Monday, August 12, 2013

Andy's Mobile Phone History

I was reminiscing this afternoon about how far we have come in the technology world and so I reflected on a piece of technology close to my heart; my mobile phones.

I've gone back, way back, and have tried to find every single model I've ever owned. It was quite difficult actually; who knew there were so many variations, but alas, I think I have nailed it.

Here they are:

Circa 1994: Ericsson GA628
Very early on, Mum wanted my sister and I to have mobiles for security, so we ended up with these relative bricks. I still remember having a belt pocket holder, it was so cool to have a mobile hanging off your belt, but this brick was a little bit too heavy for that and it pulled half my pants down as it dangled freely. Regardless, this particular model got the ball rolling. I distinctly remember that it was so awesome to have an interchangeable plate behind the numbers. Individuality plus!

Death: Replaced after battery pack ended it's life and didn't hold charge, became unusable.

Circa 1999: Ericsson T28s
This little Ericsson was my first and last "flip phone". It was so much smaller and thinner than the GA628 and it was very much a 'current' phone for the time. The voice clarity was superb.  The shark fin antenna was a much better option over the flimsy antennas on many phones at the time. The flip did eventually stop closing properly and very soon it broke off. From memory, my mate and I bought these as a "2 for 1" deal from Brisbane Car Sound, who used to advertise everywhere with their cheap Telstra deals (although you had to go through their own call centre, which was kind of really annoying). 

Death: Flip part broke in drop.

2003: Nokia 3595
This replaced the broken Ericsson. It was the first phone that I researched on the internet and it was my stable friend for a long time. The buttons, both the top section and the bottom, were one piece silicon like items which made tapping the numbers annoying. BUT, notably, this was my first phone with a  COLOUR SCREEN! It was simply amazing! Also, to be able to choose colours and replace the whole front plate with a different colour made this a very cool Nokia. It was as solid as a rock, great battery life and quite affordable.

Death: Replaced, was in storage for a while (could perhaps still be).

2007: Motorola F3
For a very short time, I owed this poor excuse for a phone. A friend of mine had one, I thought it was cool, it was very cheap ($90 brand new) and I was attracted to the simplicity. At the time, people around me were starting to get cool Nokias so I actually went back to my Nokia 3595 after a few months of using this. It had the worst interface of any phone I've ever used, BUT, was so thin that the novelty of that alone made me get one. 

Death: Not quite sure what happened to this. Had it in storage for a while. Almost new condition. 

2008: HTC Touch Diamond 
I had spoken to a friend of mine who continually raved on and on about his new Nokia in 2007, especially the fact that it has a camera (that's you AB). This was of course awesome. At that time, I distinctly remember saying to him that the day they release a mobile, with a camera, emailing and a GPS, I'd buy one. Along came the Touch Diamond, which was basically one of the first 'smartphones' to hit the market. Since I said I'd buy one of these super expensive devices, I did (as my govy school phone...he he he).

This phone was a quantum leap in terms of technology. It was, and probably continues to be, the most stylish mobile device I have ever owned (the back had this diamond-angled like edgy finish). It had a famously laggy interface, which meant a lot of waiting and waiting and stuttery functionality, but it did an awesome amount of things which phones up to that point had rarely done before. It had a shocking battery and it was the first phone that needed charging daily, rather than the once weekly I was used to prior; took a while to get used to this continual plugging in. First phone with email, but I did not have data activated on it. I had to use WiFi or plug it in to get some of this functionality.  

Death: Accidental toilet swim rendered it almost unusable. Left it at the school for the next principal.
Buy one: You can still buy one of these baby's brand new here!

Late 2010: HTC Desire G7
My first foray into expensive smartphones came via this 2010 award winning HTC. I was initially hesitant to buy a HTC again after the disastrous battery life of the Touch Diamond, but the "best phone" award sealed the deal over the iPhone for me (plus I had an iPhone simultaneously as my work mobile). 

This phone introduced me to the wonderful world of Android. Much much better than the Touch Diamond, it did all the things that phone did, but much better and with a better battery life. So as an example I could use the GPS for more than 5 minutes and still have decent charge. It also made using mobile data a reality to browse etc. The camera too was much improvement and useable.

Death: Still going strong; hand me down to my wife.  
Buy one: Still for sale via Amazon

Early 2011: iPhone 4
I have been very fortunate to compare an Android phone to an iPhone throughout 2011 and 2012. This was, and continues to be, my work phone. It has a beautiful glass-like backing, which unfortunately cracked while it was getting inscribed for work, and then totally shattered when one of my students dropped it while we were at camp. Alas, it still works fine. This phone had the famous 'grip of death' issue, which is noticeable with virtually any cover on the phone and it continues to be very finicky with reception where I work.

In all honesty, it's an Apple iPhone; great product, wonderful clean apps, great battery management and simple to use.

Buy one: Surprisingly great value at under $200 now!

May 2013: Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Which brings us to my current baby. Everything the HTC Desire was, but again, just so much better. I had a moral dilemma of choosing between an iPhone 5 and this; I'm glad I went with the Note 2. It's large screen is great, although I had been wishing to get a 7 inch tablet device for a phone, but I jumped the gun about 4 months early as I see they are finally here in Australia. Nonetheless, I am in love with this phone. Android is even better, a much better camera (again) and the inbuilt stylus with SWYPE just blows my mind (why iPhone users persist with continual tapping is beyond me). The large screen is 'just right' and the awesome new generation hardware keeps everything ticking along nicely. Just this week, my wife introduced me to NFC tags; the future is here my friends.

It's on a two year contract with Telstra, so I'll have this as my bff for a while. What will the future bring? I dare say the trend for phablets will continue and I will end up with a 7 inch device with voice, but who knows, maybe voice will die a slow death soon and we'll all be exclusively Skype-ing and FaceTime-ing on our devices. Also, Google Glass has a lot of potential in my eyes; two years is a long time in tech land.

Buy One: Prices are dropping slowly for a brilliant smartphone.

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