12 Nokia phones that changed the world (and 9 crazy ones that entertained us along the way)

Nokia is set to rise again at this year's MWC, so we've taken a trip through the Finns’ greatest handset hits – and misses.

Nokia is back.

Like a pheonix from the ashes, the once iconic phone-maker is set to return at this year's Mobile World Congress show - and rumour has it, will be bringing an updated 3310 along too.

We've got fond memories of that phone (good luck beating our Snake high score, people) but it got us thinking - Nokia regularly shifted the gadget-time continuum with its crazy concepts and unbreakable bricks. We've revisted the best here.

This little wander down memory lane also takes in a few models that really weren't all that. Because Nokia was out on its own, beholden to no-one, its moments of brilliant boundary-pushing were matched by moments of the purest wrong-headedness the tech world has ever seen. Some of its more experimental designs were utter howlers, both aesthetically and ergonomically.

Their like may never be seen again, and in a curious way, we regret their passing almost as much as we do those of such design greats as the 3310 and Lumia 800. So join us in celebrating a time when it didn't seem the height of daftness to organise your alphanumeric keyboard like a clock.

Nokia Cityman (1987)

Available in “450” and “900” editions (named for the frequencies in MHz they used on the Nordic Mobile Telephony system), the Cityman was Nokia’s first mobile phone and regarded as a sleek, high-end and highly desirable product. How times change. The brick-like handset established the Finnish company as a major telephony player by 1988, helped Nokia secure almost 15 percent of the global mobile phone market.

Nokia 5110 (1998)

One of the many Nokia models that became near-ubiquitous in local universities, high streets and offices, the 5110 was nigh-on impervious to anything the world could throw at it, had excellent battery life and, of course, came with the beloved Snake on board. You could also pop off the front panel and swap it with one of several bright-coloured replacements because, well, customisation.

Snake charmer

This was my first phone. I loved the fact that you could customise it with tons of different covers, that it was built like a tank, and Snake: Oh. My. God. Snake. I felt like the coolest kid on the block when I bought a Nike tick to replace my operator logo.

Nokia 3650 (2002)

Equipped with a colour screen, a VGA camera able to shoot both stills and video and a what-the-hell-were-they-thinking circular keypad, the 3650 was the first Symbian Series 60 smartphone to launch in the US. It featured 3.4MB of built-in storage!

Understandably, Nokia was keen to talk up the 3650's video capture abilities in ads, resulting in the above TV spot which attracted – again, understandably – a considerable amount of criticism from cat lovers. It's about as tasteful as that circular keypad.