It is astonishing to realise that it is not that long ago that mobile phones and smartphones changed the way we communicate by means of a small portable device – at any time, at any place and across continents. If you want to see how original and how surprisingly multi-faceted the relatively short history of technology and design has been for “mobiles”, you can take a look around the collection of the Mobile Phone Museum, which has just opened in virtual form in the United Kingdom.
“No other recent invention has changed our lives more than the mobile phone,” says Ben Wood, co-founder of the museum, which grew out of his personal collection. Whether you think of live reporting or mobile payments, the importance of the mobile phone, as it is known in this country, can hardly be overestimated. Wood launched the project in 2004 and teamed up with fellow collector Matt Chatterley in 2019. A year later, they worked with a small team to set up a non-profit to preserve mobile phone technology.
There are more than 2,000 models from around 200 manufacturers in the museum’s collection, which has attracted mobile phone company Vodafone as its main sponsor. If you count the duplicates, there are more than 3500 devices in total. Design and technology range from devices the size of a car battery to the latest high-end devices. Those who wish can also view the phones sorted by category: You can choose from “First” and “Best Selling” as well as a selection of the ugliest models, devices from the luxury or fashion category to – we are in the UK – “James Bond Phones”. From the Nokia 3310 (codenamed Beetle) from 2000 to the Samsung P110V (listed under ugly) or the James Bond Mobile Ericsson JB988 to the Vodafone VT1 from 1985, pretty much everything that played a role in development is represented. New devices are added almost daily; every donor is mentioned on the website. In the future, there will also be pop-up exhibitions at various locations.
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