When we think of phones as commodities, we think of phones like this. When looking up reviews of it online, what many of them started with was "it's a lot like the 6101." That says to me that the reviewers considered this class of phones to be interchangeable and generic, a sure sign that a product has become an interchangeable commodity. It could be that the commodification of the mobile phone, a fantastic futuristic device that barely existed 15 years before this phone was made, had hit its peak by this point, and that's what drove the massive demand for something fundamentally new (which is, of course, the iPhone a year later). Stepping back, however, perhaps what makes it generic is that it's a perfection of a form--the small clamshell--that had run its course for the moment. It most certainly is a futuristic device. It's what science fiction always imagined a communicator would look like: a smooth pebble that pops open to reveal the controls of a sophisticated technological instrument that can do everything from send text messages to take photographs. It's just that every other phone in 2006 was from the same future. The market clearly needed a new future to explore.
A phone a day: Nokia 6103 (2006)
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