the first pocketable mobile phone

Everyone remembers 1980s ‘brick’ mobile telephones. An impressive technical innovation at the time, the dimensions were, to put it mildly, a bit of an issue.

In 1986 Technophone launched the Excell pc105T, the first pocket-sized mobile phone. The claim was slightly premature — the shirts featured 

in marketing shots had to be specially made, as standard pockets weren’t big enough. They asked us to find a way to slim the model down.

We started by taking the device apart and reconfiguring the technology inside. First, we converted the charger into a replaceable attachment, instantly trimming down the main device.

Then we realigned the components, adding length and bundling them slightly at each end, so the overall effect was light rather than bulky. We also replaced the polyester buttons and enlarged the display, which gave the device a more digital feel.

The resulting phone no longer needed a custom-made pocket, looked desirably modern and was much easier to use. Launched in 1989, the pc205’s ergonomic design had a huge influence on 

the mobile phones that followed. Shortly afterwards Technophone became part of Nokia, who used our display as the basis for their own interfaces.

The pc205 won a D&AD Yellow Pencil in 1991, and you can see an example of the phone, with some of our original designs, in the National Art Library of the V&A Museum.