its technical performance along with the design. And sometimes it is hard to say what is more important for the clients – design or performance attributes.

Modern cell phone is not that square piece of plastic with antenna and small screen, odd keyboard and acid-green micro-light. Still that sweet nostalgia makes us remember our first cell and how much we’ve loved that now-obsolete design. 1990’s were the epoch when phones have received bigger screens, abandoned aerials and antennas, became smaller and smarter. Also we can state the fact that in 90’s marketers understood that original design can boost your market share even without any extra technical advantages.

Today we can easily say that the 90’s cell phones are vintage because they represent a stratum of design history that have established modern vision of mobile devices. We gathered a collection of interesting designs that were popular back then and we are sure that some of these are familiar to you. It is really interesting to observe how cell phones evolved fusing technical improvement with design innovations. One more great thing about cells is that these gadgets have mixed and developed some dissimilar spheres like GSM networks, design singularities and software abilities.

We’ve picked models that have interesting design or were important milestones (on our opinion) but of course it doesn’t mean that our list can’t be updated with your suggestions – we are glad to hear what your favourite ones were in the comments section.

1992 – Motorola International 3200

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1992 – Nokia 1011

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1994 – Ericsson GH 218

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1995 – Sony CMD Z1

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1996 – Motorola StarTAC 75

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1997 – Nokia 8810

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1997 – Philips Spark

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1998 – Samsung SGH-500

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1998 – Nokia 9000

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1998 – Nokia 9110i

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1999 – Siemens S 25

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1999 – Benefon ESC

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1999 – Panasonic GD-70

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1999 – Mitsubishi Trium XS

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Written by

Allison Reed

Allison is a professional SEO specialist and an inspired author. Marketing manager by day and a writer by night, she is creating many articles on business, marketing, design, and web development. Follow her on LinkedIn and Facebook.


  • Hermitbiker
    June 21, 2010

    …. a great collection of vintage cell phones…. a friend when I lived in Co. had that top one…. the picture really doesn’t show how huge it really was…. a charger he had with that cell phone were even bigger !! It’s really amazing what they have done with getting the size and weight down on cell phones…. BUT NOW the damn buttons are too damn small…. lmao !! 🙂

  • Pedro Barroilhet
    May 22, 2011

    Good job, indeed!

    I recall my first cell phone in 1994, a very slim Toshiba that I used to carry in my shirt pocket because it wasn’t bulky at all; moreover, it was somehow shaped to one’s body.

    May be somebody out there knows what I’m writing about and may send me some pictures of it.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Bob
      June 17, 2013

      Yes, I have one that fits your description. I call it the “S” phone because of the way it curves. It fits the hand comfortably. Would you be interested in buying it (for your collection)?

  • Trina
    August 11, 2011

    Thank you for not posting a pic of my current ‘stapler’. (lol) This really brought back memories of my first cell phone…it measured 31 cm with it flipped open and the antenna fully extended…oh, the days of analog…

  • Vintage Mobile Phones
    September 12, 2011

    Great walk down memory lane here! Back when every single phone had to have an antenna, and before they thought removing the antenna causes cancer!

  • Susan Allen
    November 13, 2011

    Would I be able to post a copy of the Motorolla 3200 on my blog? It looks just like my first cell phone. I would like to incorporate it into a video that discusses my use of technology “through the ages” for a university course assignment..

  • Laurel
    November 25, 2011

    Ahh, the StarTAC was my first ever mobile, I miss that baby, it was a workhorse!

  • AUbullshit
    May 28, 2012

    The photo that is titled “Motorola International 3200” is not an International 3200. I’ve got one working on my desk right now, and it has a two line LCD and round buttons below the number pad.

  • Skuijum
    August 13, 2012

    this wabsite is good

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