Archive for August, 2010

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Cell history (Me)

August 15, 2010

Inspired by Arthur’s recollection of his old cellphones, I thought I’d do the same and recap my cellular phones of past. It’s a nice trip down memory lane and definitely shows a little insight as to why I have such an obsession with cellphone news and tech. Let’s start with my first cellphone:

LG 510w

I didn’t get a cellphone until sometime in the middle of high school. A lot of school projects were starting to lead me towards afterschool sessions and going over to friend’s houses, being able to contact my family members so they knew my whereabouts would definitely come in handy. This little guy definitely did the job as a simple flip phone with monochrome screen, simple ringtones, and simple size. It was tiny and thin. It looked light-years ahead of other phones at the time and I certainly felt that I had a phone that looked better than many of my peers.

Sony Ericsson T637

Above are the Sony Ericsson T610 and T630. I wanted the T610 right when I saw it, an awesome candybar phone with a camera on the back. The body of the phone was basically innovative at the time, it was designed so that you would hold the phone sideways to take pictures. Just like a real camera. The T630 was released as a slight update and thus was where my love of white phones came from. Getting either of these phones would have made me happy. But I didn’t get them, I ended up with this guy:

This is the Sony Ericsson T637. Basically, Cingular decided they wanted the T630, but not in white. Idiots. So, they got one in black and named it the T637. Basically the same phone I loved but not the the color I enjoy. That’s ok, I still enjoyed the phone very much. This phone also sparked my love of Sony Ericsson phones.

Motorola V330

At this time, my parents decided to try out T-Mobile as a cell provider. We’d been using AT&T/Cingular before that, so a change was due. We jumped over and that meant new phones. At this time, the biggest feature I wanted in my phone was the ability to set MP3 ringtones. This phone had that and wasn’t really a bad phone. The only problem was the physical shape. This was my second flip phone, but it paled in beauty compared to the LG up top. This phone was thick, heavy, unwieldy, it flipped terribly awkwardly, and it was just boringly plain. It wasn’t cute nor sexy. It was almost generic. As a cellphone, it served it’s purpose to me which was to make calls and to play my MP3 ringtones. This phone actually sparked my disdain of flip phones for years to come.

LG Chocolate V8500

T-Mobile’s network was drastically smaller back then and thus their reception and signal in my area was painfully weak. My parents hated the service and we jumped ship when our contract ended. We decided now to use Verizon after hearing so many good things about it from friends. I’d been following cellphone news for a while and knew that LG had released a new phone in a slider form factor. I also knew that they released a special version for US Verizon. So, I thought why not, let’s try to get that. I still remember that just weeks before I was going to get one, Verizon announced a white version of the phone. Perfect, this would be my chance to get a phone in that special color. Verizon was (and still is, in my opinion) amazing. The signal was strong almost everywhere I went. And the phone was awesome. The sliding mechanism was a great form factor and combined with the stark white body and red highlight keys, the phone stood out in a crowd. It was also pretty small when it was closed, something I hold in high regards when it comes to phones. Only problem of the phone was that everything was locked down. Just getting a ringtone onto the phone took a roundabout “hack” just to get it going. Verizon really crippled a lot of the phones features.

Apple iPhone 3G

Because of the over-controlling nature of Verizon, my family went back to AT&T and for it’s rollover minutes. This was my chance to not only break off and really get my own phone line, it was my chance to pick a phone all to my choosing. I’d been wanting a smartphone for a while but it wasn’t until the original iPhone that they became elegant. With the iPhone 3G, it was love at first sight. For weeks, I visited the Apple Store and played with the display models. I actually learned how to use every feature of the phone way before I owned one. When I did get it, it changed my life. I loved music and now I carried tons of music with me at all times. Internet access and an industry leading web browser meant I could access nearly every website out there, basically a computer in my pocket. And it was still a phone, albeit one entirely different from any I had before. Entirely touch screen-based, using the LG Chocolates touch keys had prepped me for this new interface method. I took it quick and strong, the iPhone solidified what I’d come to love, cellphones. They were always something I loved, so much capability and potential. The iPhone 3G reinforced that.

Apple iPhone 4

After two years on the iPhone 3G, the veritable smartphone of choice had become a major part of my life. I used it constantly and was starting to get anxious for the next release. I had skipped over the 3GS and was now running on stale hardware. The announcement of the iPhone 4 blew me away. A radically new design (for iPhones) and upgrades in almost every hardware aspect made me want one, badly. I was set on getting one and that meant the 3G was finally going away. I ended up selling my 3G two weeks before the release of the iPhone 4. Those two weeks were pretty difficult because I didn’t have my MP3 player, my portable internet browser, nor did I have a nice phone interface, no fun mini games, nor apps to help me get info. I ended up going to bed early that first night in total silence. That silence used to be filled with music while I surfed the web in bed. It was an aggravating two weeks that seemed slow and dull. It turned my life gray. Once I had iPhone 4 in my hands, my life became vibrant once again. I love smartphones and cannot fathom using a feature phone (dumbphones) as my daily anymore.

What’s next?

Cellphone’s are advancing so quickly now that they’ve quickly become the talk of the town for many tech shows. Google’s Android OS is being updated at such an astonishing rate that it’s extremely difficult keeping up with the devices it’s coming out on. The common trend was to go all touch for the device, but a new trend is larger screens. Sprint’s Evo 4G and Motorola’s Droid X both sport huge screen and are a blast to type on.

Also, the camera’s are drastically improved. Of course, megapixel count isn’t everything because the iPhone 4 only has 5 mpx but takes arguably the best camera phone pics. However, the cameras found on the smartphones released by Motorola, HTC and Samsung are all taking amazing pictures. They are definitely giving excellent reason to leave your point-and-shoot cameras at home.

The next major change in phones will definitely have to be processor power and battery. The processors found in almost all of the top end smartphones are running at 1 GHz. That’s amazing since just a few years ago that number would have been great for desktop computers or later on a laptop. Rumors are flying around that the next wave is to break past 1GHz and to move towards dual-core. That’s incredible! With all this processing power, the battery comes into question.

In all these technological innovations, the battery has seen few changes in a very, very long time. Basically, we’ve learned how to use the current gen batteries more efficiently, but we have not learned how to improve the battery. This has become the weak point in cellphones and it’s holding us back. Smartphones are now allowed to be sexy and thus, they have come up with designs that are thin and light. That means the battery is small and it becomes the stagnating point in this ever evolving industry. Besides having all these great hardware innovations, I feel that when the battery receives a major change, the mobile world will be flipped upside-down. We can only dream.

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