March 4, 2011

Cell Phone History

Engadget recently published a story where their staff writers wrote about the first cell phones they owned. It's an interesting read and definitely says something about American culture in the 90s/early 2000s and the evolving role that technology plays in our lives. It is also interesting to see how technology, in the way of mobile phones, provide us with a set of common experiences. Their story prompted me to think about the phones I have owned and used over the years. Read on after the break.

Dad's car phone
The first real semi-portable phone I used was the car phone my Dad had installed in his car in the mid 90s. I remember how cool I thought it was that you could call someone no matter where you were. Whenever I would ride with him somewhere, I would always ask to call Mom at home just to be able to use the car phone.

Dad's cell phones
The first cell phones I used regularly where two Nokia candybar phones my Dad got from his bank in the late 90s/early 2000s. The first one was some variation of the Nokia 5110 and the second was some variation of the Nokia 5110i. These phones were really popular at the time and where known for their changeable covers. Changeable faceplates were an attempt to allow you to customise your phone when other options did not exist at the time. He would let me borrow them when I would go somewhere that I would then need to get picked up from, like debate tournaments. What I remember best about these phones was playing Snake on them.

My first cell phone
My first cell phone was a LG VX3300 which I got in August 2005 when I left for Colgate. It was a pretty basic phone without a camera. This phone was pretty unremarkable but had a pretty good battery life and a couple games. The phone's design reflected the popularity of flip phones at the time. It also had a changeable faceplate but that fad had mainly died by 2005. This LG served reliably for over two years before it got replaced.

Prepaid Scottish Phone
I had a Motorola C139 for a couple months in the fall of 2007 as a prepaid phone that I used while studying abroad. It was the worst phone ever. The volume was really low and couldn't be adjusted. The phone was awkwardly small in a way that made it hard to hold. The best feature of the phone was that you could set timers for the phone to automatically turn off and on. It was really useful to save battery power.
LG Chocolate
When I got back to America, I used Verizon's new phone every 2 years credit to replace my other LG phone with the 2nd version of the LG Chocolate. This phone was a big step up from my older phone. It had a 1.3 Megapixel Camera and could play music (but I never actually did).

Second Scottish Phone
Since I liked the slider design of the above LG phone, I bought an unlocked Motorola ROKR Z6 to use when I moved back to Scotland. This was the first phone I used to access the internet. The phone still serves as a backup phone and is used when my parents come to visit.

First Smartphone
My current phone is an HTC Hero, which runs Android. This is probably my favourite phone so far. Besides the fact that it has so many features available and you can access the internet anywhere, the Android OS works really well. The widgets that provide you with information at a glance, rather than having to open an app, are a big plus over other phones. The phone is also one of the first phones to have a Teflon coating. Even after owning the phone for over a year it still looks greats.

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