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What was the first colored cell phone?

What was the first colored cell phone?

The first commercially available colored cell phone was the Nokia 6110, released in 1998 by Nokia. Before the release of the Nokia 6110, most cell phones only had monochrome or black and white displays. The introduction of color screens was a major advancement in mobile phone technology at the time. In this article, we’ll take a look at some quick facts about the Nokia 6110 and other key developments leading up to the release of the first color cell phone.

Quick Facts About the Nokia 6110

Release year 1998
Manufacturer Nokia
Display 4,096 color LCD screen
Dimensions 127 x 48 x 22mm
Weight 145g
Network GSM 900/1800/1900
Talk time Up to 3 hours
Stand-by time Up to 200 hours

The Nokia 6110 featured a 96 x 65 pixel 4,096 color LCD screen, representing a major upgrade from the monochrome displays that were standard at the time. It also had modern features like an integrated antenna, predictive text input, and WAP internet capabilities. The phone was relatively compact at 127 x 48 x 22mm and weighed only 145g.

Color Displays in Early Mobile Phones

The first mobile phones with color displays appeared in the mid-1990s, although their screens were limited to just a few colors. Some key developments:

  • The Nokia 2110, released in 1994, had a 4,096 color LCD display but it could only show red, green, blue, and white.
  • In 1997, the Nokia 6110 prototype featured a 64,000 color screen but it was never commercially produced.
  • Also in 1997, the Ericsson GH688 was one of the first phones with a full color screen but had limited market impact.
  • The Nokia 5110 had a 4096 color LCD screen but could still only display red, green, blue and white.

While these phones represented advances in color display technology, they were essentially only capable of basic multi-color displays rather than full color output.

Advantages of Color Displays

The introduction of full color displays in mobile phones like the Nokia 6110 brought several key advantages:

  • Higher quality photos – Color screens allowed for Digital cameras could capture much better quality photos.
  • Better graphics – Games, menus, and software could use colorful graphics and themes.
  • Easier reading – Color text and backgrounds decreased eye strain.
  • More applications – Color enabled more creative software and apps.
  • Improved branding – Companies could use color logos and designs.
  • Increased customization – Personalization with color wallpapers, themes etc.

With a high quality 4,096+ color display, the Nokia 6110 started a revolution in mobile phone capabilities by enabling practical features that took advantage of having a full color screen.

Specifications of the Nokia 6110

Here are some more in-depth technical specifications for the pioneering Nokia 6110 phone:

Network technology GSM (900/1800/1900)
Dimensions 127 x 48 x 22 mm
Weight 145 grams
Display LCD 4,096 colors (96 x 65 pixels)
Pixel density 103 pixels per inch (ppi)
OS Nokia OS v5.2
CPU Hitachi SH-1 @ 10 MHz
Memory 1.5MB internal storage
Battery 900 mAh Li-Ion
Talk time Up to 180 minutes
Standby time Up to 200 hours

For a 1998 mobile phone, the Nokia 6110 had quite robust specifications. The 4,096 color screen was cutting edge and allowed for much more vibrant visuals compared to competing phones.

Importance of the Nokia 6110

The significance of the Nokia 6110 extended beyond just being the first true color cell phone. Some ways it impacted the mobile industry include:

  • Set a new standard for displays – After the 6110, all major manufacturers raced to produce color screens.
  • Enabled modern smartphone features – Color screens paved the way for cameras, videos, games, and apps.
  • Introduced consumer customization – Personalized ringtones and color themes became popular.
  • Improved branding capabilities – Vibrant logos and designs were now possible.
  • Increased consumer demand – The 6110 demonstrated the appeal of color phones.
  • Propelled Nokia’s popularity – The phone bolstered Nokia’s reputation as an innovative industry leader.

The Nokia 6110 was not just a market success, but a technological one as well. It demonstrated the possibilities of color phone displays and set the stage for all future smartphone developments.

Later History of the Nokia 6110

Following the initial release of the Nokia 6110 in 1998, several updated models and variants were produced:

  • Nokia 6110 Dualband (1999) – Added 900/1900 MHz GSM support
  • Nokia 6110 Navigator (1999) – Included turn-by-turn navigation software
  • Nokia 6110 Plus (2000) – Featured video recording and playback
  • Nokia 6111 (2002) – Redesigned with a contemporary look and MMS support
  • Nokia 6230 (2003) – Successor focused on mobile internet and email

While the original Nokia 6110 was eventually discontinued, the subsequent models built upon its reputation and added more multimedia features expected of color screen phones. The Nokia 6110 lineage of phones maintained popularity for several years after the original release in 1998.

Top Color Cell Phones That Followed

After the groundbreaking Nokia 6110, other companies quickly released their own color cell phones:

  • Motorola Timeport P7389 (1999) – Had a unique foldable form factor.
  • Ericsson R320 (1999) – A slim and stylish phone with colorful cases.
  • Siemens S10 (1999) – Featured a colored illuminated display.
  • Samsung SCH-800 (1999) – One of Samsung’s first color models.
  • Sony CMD-Z5 (2000) – Packed an innovative swivel design.
  • Motorola V3682 (2000) – Had a modern clamshell form with internal antenna.
  • LG U8360 (2001) – Contained a unique rotatable camera for selfies.

These early color cell phones mimicked the Nokia 6110’s success and helped drive widespread consumer adoption of color screens and multimedia features like cameras. Each model added its own innovative twist.


The Nokia 6110 stands out as the first commercially successful color cell phone in 1998. Its 4,096+ color LCD display enabled mobile phones to display vibrant images, video, games, and graphical interfaces for the first time. Following the Nokia 6110’s groundbreaking example, all major mobile phone manufacturers soon introduced their own competitive color phones and embraced cameras, internet access, and third party apps. By demonstrating the possibilities of color screens, the Nokia 6110 paved the way for the entire smartphone revolution. It took cell phones far beyond just voice calling into the versatile pocket-sized computing devices we know today.