Yesterday, I started a nostalgic trip down cell phone lane, recounting my first four cell phones. I think that took me from 1997 to 2003. By that time the Zoolander Nokia had a cracked screen, and phones were starting to get really cool.
The Off Brand Freebie Phone
The carrier I had at the time offered a free-new-phone-a-year plan, so I decided to replace the little guy and try something new, i.e. not Motorola or Nokia. I guess you get what you pay for because the off-brand free phone was a turd from Day 1.
Pros: None that I can remember, unless you call successfully placing a call a pro.
Cons: The design of this phone was weird. It was a single piece, non clam shell, phone, but too narrow for comfortable talking. It was my first color display phone, but that screen was so tiny, it was functionally questionable, probably no larger than an inch and a half by an inch and a half. Oh yeah, the call reception was awful for people I called, but I could hear them fine, which was frustrating. My wife eventually insisted that I get a new one, so not a bad deal.
LG Clam Shell
After the Freebie Phone, I decided that the clam shell was for me. So, I bought an LG clam shell at the same time I bought my wife her first Treo. In hindsight, I should have bought a Razr (since I was to develop Razr envy, just like StarTAC envy from years before), but the Treo was a hard pill to swallow. So, the LG was fine for what I wanted. This was a solid little phone that carried me through several years.
Pros: This phone had custom ringtones, making it my first phone to play “Back in Black” for calls, and custom wallpaper, which was a nice to have. It was suitable small, but no some much so that it was uncomfortable for calls. I used the headset a lot though, for longer calls.
Cons: I really needed time visible on the outside of the phone, due to my no watch policy. I actually started opening/closing that little guy as a twitch, like a poker play messing with chips. Thankfully, LG engineered it for more opens/closes than I could muster.
Last Christmas, my wife bought me the black Razr, which at the time, was the zenith of phones for me. Sure, it had all the mobile browsing stuff, but it was really good at what I wanted, i.e. a small, pocket-sized phone that was comfortable for talking, played “Back in Black” and had a clock on the outside. I love this phone, and if the iPhone ever stumbles, it’s waiting to take back the throne.
Pros: A couple important firsts for me, first camera phone, first speaker phone. Both of these were useful features that I used a lot. The battery life was surprising long, too.
Cons: Not a whole was bad about this phone. The mobile browser was sadly inadequate, but that isn’t a failing of the Razr. The main problem for me was that it just wasn’t an iPhone.
The Alpha and Omega Phone
Ha, I wrote mega-phone by accident. Anyway, I reviewed my iPhone a few months ago. The newness has rubbed off, and a series of annoying events has soured me on Apple. However, the iPhone remains a transcendent device for me. My only additional complaint is that the battery won’t hold a charge very long and seems to be dying a slow death. Here’s to hoping the battery lawsuit gets resolved before mine dies, bricking my iPhone, which would oddly complete the cell phone circle for me, since I refer to my first phone as the Nokia brick.
One danger I’ve found with the iPhone is that it does too much for you. My wife had a freak out moment when iCal inexplicably deleted an event from her mission-critical calendar (no joke, it’s her livelihood). She expected (reasonably so) that the iPhone would ask her to resolve the differences when syncing, but it didn’t. Not good. So, using the iPhone for everything puts a lot of faith in Apple’s development, since it touches two hardware devices (iPhone, Macbook) and several software packages (iTunes, iCal, Address Book). Palm does calendar and address book really well, and not very much else. So, the bar’s pretty high. We’ll see how that goes.
So, thoughts? How many cell phones have you had? Is eight in ten years too many? I’ve known people to go through cell phones much faster, to keep up with the latest gadgets. Sound off in comments.