Four phone features and design we don’t miss at all

Smartphone features and functions have changed over the years. Here we list some of them we are glad they’ve disappeared.

Here are a few of them that used to be common on mobile phones and that is no longer needed or missed at all.

QWERTY keyboard

From the Palm Treo 650 to the Nokia E71, Nokia E63 and all the BlackBerry line users use to spend years pecking out texts, messages, and emails on devices with actual buttons.

There’s no question that QWERTY keyboards were great. The tactile feel of buttons was far superior to typing on glass, no matter how good the haptics are. The downside was that keyboards skimp on potential screen size. Another thing not to be missed was the physical pain. Thumbs developed tendonitis from typing all those messages back in the day. The advent of typing on glass made the experience easier allowing the pain to recede in most users.

Proprietary charging ports

These days USB-C is everywhere. You might still encounter micro-USB here and there, but for the most part, nearly every charging port you’ll interact with on a mobile device nowadays relies on USB-C. It didn’t use to be that way.

Before USB-C, there was micro-USB, and on some devices even mini-USB. But none of these standards were universally adopted by all device manufacturers. Nokia preferred thin, round charging pins while Motorola opted for these odd snap-on cables. Apple used its 30-pin connector for the first generation of the iPhone. Thankfully USB-C has become the de facto port for charging today’s mobile devices, accessories, and add-ons.

Removable batteries

In the early days of mobile phones, removable batteries were the standard. People relied on this old smartphone feature, we’ve also used it as a feature to pull a frozen device’s battery to reset it or force a reboot. We also were able to buy spare batteries, and even sometimes dedicated docks or chargers for those batteries, so we have a spare charged and ready to go. iPhones never offered replaceable batteries, but smartphones from Samsung, Nokia, and the majority of Android device makers did at one time. 

Today, mobile phones and their batteries have changed. Devices are far more powerful and can last for years with proper care and updates. 

These days, portable battery packs and rapid charging became the golden standard and made it easier to charge on the go and do so much quicker. It costs almost nothing at all to keep a 10,000mAh, USB-equipped battery in our bags that can not only recharge your phone but your other mobile accessories (headphones, smartwatch) too. 

External antennas

This old feature was a necessity for most of the first smartphones series, required by the physics of early cellular networks to capture signals.

Antennas came in all shapes and sizes. Some were tall and thin, while others were short and fat. Some even included extenders that stretched upward to offer more wave-catching power. 

Thankfully mobile phone design matured, along with the networks they run on, and that allowed for the switch to internal antennas instead of the formerly-required external ones.

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