The Digital Revolution – The Arrival Of 2G Phones

The world is in its 3G stage and moving towards 4G but there was a time when 2G, or second generation, handsets were all the rage. Back in the day, in the early days of 2000, this little black duck was carrying one of the coolest handsets on the planet - the Nokia 7110. It looked a lot like the phone Neo uses in The Matrix. Press a button and cover snapped down to reveal the keypad.

What made this handset special was that it pioneered the movement from mobile phones being telephones into becoming communications and data access devices.

The 2G age was a revolution. Carriers began, albeit slowly, to realise that the network they’d begun to build was far more important than a mere telephone system. If Bell, Meucci and all the other pioneers of the 19th and 20th centuries could see the future they’d scarcely believe that the communications system they’d envisaged would carry voices as an afterthought.

2G was the beginning of mobile comms going digital with two things coming along for the ride. One was WAP. Let’s face it, on a mono LCD mobile phone screen that was about 2” from corner to corner, the web was never going to work. So someone decided that the best way to make that work was to strip all the cool stuff and create a new way to show web stuff.

Then reality stepped in and the mobile phone carriers, hoping that WAP would turn into a cash cow, discovered what we all know - no one likes something that’s crap! However, it did tell us that there was a desire to get the web onto our mobile handsets - something that was first realised in a useful way by Microsoft and Palm with their handhelds and early smartphones.

Carriers also learned another thing - many people were prepared to battle with infrared, proprietary cables and the very immature and fiddly Bluetooth to use the day connection from their phone to get a laptop onto the Internet. The 2G revolution was like the first touch of hands, before true love blossoms. It was the time when we began our love affair with being connected everywhere.

MobileModo is Gizmodo Australia’s look at the rise and rise of the mobile phone, from Bell’s landline to the ubiquitous mobiles of today.