King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Thursday, August 12

On mobile phones

Back in the dark ages (1998), I finally got my first mobile phone. On a day trip to Swansea (it used to take a day to get there and back on the bus), I popped into a shop called "the Word" and was surprised to find that I passed their credit check for a phone. I got me a posh new Siemens S6.

The S6 was state of the art. Everyone I knew with a mobile (namely my ex boss and Sharon) had a Nokia. They sang the praises of the thing, but would then be cursing when they lost signal, something that seemed to happen all too often. I'd gone from the recommended Orange to Vodafone, and all seemed to be good. The phone had caller display, something I'd never had before. It also had cell info, and would tell me the postcode where I was. It had absolutely no use to me whatsoever, but I was impressed. So impressed in fact, that the following year I didn't upgrade, I just got them to send me a handsfree kit gratis. Unfortunately, later that same year, the pin inside the power connector snapped and I found I could no longer charge it. This was not only unfortunate, with a maximum standby of 30 hours, it was cata-bloody-strophic. The phone ended up disused in a drawer.
I moved on in the world, and eventually went over to the orange side. Sharon was working for a mobile phone company at the time, and offered me a less than legitimate T68i.

In case you're wondering, the funny little piece on a string is a camera. Yes, this was one of the first phones with a digital camera. Admittedly, it was shite on a whole new scale of shite. No flash, slow exposure, low res (I seem to remember the images being 320x240), and when it was plugged in you would wonder where your battery life went. But, it was a phone with a camera, and it meant I would walk around with that little camera always in my pocket. It also had a colour screen, and would allow me to WAP the internet. The most excellent speed of 9600bps on the modem meant I could check my emails normally in about a month.
It was time to move on, and so after an item on the Gadget show about Symbian (not sybian, although it's only a matter of time...) phones, I popped into my local Carphone Whorehouse, and walked out with a Nokia 6680 and a contract for £50 a month (!). The T68i was consigned to a drawer.

Now this was a phone! It had a 2.1Mp camera on the back and a 640x480 camera on the front, meaning you could make video calls. It had a fully featured web browser, memory card slot, lovely colour screen with ability to watch videos and listen to music, it was, in short, the doggie's danglies. It was also the size of a small cruise-liner, and required the same power to power it. One of the main features that I liked about this was that I could download software for it. One of the first things I got was Tomtom for symbian, and I had to buy a small bluetooth GPS receiver so that Tomtom knew where it was. I could also download Google maps, and this meant with the aid of the GPS I could actually see an aerial view of where I was. This would give me many hours of entertainment as I drove along. The battery life was pathetic, so I moved on. The phone, meanwhile, ended up in a drawer.

At last, I got myself the holy grail of phones. The Nokia N95 is 5 years old now. It still widdles on most phones available today, and my God do I miss mine. What this phone didn't do, wasn't worth doing. In-built sat nav, full high speed internet, video streaming, tv output, it really was unsurpassed. About the same time those chaps at some fruit based company in Silicon Valley brought out the iPhone. Typical of Apple however, it was overpriced, overhyped, and over here. It was the N95's main competitor, and the poor thing didn't stand a chance. Reviews between the two made the iPhone appear to be nothing more than a £1000 slab of stone, whilst the N95 could power a mission to Mars. I had, and still do have, immense respect for the N95. It isn't really available any more, but second hand ones are still over £200 on eBay. One day I was moving a cupboard, and I had the phone in my pocket. Pulling the corner of the cupboard into my screen really did it no good whatsoever, and it borked. I replaced the screen easily enough, with a replacement from the net, and that worked for 4 days before not only did the screen break again, this time it took the display controller as well. The phone was deaded. It's now in a drawer.
As a quick replacement I went out and brought a Sony Ericsson w350i.

Ok, so how can I explain this? Using this phone is like going from flying the latest Eurofighter, fully laden with missiles and technology, to jumping and flapping. Ok, so it has a camera. Just. It has a lovely interface for listening to music. I have a car stereo. It has a flappy down front panel. I broke that. It has internet. Sometimes. Basically, it's not very good (you get that impression don't you?). It has, however, lasted me over a year, but something had to be done. Meanwhile, the w350i is now in a drawer.
Whilst packing to move (16 days, kiddies), I found my old Nokia n73, the predecessor to the N95. The screen was borked as well, so I replaced it with a genuine Nokia one. I transferred everything over, and now I have a phone with an IQ in double figures again. All I have to now do is get it ready for an Irish sim.
Oh boy.