The Nokia 7110 is primarily known as being the first WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) phone. It was unveiled at GSM World Congress in Cannes, France in February 1999.
WAP was a rudimentary way of connecting to the internet from a mobile phone to get access to various types of content. At the time, Nokia gave examples that included “news, weather reports, stock prices, e-mail, flight schedules or wireless banking and electronic commerce”. It also announced a partnership with CNN to provide content via a CNN Mobile “wireless news service”.
Another key feature of the Nokia 7110 was the spring-loaded “slide cover”, which could be snapped open by pressing a button on the back of the phone near the antenna. This spring-loaded design feature was popularised by a bespoke version of the Nokia 8110 featured in the first Matrix movie. However, this capability was never actually available on the commercial variant of the 8110, so the 7110 is sometimes confused for being the “Matrix Phone” when it was actually a modified 8110 that featured in the film.
The first protype version of the 7110 had a black casing and the initial production run had the game 'Pong' installed which was subsequently removed due to licensing issues and replaced with a tennis game.
This phone was also the only Nokia device to feature the multifunction NaviRoller – a small clickable roller located below the screen with keys either side to select items from the dynamic on-screen menu. Rather than just allowing users to scroll through the menu, phonebook, they could also click on the roller to make a selection. This had the added benefit of making it easier to navigate web pages accessed via the WAP service. User interface designer, Christian Lindholm talks about this in his book, Mobile Usability
Nokia did not persevere with the NaviRoller, one reason being that it became a magnet for dust and dirt which over time made it unreliable.