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If there’s one technology that defines the modern world, it’s the cameraphone. And that global revolution in digital democracy started right here, with the Nokia 7650. This was the first mainstream handset to feature both a digital camera and MMS picture messaging, enabling folk for the first time to capture experiences and share them immediately with friends, family and the world online. The 7650 was also the first modern Nokia smartphone, running Series 60 (now S60) on the Symbian OS. This gave it the flexibility to load new S60 and Java applications into its generous (for the time) 4MB of user memory, controlled by a tiny rubber joystick – the precursor to today’s control pad. If that wasn’t enough innovation to fit into one handset, the 7650 had one of Nokia’s first colour displays, a 176×208-pixel LCD that still sparkles with life, plus a speedy GPRS data link.

They say

“With this phone, Nokia is selling more than a handset – it’s evangelising a new way of using mobiles.”

Aloysius Choong,

If you only do one thing

Look back at the 7650’s grainy VGA images and try to recapture the excitement of creating instant digital postcards. A built-in photo album stored and previewed captured images, which could be side-loaded to other devices by Bluetooth or even using infrared.


  • Like the QWERTY keyboard that still tortures typists, a seemingly minor decision by IBM in 1987 to settle on a 640×480-pixel resolution for its PS/2 computers had a knock-on effect that persists decades later.


  • The Video Graphics Array (VGA) was the last graphical standard introduced by IBM, and was widely successful as it integrated the entire graphics adaptor of a PC into a single chip that could be placed easily on the motherboard.


  • The original VGA specification had a palette of just 256 colours. It was replaced by XGA (1024×768) and higher resolutions, all of which (until the advent of widescreen displays) had the same aspect ratio of 4:3.