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GLOBAL – Nokia’s transformation into a mobile phone company also changed the world.

In 1996 Nokia had a turnover of €6.5 billion after conquering the Americas and Asia with its handsets.

And that figure was heading towards €30 billion as the millennium approached. In 1999 people who really “got” the internet were blown away when Nokia launched the first Web phone.

For me, that was the year Nokia World became everybody’s world and the Nokia 7110 is the phone that launched the race to fully harness the internet on a handset.

Dubbed the Matrix phone, after the appearance of a very similar device in the hit movie starring Keanu Reeves, everyone wanted one.

It was the forerunner of every phone until the rise of today’s touchscreen devices.
It had predictive text, messaging, email and web-search on its 96 x 65 pixels screen. And that roller thingy for navigating.

You could even download ringtones to it, but few owners bothered changing the Nokia Tune.

OK, the graphics were pretty basic and the web access was pretty slow.
But it all worked and it was state of the art.

The promotional video, above, might not have much impact now, but in 1999 it made everyone’s jaw drop faster than you could open the keypad’s sliding cover.

When the first person to own one started using it in the office I was working in at the time, everyone else was as dark green as the 7110 with envy.

But the 7110 was perhaps most important because it sparked everyone’s imagination about what mobile phones could become.

They were no longer simply a way of calling someone when you were away from your landline.

PDA makers realized that they had better start planning to integrate their products with phones.

Screen makers saw the potential for mobile displays and the audio world woke up to the idea that if you could download a ringtone, there was nothing to stop you getting hold of the No1 album in the same way.

If there was one device that redefined mobile phones, it was the Nokia 7110.