It started with the Nokia Tune, which is a 13 note rendering of Francisco Tarrega's, Gran Vals, who was a 19th-century Spanish musician.
The first ringtones were monophonic, which mean that only one note is played at a time.
Some of the early cell phone models, had a built in ringtone composer. To compose free ringtones directly to the phone or to make them with a ringtone composer, never became a big hit. The year 2002 is a major milestone in ringtone history. Nokia 3510 was the first phone optimized for playing polyphonic ringtones. Soon other cell phone companies also adopted the MIDI standard that enables more realistic polyphonic sounds for ringtones.
The year 2003 was the actual breakthrough for polyphonic ringtones. Cell phone makers, operators and content providers also came up with new concepts and ringtone formats. Motorola introduced Groovetunes and Nokia introduced Nokia True Tones. Ringtone web sites also started to offer voice ringtones with voices of celebrities as ringtones.
Today, with phones like The Sony Ericsson W800, Nokia N91 and MOtorolas iTunes phone, we could be facing a new milestone in the ringtone history. Polyphonic ringtones still rock, but as you can see from the short history presented above, things change. Today the internet is full of MP3 music, both legal and illegal, and you can use Bluetooth to transfer music files from a PC to your cell phone.
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Nicolas writes here Ringtones News