The quirkily designed Nokia 7600 was announced in September 2003 in conjunction with the 100% Design exhibition in London and was one of Nokia’s earliest 3G handsets. It was designed as a “fashion” product and had interchangeable covers. This variant in yellow was the most common colour available. At launch, a limited-edition series of 1000 phones was offered through leading fashion retailers such as the Conran Shop in London, Asplunds in Stockholm, Colette in Paris and Corso Como 10 in Milan.
At the time, Nokia executive Juha Putkiranta described the phone as “representing a unique marriage between technology and design, with the Nokia 7600 being not only an object that expresses the personality of its owner, but also at the cutting edge of mobile communications.”
The technology used in the handset was based on the Nokia 6650 (Nokia’s first 3G handset). It used Nokia’s Series 40 software platform, had a 65,000 colour display and a VGA camera.
The Nokia 7600 did not have a front facing camera as Nokia believed that users would prefer a “see what I see” approach rather than the “see me” approach, which it did not believe would take off with consumers. This was in contrast to other 3G handsets where video calling was considered a key user case for the new 3G technology. The company stated that the “Nokia 7600 phone opens a new door to the world of multimedia communications.”
The phone was considered extremely difficult to use by virtue of its unusual keyboard layout, with the keys laid out alongside either side of the display. Whilst Nokia had believed this would make the device well suited to two handed text input, users were so used to the traditional keypad layout that this design shift was extremely difficult to adjust to.