Forget Apple, Nokia Is The Most Innovative Phonemaker In History

Nokia Lumia 920 home screen

Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider

Nokia’s announcement of the stunning Lumia 920 and 820 reminded us of something that’s been easy to forget in the iPhone era: The Finnish company has been making amazing cell phones for a long time.Nokia released its first portable, digital phone in 1992. Its management decided later that year the company—which once made everything from paper to galoshes—would bet its future on mobile phones.

How far will that future stretch? Nokia’s big bet on Microsoft’s Windows Phone has yet to play out. But here’s a look back at the history of innovation that shaped the Lumia line.

Nokia 1011

The Nokia 1011 was the first GSM phone the company ever made and helped mark its transition into manufacturing mobile phones. But it didn't offer much else other than the ability to make phone calls.


  • Phone calls

Released: 1992

Nokia 2100

The Nokia 2100 series was the first to have software, an address book and ringer profiles. It was also the first to feature Nokia's iconic ringtone based on the classical guitar piece 'Gran Vals.' Nokia went on to sell 20 million 2100 series phones worldwide. Its original target: only 400,000.

Released: 1994

Nokia 9000 Communicator

The Nokia 9000 Communicator was the company's first true smartphone that let users send and receive faxes, emails and text messages, offered Internet access, and featured a full QWERTY keyboard.


  • 8 MB of RAM
  • Intel 386 processor
  • Monochrome display
  • 3-hr battery

Release date: 1996

Nokia 7650

The Nokia 7650 was full of firsts. No other Nokia phone before it featured a built-in camera. It ran Nokia's Series 60 platform on the Symbian OS--for its time, an advanced mobile operating system.


  • 104 MHz processor
  • 4 MB of RAM

Released: 2001

Nokia 6650

The Nokia 6650 was Nokia's first 3G phone, marking a significant milestone in mobile wireless technology.

  • 2-hr. battery
  • VGA camera
  • WAP
  • colour TFT display
  • Bluetooth

Released: 2002

Nokia 3650

Nokia's first phone with a built-in VGA camera and video recorder.


  • Voice-activated dialling
  • 4-hr. battery
  • Series 60 software
  • MMS
  • IR port
  • Bluetooth
  • colour display
  • Camera/video recorder

Release year: 2002

Nokia N8

The Nokia N8 was Nokia's last flagship phone before its dramatic announcement of partnership with Microsoft. It was the company's first phone to offer multitouch capabilities and received the highest number of preorders in Nokia history at the time.


  • 3.5-inch screen
  • 256 MB of RAM
  • 6.8 MHz ARM processor
  • 12 MP camera
  • 12-hr battery

Released: 2010

Lumia 800

This was the first Windows Phone Nokia released after its partnership with Microsoft. Besides its stunning choice of colours and sleek exterior design, the Nokia Lumia features:

  • 3.7-inch screen
  • 512 MB of RAM
  • 1.4 GHz processor
  • 8 MP camera
  • 13-hr battery
  • Scratch-resistant glass

Released: 2011

Lumia 710

Nokia's second Windows Phone launched at much more affordable price than the Lumia 800, but with similar specs.


  • 3.7-inch screen
  • 512 MB of RAM
  • 1.4 GHz processor
  • 5 MP camera
  • 6-hr battery for talk time

Released: 2011

808 PureView

The 808 PureView, Nokia's first smartphone with PureView technology, featured the largest and highest resolution sensor in a camera phone at that time.


  • 4-inch screen
  • 512 MB of RAM
  • 1.3 GHz processor
  • 41 MP camera
  • 11-hr battery
  • Scratch-resistant glass

Released: 2012

Lumia 920

The Nokia Lumia 920 is the company's flagship Windows Phone 8 device, due out this fall.


  • 4.5-inch screen
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor
  • 8 MP rear camera
  • 10-hr. battery
  • Built-in wireless charging

Had your fill of phones? Now check out the best apps...

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