The Nokia 9110 Communicator (type: RAE-2N) was introduced at the German technology trade fair, CeBIT '98. It was Nokia’s second-generation Communicator, coming two years after the original Nokia 9000 Communicator
. Importantly the 9110 Communicator was a significantly smaller device and added a backlit display, an omission which was a major shortcoming on the original 9000 Communicator.
The company described the “pocket-sized” device as combining “an ultimate mobile office with a superb phone”. It included “data communication capabilities, including the Internet, e-mail, telefax and short message service (SMS) and personal organizer functions”.
There was a clear focus on business users with Anssi Vanjoki, Senior Vice President, Nokia Mobile Phones describing it as “a truly outstanding, complete communications tool with a wide range of applications optimized for use in corporate and vertical markets, such as field sales, transportation, security and fleet management increasing productivity and reducing costs by giving easy yet efficient access to required information while on the move, in the office or at home”.
As with the 9000 Communicator, it was considered revolutionary through its ability to send and receive fax messages. This was highlighted in the press release announcing the product where Nokia described a use case where a user could “check e-mail, download a file, edit it, save it and then send it by fax”.
The device could also be connected to a Windows PC (running Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0) via the “PC Suite for Nokia 9110 Communicator” software. This allowed users to “transfer information and software between the communicator and a computer”.
Nokia explained the value of data connectivity on the move describing how wireless services had “evolved beyond voice” and was playing an increasingly important role “not only in business use but also personal lifestyle uses with the emergence of electronic banking and commerce, electronic postcards and infotainment”.
The 9110 Communicator was also a landmark product for mobile photography. Nokia claimed it was the first phone to be able to support “wireless image sending and receiving” using an application called “Digital Camera Connectivity”. Users were able to receive pictures via an infrared connection from a digital camera which supported the Ir-TranP protocol. Photographs could then be sent “over the air for further processing” and could also be attached to an email or sent via fax. Nokia showcased this capability with the Concord Eye camera (see picture below).
Nokia claimed another industry first with the 9110, with the support of an MMC (MultiMediaCard) memory card to “extend the user data memory in the Nokia 9110 Communicator”. At the time this technology, developed by SanDisk and Siemens, offered the “world's smallest removable data storage card” with storage of up to 4 MB. This allowed the 9110 Communicator “to store audio, travel guides, dictionaries, still images, software, large directories and documents”.
In addition to the advanced data capabilities within the device, the outside case functioned as a mobile phone with a user interface based on the popular Nokia 6100 series mobile phones.
The Nokia 9110 Communicator had a 486-based AMD embedded processor and used the GEOS 3.0 operating system platform. It supported data speeds of 14.4 kbit/s and 12 language versions were available. The device could be upgraded to become a Nokia 9110i Communicator
via a software update.
Notably, the 9110 Communicator was the 100 millionth phone manufactured by Nokia according to Nokia’s Annual Report in 1998.