Before smartphones were basically a necessity for everyone, children of the '80s and '90s made the most of the earlier forms of mobile forms. From T9 texting to flip phone dramatics, the pre-smartphone era had some awesome characteristics; and some that we definitely will not miss.

Recorded Ringtones
Recorded Ringtones
One of the best ways to show off what song you were jamming to at the time was to make it your ringtone. Some kids may have paid $1.99 to download some 8-bit segment of "Semi-Charmed Life," but most of us just used our phones to record a song playing from the radio or our CD players and then set that as our ringtones. The quality wasn't great, but so what?
Preset Ringtones
Preset Ringtones
Or, if you couldn't decide on a song to record, you could always choose one of the, like, three sucky ringtone options already programmed into your phone. You might have flipped between that spacey or underwater sounding tones for a little, but eventually faced the facts that anything other than the normal ringtone would just be weird.
Ringback Tones
Ringback Tones
Ringtones were one thing, but ringback tones were a whole different ball game. You were basically forcing people to listen to your music while they waited to talk to you. It was like being in a waiting room with a Kidz Bop CD.
Snake
Snake
Before there was Candy Crush or Angry Birds or any other phone games, Snake was the game that ruled all cell phones. Whenever you were bored, and even sometimes when you weren't, you loved to take out your phone and guide that ever-growing snake to more and more dots.
Opening Your Flip Phone
Opening Your Flip Phone
When flip phones came out, they were immediately the coolest thing to have. And honestly, they still are pretty sweet. Flipping your cell phone open in just one hand to take a call was always so dramatic and fun; plus slamming it closed when you were done just made you feel so powerful.
The Razr
The Razr
Any flip phone was cool, but the Razr was without a doubt the coolest cell phone to have at the time. Just like having the latest iPhone is now, having the Razr was a status symbol that let all the other kids know that you were better than them.
T9 Texting
T9 Texting
Before autocorrect was getting almost everything right for us in our texts, T9 was trying its best to predict what we were going to type, but mostly failing. It basically had the vocabulary of a 5th grader and wouldn't know what you were trying to say until you were like one letter away from just saying it yourself.
Pressing A Ton Of Keys
Pressing A Ton Of Keys
T9 was supposed to help make texting easier, but it still involved tapping your keys multiple times to get the right letter. Let's just face it; we all deserve a medal for how well we were able to text on those old cell phones, because it was really not easy.
Phone Charms
Phone Charms
For a while, it was cool to accessorize your cell phone by hanging a ton of little figurines or charms from it. Who knows why we ever thought this was a cool idea — it was a different time!
9 PM Phone Calls
9 PM Phone Calls
Sure, some rich kids or really lucky kids had unlimited minutes on their cell phones, but a vast majority of us started out with phone plans that included only a limited number of minutes. The one catch was the free night and weekend minutes. Having your friends call you at 9 PM to talk was your way to talk to your heart's content without having your parents yell at you about the phone bill.
Multicolored Snap-On Nokia Cases
Multicolored Snap-On Nokia Cases
The one thing Nokia phones did have going for them (besides being indestructible) was the fact that they were totally customizable. Waking up and deciding which color of snap-on case you were going to put on your phone that day was your way of telling the world how you felt.
Endless Power
Endless Power
One thing that smartphones have actually made worse is battery life. Now, iPhones need to be charged at least once a day, but back in the good old days you could go days or even weeks without charging your phone.
The Emergency Cell
The Emergency Cell
A lot of us probably had that phase before we technically had our own cell phone where we carried around a phone that our parents told us to only use in case of emergency. That little plastic temptation would just sit in your pocket unused for weeks, until your parents finally caved and let you use the phone for social reasons.
Grammar And Spelling Sins
Grammar And Spelling Sins
As I've said before; texting on these old phones was not easy, so we all coped with that by shortening every single word to almost unintelligible units of speech and acronyms. Sure, we still use LOL, OMG, and shorten some words today, but smartphones have made typing real sentences so much easier, and now we don't have to resort to things like "Mt @ tha mll l8r? LOL!"
Emoticons
Emoticons
No, not emojis: emoticons. Way before we were able to select the perfect emoji for any situation that could possibly arise, we had to make the faces we were feeling with some combination of colons, parenthesis, semicolons, slashes, and whatever other characters fit in.
Low-Res Mirror Pics
Low-Res Mirror Pics
Camera phones didn't come out until a bit later, and once you got yours you were obsessed with taking pictures of everything, but mostly of yourself. Selfies are huge now, but back then there wasn't a front-facing camera so you had to take your selfies in a mirror. They were perfect for Myspace.
The Smaller The Better
The Smaller The Better
Due to all the scorn those original brick-sized cell phones of the '80s got, everyone wanted to have the tiniest cell phone possible back in the day. Now, with iPads and tablets, we seem to be veering more towards bigger is better, but back then the tiniest gadgets were the coolest.