July 18 2010|06.00 AM UTC

Angelica Nierras

5 Awesome Movie Cell Phones We Wish Were Real

Category: WirelessTags: ,

We’ve all seen movies where the protagonist whips out a cell phone and proceeds to do something practically impossible: call mom from a secret underground bunker, snap hi-res photos of terrorist activity, or control all electronics in the immediate vicinity. Didn’t you think to yourself: where can I get one of those?

We’ve put together our wish list of five cell phones from the movies that we wish were real, along with their real-life counterparts. Enjoy!

1. James Bond’s phone in Tomorrow Never Dies

James Bond always has the coolest gadgets, no question. We’d love to get our hands on the cell phone he uses in Tomorrow Never Dies. The innocuous looking device packs a mean punch. It comes with: a stun gun, a fingerprint scanner/analyzer/transmitter handy for opening up fancy locks, a lock pick for old-fashioned locks disguised as the phone’s antennae, and last but not least – drumroll please – a “flip open” remote control for operating his BMW 750iL. The remote comes with a directional steering pad, LCD monitors of the car’s front and rear views (see picture), and controls to car’s defensive mechanisms, including the fire rocket launcher. Now that is one cool function. Does the car come with it?

Real-life counterpart
ericsson phone
Ericsson designed Bond’s phone specifically for the movie, and much of the design resurfaced in a phone released a few years later in 2000. The Ericsson R380 is already obsolete by our standards, but at the time it was arguably the world’s first smartphone and the first to use the Symbian OS. Like Bond’s phone, it comes with a touchscreen partially covered by a flip, and it boasts an antennae, but that’s where all similarities end. It looks remarkably clunky by today’s standards, especially when compared to the Droid or iPhone.

2. Tony Stark’s Phone in Iron Man 2

tony stark phone

Tony Stark had a pretty lame phone in the first movie – a simple LG VX9400, hardly a billionaire’s phone, but he packed a serious upgrade for the sequel. His state-of-the-art, slim, transparent cell phone allowed him to control his TV, lock up his house, project videos, and, we assume, take over nearby monitors as he demonstrated during his Senate hearing. Fingers crossed that was just saw a version of the future, folks, because talk about multi-functional. For a look at some of the graphics, watch this clip.

Real-life counterpart
Sorry, everyone. In real life Tony’s phone was a transparent piece of glass with the Stark logo and the LG logo etched on it. Definitely missing some key functions. As corporate sponsor of the movie, however, LG jumped on some of the Iron Man buzz and launched the LG Ally phone, its first Android-powered smartphone. The Ally is promoted with lots of Iron Man reference, but according to an early review from cnet, the phone doesn’t differ substantially from LG’s other offerings, such as the EnV. Still, Ally is supposed to come with some Iron Man 2 augmented-reality applications. If you really want to feel like Tony Stark, LG has a fun introduction to the concept here.

3. The Star Trek Communicator

star trek communicator

Remember the days before cell phones? People dreamed of something like the Star Trek communicator, which allowed for instantaneous communication over long distances. Hmmm. Word on the street is that Martin Cooper, inventor of the world’s first personal cell phone, was inspired by Captain Kirk’s communicator.

Yes, the first incarnation of the communicator is boxy and big by our standards, but remember that the communicator is so much more than a normal cell phone. Communicators can transmit through subspace, which allowed Captain Kirk and his crew to chat with their buddies on a ship in orbit. Sample conversation: “Beam me up, Scotty!”

Real-life counterpart
All cell phones are arguably based on the Star Trek communicator. Unfortunately, there is no phone actually designed to look like the communicator – yet. Currently available on the market are a number of iPhone covers designed to look like communicators, as well as a full-size replica from ThinkGeek that comes with lights, sound effects, and clips from the original show. If you’re really jonesing to hold a communicator look-alike in your hands, the ThinkGeek product is definitely the way to go, but remember that you won’t be able to actually communicate with anybody. You can pretend it’s really Spock on the other end, though.

4. Get Smart Shoe Phone

get smart shoe phone

There’s nothing like a secret phone to make you feel like a secret agent, and in the categories of secret phones, there’s nothing like the shoe phone from Get Smart. Made famous by the spy parody TV series in the late 60s, the shoe phone was, like the communicator, a precursor to modern day cell phones. Thankfully we don’t have to take off our shoes to dial a friend, but we admit there’s something sweet and nostalgic about packing a secret communication device in your shoe. Not to mention that if you dial “117″ the whole shoe turns into a gun.

Real-life counterpart
Believe it or not, a simple Google Shopping search presents a whole array of options for purchasing a shoe phone. Not satisfied with those? Get step-by-step instructions for creating your own shoe phone here. Phone and shoes required.

5. Matrix Reloaded Phone

matrix reloaded phone

In the widely anticipated sequel to The Matrix, Neo and friends continued their fight against the evil computer program enslaving humanity. This time, however, they switched to using Samsung. And while our phones exist only in the Matrix, Neo and Morpheus were able to use their phones to communicate with people back in the real world. Unfortunately, there’s not an app for that.

Real-life counterpart
The cell phone used in the movie was developed specifically for that purpose, and Samsung tied the release of the lookalike SPH-N270 phone (otherwise known as the “Matrix phone”) to the release of the movie in 2003. The background options on the phone allowed for famous “digital rain” – the green code on black background – and comes with screensaver themes and various ringtones. The phone definitely took its movie roots very seriously and successfully sold out.

Did we miss any other cool cell phones from Hollywood? What fantasy phones are on your wish list?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Blair MacGregor July 18, 2010 at 10:08 pm

I still remember thinking how cool the flip-out phone in the first Matrix was at the time. For 1999 standards, that was heads and shoulders above anything I had seen:



Tim July 18, 2010 at 11:43 pm

How could you forget Derek’s phone in Zoolander?


BillShrink Guy July 19, 2010 at 11:39 am

Oh. My. God.

You’re right. Will add asap.


Elle July 19, 2010 at 12:34 pm

I loved the phone featured in the TV show, “Earth: Final Conflict.” It was called a “global” but it was neat. It has a pullout screen w/ a camera and collapses into a pocket sized pod. The operator could see the himself and his target. They could also communicate w/ computers. Neat-o!

Here are pics, both open and closed. I can’t locate video of how it should operate.


The Man July 21, 2010 at 5:25 am

Yes Elle, Coolest PHONE EVER. I wait for the day when they can do that. Getting close with those flexible lcd screens they have now.


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