I recently stumbled across an old post in which I catalogued my mobile phone ownership right back to the early 90’s. Two things occurred to me, firstly I must had much more time on my hands back in 2006 to be blogging about that kind of thing, and secondly that the phones I’ve owned since then
have been are much better!
In the 2006 post, the latest phone was the fantastically rubbish Nokia 6111, which from memory barely lasted much beyond the time I wrote that post! I replaced it with an Apple iPhone 3G, my first touchscreen smartphone. I’d resisted earlier versions of the iPhone, waiting for 3G connectivity to be added. Lots of things have been said about the iPhone, good and bad, but it truly did change personal telecommunications and portable computing forever. At the time I considered a Nokia E71 because of it’s physical keyboard, as I still wasn’t sure this whole touchscreen thing would take off. Soon after I bought the iPhone, my wife did get an E71 and after using it I knew I had made the right choice.
But then came iOS 5 and the iPhone 3G became next to useless. Excruciatingly slow and practically unusable. Many of my friends bought the iPhone 4 as soon as it came out and in comparison my phone was a joke. Similar tasks would take 200-300% longer, if they succeeded at all. So it was clearly time to upgrade, but my recent experiences with the iPhone had convinced me they weren’t worth the exorbitant prices being asked.
I’d heard about this Android thing and so I chose to change camp, ordering a HTC Incredible S outright since I was out of contract and online prices were much cheaper than in store. It wasn’t the top of the line, just a solid step-up from my iPhone and very reasonably priced. I’d never heard of HTC before that but HTC Sense won me over, particularly the huge clock on the home screen!
The Incredible S kept working quite well, but did start to slow down a fair bit after Ice Cream Sandwich. iPhone’s were still too expensive and so I didn’t even really consider them. The latest high-end Android phones were very powerful and impressive, but I couldn’t really justify the price.
Then Google and LG released the Nexus 4 for $350. Done, take my money! After the supply and delivery nightmare that marred the phone’s release, I did eventually get one and it’s been awesome ever since. I have work-supplied iPhone 4 and my wife just got an iPhone 5S, so I keep an eye on what’s happening in the Apple camp, but later this year I’ll probably upgrade to the Nexus 6 (or whatever they call it).
So why are these devices better than the old ‘dumbphones’?
Their extendable life through re-use!
- My iPhone 3G became my wife’s phone after she grew tired of the ‘eccentric’ Nokia E71, and it served her very well for another year at least, and now she uses it as an iPod in her office.
- The Incredible S also saw duty with my wife when her Galaxy Note was being repaired, and is now the property of our kids—still perfect for streaming media over WiFi and playing games.
- And when the Nexus 4 soon retires it too will more than likely serve out its remaining years in the hands of the kids.
These modern devices are far more versatile. Besides being given to friends and family as hand-me-downs, ‘retired’ smartphones are great as media players and games consoles as I’ve already mentioned, but there plenty of other suggestions, from baby monitors to remote controls to a digital recipe books. Or you could turn the smartphone into a single function device, such as an in-car GPS or digital photo frame.
(This isn’t really surprising since smartphones are closer to computers than telephones, and there are many uses for old desktops and laptops: media centre PC, file server, web server, surveillance system, kids homework workstation etc.)
How have you re-used or repurposed your old smartphones?