Last week on the podcast we touched upon our old phones and how little they did. We decided to document our history of mobiles. Over the next week or so a few of the writers here will publish something similar. Starting with me.
My first ever mobile
I have no idea what it was called, it was a Vodafone big blue thing, big aerial sticking out of the top. All it could do was sms and calls only. Sms creation was awful as there was no predictive text, the general interface was horrendous. It lost signal all over the place. My mum bought this for me when we went on holiday to Newquay in the late nineties. She was basically just trying to keep track of me. I eventually smashed it by lifting a big table with the phone in my pocket. After smashing it I didn’t get a phone for a few years. I used a pager instead.
My second ever phone was the now legendary Nokia 3210. It was one of those phones that really introduced mobiles to the masses. I bought two from Argos (my favourite phone shop in those days). One for me and one for the wife, we were both amazed by the speed and having predictive text. Playing snake as well was just mind blowing. My wife couldn’t get her head round predictive though and had to stick to the old style of texting. I had it for what felt like years and years.
I somehow broke my 3210 so a quick glance through the Argos catalogue and I came across the 3510, it had a colour screen, no camera, very basic web browsing and weird squidgy buttons. I got it on pay as you go with Virgin who seemed to allow you to browse whatever you wanted at no cost, which was nice. Eventually it got water damaged.
Three had just arrived on the scene and had released a few odd looking devices. They then released the LG U8110. It had a colour screen and a camera. A camera on a phone?? Once again the mobile industry had blown my mind. Mobile web was very strange in those days. Three only allowed you to browse their very limited selection of news, Ringtones, music and smut. It all just seemed like a bit of a wasted opportunity.
Towards the end of my first 12 month contract I wanted something a bit different. A lot of people at work had the same phone as me. Which irked me somewhat. I started to look around at what else was out there. Once again amazed by the prices and allowances on Three I got an A1000. Boy was I in for a shock. Text input was done via a tiny little stylus that I quickly lost. The UIQ system worked well, I set up push email via a loophole in the way Three handled pop3 back then. The phone had a transflash memory card which I soon filled with music, it had stereo speakers as well. The A1000 really was a great device.
I was on a course one day and saw a guy with a 4″ Dell PDA. It looked amazing I knew I wanted something like that with a phone built in. I started to look around at Dell and HP offerings to decide what to get next. My move into the world of Windows Mobile was about to start.
Hp iPaq RW6515
A guy at work had bought one of these hoping to replicate Blackberry style emails and the like. He couldn’t work out how to set up activesync and he quickly gave up. I bought it from him fairly sharpish.
Once again I was blown away. I could install apps, store music, receive emails, browse the web and use it as a Sat Nav with TomTom app. The only bad thing was the lack of 3G was disappointing and made web browsing painful. My contract with Three was nearing completion and I had heard good things about their Web and Walk packages.
T-Mobile SDA Compact II
I bought this to drop the price of my contract. It was my first time using Windows Mobile Phone Edition. I found it useful for nights out and holidays. It was a really nice device and my first time using a non touch Windows Mobile device, the main thing I liked was the calendar and contact management. I did prefer my iPaq at this point though, the touch interface just felt more fun. If only I new what was coming in the future.
My desire for 3G or HSDPA was getting stronger. In a moment of insanity I ordered an Ameo. It was huge, so big in fact that you couldn’t use it as a normal phone. You had to use a headset, I used an LG Style I bluetooth handset, which lost connection so often.
Boy did I look stupid with these. The Ameo never really lived up to what I wanted from a device. It did make for a great multimedia device, it acted as a great sat nav, file storage device and emails and sms were incredible with the keyboard. Windows Mobile couldn’t really keep up with modern websites and hsdpa was a little hit and miss, mainly down to T-Mobile capping it. By now I had really decided that bigger was better.
Hp iPaq 514
My Compact SDA II was getting a little old now. Windows Mobile 6 was out and I wanted to try it out. The first device with Windows Mobile 6 was the HP iPaq 514 again it was a non touch smartphone. Windows Mobile 6 didn’t really bring much to game, having push email and basic web browsing in such a small device was great though. The lack of 3g was annoying.
I still have this phone as a single charge will last me days. Perfect for camping or holidays where my phone is really for emergencies.
HTC Panda P6300
The HTC Panda was something I got to try out a large screen pda without a keyboard. The 3.5″ screen felt huge and games and multimedia was great on the Panda. It was one of those devices that HTC couldn’t be bothered to put HSDPA in though. Needless to say I didn’t keep it for long.
MWG Ubiquio 503G
Having decided that bigger was better I went and bought a smaller qwerty Blackberry style device. It was a really nice phone, it had Windows Mobile 6 which was a plus point along with HSDPA. I mainly liked how quickly you could send sms or emails. I didn’t last long with the 503g as my contract was coming to an end.
After what felt like years of humiliation using the Ameo I decided to get a Samsung Omnia. It combined everything I had wanted in previous Windows Phone devices. A reasonable camera, touch screen, HSDPA, apps, a decent rom community, push email, themes, sat nav. It really was a good phone, the only bad thing was that it wasn’t a capacative screen. The iPhone came out around about the same time and a lot of people jumped from Windows Phone to iOS.
After a few months I decided I wanted a larger screen, the Celio Redfly device companion had recently come out. The Redfly enabled you to mirror your screen onto a 9″ netbook and also charged up your phone as well. It was really useful for remote desktop or web browsing. Being able to charge my Omnia on the move as well was useful.
I sat on my Omnia one day and half of the screen died. I had to quickly get a new device. I didn’t know which way to jump, it was a choice between the HTC HD2, an iPhone or heaven forbid an Android device.
HTC Advantage X7510 / XDA Flint
I didn’t go with any of those. I bought an XDA Flint on eBay. It was basically just a rebadged Advantage X7510. Again the specs were amazing 16gb hard drive, mini sd slot, hsdpa gps, two cameras. I was quickly was getting with Windows Mobile though. Developers were leaving the OS behind with many people moving to Android or iOS. Again the lack of a capacative screen was very annoying, using a stylus just seemed ridiculous. Having to use that damn bluetooth handset again just seemed ridiculous. I lasted a few months with the Flint.
My thing for white phones started here along with my thing for Android. I wanted to try something new and at this point Android was the underdog in the phone game. Predictably I was once again blown away by a mobile phone. The Hero even though it was quite laggy was amazing. Android just seemed like a total breath of fresh air. The Sense skin provided me with widgets for things I had only dreamt of with Windows Mobile. I quickly rooted it and started my weekly rom flashing. The Hero once on a custom rom was super speedy and it lasted my for over a year. Which for me was quite a while.
The HTC Desire, what can you say about the Desire that hasn’t been said before? I think I will go with “the HTC Desire was the phone that brought Android to the masses”. I loved it, it was so much faster than anything I had ever used before. The rom community was huge with people both sides of the ocean working on stuff for the Desire. I really did love the Desire. The only slight problem was my history with keyboards and big screens. I knew I had to do something about one or both of these issues. The next HTC announcement did not help my quandry.
HTC Desire Z
For me the worst possible thing they could announce would be a phone with a keyboard and a large screen phone. So in walks the Desire Z and the Desire HD. I went for the Desire Z as it was slightly cheaper. It took everything that was good with the Desire, improved it slightly and stuck a keyboard on the back. The Desire Z kept me happy for about 8 months. The direction HTC were moving in as regards locking bootloaders made me reluctant to move on.
A new bread of phones were starting to appear, big screens, dual cores, super thin and defintely no hardware keyboards. I knew a move was imminent I just didn’t know which manufacturer it would be with. I was surrounded by people with either a Galaxy S2, Sensation or Optimus 2X.
Dell Streak 5
Tesco were selling these off cheap. Somehow I found myself in the Tesco car park on a friday night, with no memory of how I got there. I bought the last one and spent the next few hours upgrading the firmware about six times. I really liked the large screen and the camera. Playing games and browsing the web just seemed perfect on a 5″ screen. It was getting a little long in the tooth though and custom roms seemed overly complicated. This was not going to be a keeper, I had it for about two months.
Samsung Galaxy SII
I got hold of a Galaxy S2 from a friend selling an unwanted upgrade. Dare I say it “I was once again blown away by a mobile phone”. It was so fast, compared to my overclocked Desire Z. Everything was so smooth, apps and games ran without the slightest hiccup. People at work who mainly owned HTC Desires were amazed at how thin it was and how good the camera was. I decided I would try and root the SII, which in itself was easy. The problem arose by choosing which rom to flash, there really was too much choice. No rom ever really seemed to get it right, there was always something that didn’t work or it had a problem with battery life. Rumours about the next Nexus device started to surface and realised that things would be easier in the world of the Nexus. So I waited a little while for it to come out and for the price to drop a bit.
Dell Venue Pro
Oops just clicked the “Buy” button again. Expansys were having a clearout and I really fancied trying out Windows Phone. Rumours of the upcoming Mango update made me want something to try this new update out on.
Then HTC invited us to the announcement event for the Titan and the Radar. Which both ran Mango, a few days after the event my new Dell phone had arrived, a few weeks after that the Mango update arrived. The Dell seemed a bit laggy running Mango, I knew how good it could be as the Titan was amazing running it.
The Dell Venue Pro took over as my second phone from the HP iPaq 514 and my pockets bulged like never before. I was carrying around a Galaxy SII and a Dell Venue Pro most days now.
Samsung Galaxy Nexus
My first Galaxy Nexus came from another friend selling an unwanted upgrade. It obviously came running Ice Cream Sandwich and I flashed a whole host of different roms, I still had a hankering for a larger phone though. The Galaxy Nexus just seemed like a normal sized phone and the Dell Venue Pro seemed like a small phone. I basically just wanted a updated version of the Ameo running Android.
Whilst on a city break away I accidentally walked into a T-Mobile shop and got a Vivacity. It wasn’t large, it didn’t have a keyboard, I guess I was just slightly hungover and looking forward to it becoming the next ultra hackable phone.
That never happened. I sold it. Funny thing about the Vivacity though is that it does look very much like the leaked pictures of the “new iPhone”.
Samsung Galaxy Note
My large phone yearning finally got satisfied with the largest phone I have ever owned arrived. It was what the Dell Streak had so badly wanted to be. From the moment I took it out of the box it has pretty much been by side. It really is an amazing device, all it could do with is a slide out keyboard version and I would be in heaven. I still have the Note today, in fact I typed up a good section of this post on it.
Nokia Lumia 800
My Windows Phone bug hadn’t quite been cured yet. So when my next contract upgrade came around I knew exactly what I wanted, a Cyan Lumia 800 that’s what. This became my no 2 phone for nights out and holidays etc. Everything seemed so much faster on the Lumia compared to the Dell Venue Pro, apps I thought were rubbish in the past now worked without a glitch. I still have the Lumia, I am waiting for the next update to WP7.8 before I decide whether to get rid or not. News apps seem few and far between, developers seem to be waiting for WP8.
I came across a super cheap Titan on eBay and just had to have it. Ever since the press event I have wanted one. It surpasses the other Windows Phone devices I have used. Again I am waiting for the WP7.8 update before I get rid. The Titan really does everything you could want in a Windows Phone device, the camera also is better than the Lumia as well. which tips my favour in it’s direction
Two more Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Two more?? Yes. I sold my original one to a friend and with the arrival of Jelly Bean I decided I should have kept it. So I tried to get a cheap one on eBay, but my luck with eBay had finally run out. I ended up accidentally buying a stolen phone which was IMEI blacklisted, it was basically useless. Amazingly I got the money back and reported the seller. So I did what any person would do, go and buy another one. This time I bought one, brand new in white from Handtec. I flashed Jelly Bean on it fairly quickly and I am currently in a bit of a lull, waiting for the next big thing to come along.
Here ends my timeline. I have tried a lot of different phones and as of yet I still haven’t used an iPhone. Which leads me to my next purchase.
Over the next few months there are lots of new phones coming out. I have my eyes on the following, the “new iPhone”, the refreshed HTC One X 2, the Galaxy Note 2 and the new Windows Phone 8 devices from HTC and Nokia. No doubt you will see or hear what I get on this very website. We also have a discussion thread on the forum where you can share your own history.
One last thing before you say it. Yes “my name is James Pearce and I have a problem”.