Nokia's First Touchscreen Phones?
29th September 2008
- Play /
This week sees the anticipated launch
of the Nokia 5800, widely dubbed "Nokia's first
touchscreen phone". In fact, Nokia have tried
to make this breakthrough now for several years.. and
perhaps if they had stuck with some of their earlier
plans, then they might not be so late to market.
Announced almost five years ago, the
had a 3.5" 640 x 320 pixel touch-sensitive display
that required a stylus to operate, and it ran the Symbian
S90 operating system.
It was a very large device at 134 x
80 x 22mm and 183 grams, and only a tiny handful ever
made it into production as technology samples. Despite
the odd design, the 7700 still looks fresh today.. but
perhaps it was all a bit too much for 2003.
It wasn't just the size - the Nokia
7700 suffered from a lack of memory, and a number of
other limitations that meant it could never really be
the multimedia monster it was supposed to be.
The 7700 was repackaged in a more compact
case and had a number of improvements to become the
in 2004. Retaining the Symbian S90 operating system
and large screen, the 7710 actually made it to retailers..
where it was profoundly unsuccessful.
In modern terms, the 7710 is lacking
when it comes to specifications. It doesn't have 3G
or WiFi, and the user interface looks dated compared
to the iPhone.
In the end, Nokia abandoned the entire
Symbian S90 platform, which perhaps in retrospect was
Perhaps a device that Nokia would sooner
forget, the Nokia 6708 was a Symbian touchscreen
phone aimed at the Chinese market, launched in 2005.
The 6708 was another dead-end though,
mostly because it wasn't a Nokia at all.. it was basically
a slightly tweaked version of the BenQ P31 which
had been announced a year earlier.
Worse still, although it was a Symbian
device, the 6708 ran the UIQ interface (used by everyone
except Nokia) which just showed how far behind
Nokia were when it came to stylus-based handsets.
Nokia never renewed its partnership
with BenQ, and as far as we can tell, the Nokia 6708
is the only UIQ-based Nokia, and recent changes
in the way the Symbian OS is offered means that there
will never be another one.
Nokia took a surprising change of direction
in 2005 with the Nokia
770 Internet Tablet. It wasn't actually a phone
at all, but it did feature WiFi and could be paired
easily with just about any Bluetooth mobile phone on
Unlike other Nokia efforts, the 770
featured a version of the Linux operating system which
attracted a number of developers.
Although never a huge success, the 770
did spawn several successor devices including the N800
with more on the way.. and it is quite possible that
Nokia will use this platform for a future smartphone.
So when all the other press outlets enthuse
about the Nokia's first touchscreen phone, perhaps it
is worth remembering that Nokia have tried this several