7 April 2005

134 grams



Released in 2005, the Nokia 8800 sat at the top of Nokia's premium range of phones, with a launch price of about $900. The device lacked 3G, its relatively low-resolution camera had no flash, and its Series 40 operating system did not allow users to load apps. But it sported a scratch-resistant screen, an attractive stainless steel casing, and — at a time when sliding keyboards were all the rage — a finely constructed opening mechanism with ball bearings crafted by the same firms that made components for high-performance cars. Its ringtones were composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto, and it came with a suede carrying pouch. The device was a triumph of form over function. The precision-engineered casing slid open to reveal a cramped keypad with poor ergonomics; the phone's diminutive size resulted in a very small battery which rarely lasted a day; and the stainless steel case was a fingerprint magnet. Nevertheless, the Nokia 8800 was an important step in the evolution of the mobile phone. It cemented the concept of the premium mass-market phone, a device whose price is not simply the sum of its component costs. Despite the 8800's limitations, Nokia persevered with the design, producing Sirocco and Arte editions in subsequent years, including a gold-plated version costing over $2,000. The lead designer for the Nokia 8800 was Pekka Majanen supported by a team comprising Grace Boicel, Tanja Fisher and Todd Wood.

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