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A look back at cell phones -- before the iPhone

In a world where text messaging is basically its own language and there's an app to help with everything from tying your shoes to getting over your ex, it's hard to imagine life before the cell phone. If you think back really hard (or, fine, just Google it) you might recall there was a time when instant communication wasn't the norm... and ancient artifacts can still be found in some parts of the city as cold-hard proof. (Yes, we're talking pay phones.)

So, as you daydream about the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch, let's reminisce about the old clunkers that got us where we are today.

Motorola DynaTAC 8000X

The world's first commercial handheld cell phone became
Photo Credit: Flickr/Julien Prive

The world's first commercial handheld cell phone became available to the public in March 1984. Weighing in at 1.75 pounds, it earned the nickname "The Brick," and was sold for $4,000. Its battery life was about 30 minutes.

Motorola MicroTAC 9800X

Motorola's 1989 update, weighing a little less than
Photo Credit: Flickr/dflaherty

Motorola's 1989 update, weighing a little less than a pound, was lauded as the first phone that fit in your jacket pocket. (Um, what kind of jackets were they wearing?)

Motorola Lingo

The Motorola Lingo was the company's first commercial
Photo Credit: Motorola

The Motorola Lingo was the company's first commercial digital radio system, "offering potential systems operators and their customers the ultimate in user-friendly design, while providing clearer conversations and fewer dropped calls," according to a press release when it was unveiled in 1994.

Motorola StarTAC

The first flip phone, Motorola's StarTAC was a
Photo Credit: Motorola

The first flip phone, Motorola's StarTAC was a hit with 1996 consumers, even for $1,000. Weighing just 3.1 ounces, it was also one of the first cell phones to let users switch between vibrate alerts and ringtones.

The Synergy by Philips

An early attempt at the smart phone, The
Photo Credit: RABIH MOGHRABI/ Getty Images

An early attempt at the smart phone, The Synergy gave wireless access to e-mail, Internet and faxes all the way back in 1997.

Nokia 3210

The Nokia 3310, released in 1999, was one
Photo Credit: Flickr/the_b85

The Nokia 3310, released in 1999, was one of the most popular cell phones of all time. It attracted a younger crowd for the first time with built-in games (including Snake), changeable covers and the beginning of picture messaging.

T-Mobile Sidekick

The first Sidekick was released in 2002, but
Photo Credit: Michael Buckner/ Getty Images

The first Sidekick was released in 2002, but versions continued to be produced through 2010. Spotted in the hands of almost every hot early-2000s celebrity, it was truly the phone of the moment.

Nokia 3300b

The Nokia 3300b, released in 2003, played music
Photo Credit: Flickr/ Cesar Cardoso

The Nokia 3300b, released in 2003, played music and worked as a digital voice recorder. Its funky design included a QWERTY keyboard and interchangeable covers.

BlackBerry 7730

The original BlackBerry was released in 1999 as
Photo Credit: Flickr/Kane New

The original BlackBerry was released in 1999 as a two-way pager, but the first recognizable smartphone BlackBerry device came out in 2003. The phone gained popularity for its focus on email, but it also sent text messages and supported more functional web browsing.

Samsung SGH-D500

The slider phone, released in 2004, had a
Photo Credit: Flickr/iconoclast020

The slider phone, released in 2004, had a 1.3 megapixel digital camera with flash and video capability. It was named the world's best cell phone in 2005.

Motorola Razr V3

The Motorola Razr V3, released in 2004, became
Photo Credit: Motorola

The Motorola Razr V3, released in 2004, became a best-seller for its fashionable look, sleek portability, luminescent keypad and mini USB port. It was later released in black and hot pink.

First Generation iPhone

When Steve Jobs introduced the very first iPhone
Photo Credit: Apple Inc.

When Steve Jobs introduced the very first iPhone in 2007, he said, "Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone." And he was correct. It took Jobs and his team about two and a half years to develop the touchscreen phone, modeled after a tablet computer.

Samsung Galaxy S4

The Galaxy S4, an answer to the iPhone
Photo Credit: Samsung

The Galaxy S4, an answer to the iPhone released in 2013, features a full Android operating system, a high-definition touch screen, and a 13-megapixel camera.

iPhone 6

Apple unveiled bigger, thinner and more powerful phones
Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple unveiled bigger, thinner and more powerful phones in September 2014. The iPhone 6 (4.7 inches) and iPhone 6 Plus (5.5 inches), which both come with Apple Pay, have processors that are 25% faster than older models. Plus: battery life is better. Remember when we were excited about the iPhone 4S? And remember when we still needed wallets? Ah, memories.

Apple Watch

While not a phone on its own, the
Photo Credit: Apple

While not a phone on its own, the Apple Watch works in conjunction with the iPhone (5 model and newer) to deliver more smartphone capability to its user. The watch will show email, texts and phone calls as well as news and health readings. Eventually, apps will work with it too. It's not cheap: the base model is $349 and the release date is expected to be announced on March 9.

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