Keitai Special Volume 2: the best retro phone videos

Keitai Special Volume 2: the best retro phone videos

Welcome back! After the unprecedented success* of Volume 1, we're back with the second instalment of our Keitai celebration and this time we're looking at some of the best retro phone videos.

Get ready to view some questionable fashion statements, stellar moustaches and take in the stench of desperation as manufacturers try valiantly to make early phones sound fun.

Issue 1 - May 16

You know how people are always trying to put a phone into a watch? They're not trying hard enough. The Zihotch Watch (Hey, that rhymes!) asks you to poke the numbers 117 in the rotary dial, and a Japanese voice will tell the time.

Dial the wrong number and you'll be told the number you've tried is not in service (apparently… I don't speak Japanese).

If my 'time it takes stuff to come from Japan to the rest of the world' algorithm is correct, this 2007 invention is about to hit out shelves any day now.


Issue 2 - May 22

Nothing says "buy some cell phones from us, please!" like a badly stitched fox puppet that looks like it's going to die and a bemused and embarrassed presenter (stand up comedian Lucy Porter, fact fans) who probably still gets Vietnam-like flashbacks to this awful time.

Cringe at Lucy comparing herself to a Siemens C35i in a positive way! Watch her dance awkwardly to the Motorola V2288's built-in FM radio! Enjoy the mangy fox puppet's ecstasy at the thought of getting an Ericsson T10 which comes with vibrating alerts! Imagine that - a phone that vibrates to let you know you've got a notification!

If he didn't have a hand up his puppet hole, who knows how excited he'd have got.

Issue 3 - May 29

"The affordable, transportable cellular phone is here!" exclaims this General Electric ad from 1989.

Among its headlining features is 30 number speed dialling, last number redial, electronic lock, light up keypad and... wait for it... adjustable volume control. Plus, there's an optional battery for true portable use (otherwise you'll be porting it from car to car).

Yours for just $397 (approximately £4 million in today's money).

Issue 4 - June 5

Pay attention kids, here's a life lesson in basic body language.

The suited gentleman in this 1996 Ericsson mobile phone advert, let's call him Frank, thinks he's just got himself a date by merely entering a restaurant and sitting at a table.

There's a lady on the table across from him – she looks like a Mallory – and judging by her hand placement she's either on the phone, or has a chronic headache. Either way, the mere fact that Mallory's not even looking at Frank should set alarm bells ringing in his head.

Unfortunately for Frank, he has not received this important life lesson and proceeds to embarrass himself by getting mistaken for a waiter. A waiter! You can't get lower than that.

Issue 5 - June 12

Imagine being privy to the meeting where this genius advert was thought up. It must have been something akin to a scene from Mad Men.

Two men are sat on a bench, one in a lovely light suit holding flowers ready for his date's arrival, the other a naughty businessman dressed in dark hues, being boring and reading his old newspaper.

The other guy gives up on his girl and storms off, resulting in free flowers for the evil man. The Evil Man then calls his girlfriend so they can meet and he can give her the free flowers…and what is he using? It's only a ruddy Nokia phone!

It's not clear why Nokia wanted to be associated with this guy, but he's going to get his comeuppance. He sets off to give his flowers to her…but only the audience know they have the other girl's name on them. Oh, how we laughed.

Issue 6 - June 19

We've had the Dancing Pony, Singing Kitty and even a boyband Muppet - but five years ago Three UK was already making annoyingly catchy adverts which had little relevance to anything, let alone phones.

Just as you start feeling sorry for the leading lady in this advert and the blatant bullying she's having to endure, the plot twists and she becomes a cold-blooded killer.

Catchy song, though.

Issue 7 - June 26

There's nothing people love more than comedy ringtones, especially when they're in a confined space and said tone is mimicking fart noises.

That is, if all those people are six years old. However, as full grown adults, anyone who laughs at this needs to be locked up.

*Stifles giggle*.

Issue 8 - July 3

This ad uses a strange tactic. Point out the fact using a smartphone will mean you disconnect with those around you… but then try and sell you one of those phones.

By the end of it no-one wants to go out and buy a phone even if it is "designed to get you in, and out, and back to life."

Issue 9 - July 10

The words "humour" and "Microsoft" go together as well as "cheese" and "petrol", but bless the Redmond company if it doesn't try! Here's an ageing Lumia 920 advert that shows the 'hilarious' consequences of inviting Apple and Android fanboys to a wedding that Game of Thrones fans would describe as "quite peaceful really".

Ignoring the fact that the advert seems to imply that there's no one passionate about Windows Phones, marvel as Microsoft makes fun of Apple users relying on voice-activated virtual assistant Siri (of course, Microsoft's voice-activated virtual assistant Cortana is completely different), or as it pokes fun at Samsung owners using over-sized devices (as Microsoft would never release a phablet...*cough* Nokia Lumia 1320 *cough*).

Perhaps the best part of the advert is when someone shouts "Is there an app for that?" after throwing a punch, because the lack of apps on Windows Phone is definitely a selling point.

*success rating based on author's own personal opinion, nothing more

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.