I can’t remember exactly when I first decided to buy a mobile phone, but it was probably some time in 1999. I bought a two year package from John Lewis (yes, really) that included an Ericsson T18 with line rental and inclusive calls/SMS messaging from one2one, but no contract. All the line rental paid for up front and the freedom to change networks at the end. It must have been a good deal for the consumer as they had stopped doing these packages by the time I decided that the Ericsson, with it’s “my first phone” looks and silly blinky light, needed to be replaced. However, by this point I had also realised why one2one was sometimes referred to as one2none, so I switched to Orange pay as you go and got a nice ‘n’ cheap Nokia 3210 with a new number. In 2002, work gave me a Nokia 6210 for no apparent reason, as I didn’t need a mobile phone to do the job, but I accepted and used my own SIM as it was a far better phone than the 3210. Time passed… phones got better. What I wanted now was one with a camera.
For Christmas 2004, Topper gave me a Nokia 3220, and a few months later I managed to lay my hands on the attachment that allowed me to write messages in the air. That was the only reason I wanted the phone – not for the disco lights that flashed when it rang. Honestly, I was too enthralled by the idea of ‘wave messaging’ that I hadn’t even noticed that it came with other flashy lights. Other people noticed though and I soon found out how to switch them off, unlike all the other people who had the same phone as me (who were probably all under the age of 15). Much as I liked the idea of lights and cameras, I still really only used my phone for sending text messages and so remained on a pay as you go tariff. More new phones were released all the time but were too expensive unless you took out a contract and I couldn’t justify all that line rental when I hardly ever made a call. However, 2006 marked a mobile turning point for me. I was sucked in by the advertising for the Nokia 7370 and, as it was not available on pay as you go, finally took out a contract. Orange provided a cheap one with a bunch of inclusive texts so all was good… apart from the phone itself, as it happens.
18 months ago I ended that contract and defected to T-Mobile, who offered me a nice cheap Flext contract with a shiny Sony Ericsson K810i – a *vast* improvement on my previous phone. Until that point, I’d not been too bothered about having a camera on my phone, but the awesome macro setting on this little beauty meant that I took rather more of an interest. Most of these images were bluetoothed (if there is such a word) to my macbook before finding their way to the internet… but then came Twitter. With my frequent use of Twitpic, I figured I needed a phone that I could easily tweet photos from. With my new-found love of whiling away the commute using mobile interwebs, I needed a phone I could browse easily from. And, with my total laziness, I figured that a phone offered by T-Mobile would make things a lot easier. In 2009 it’s all about the G1 baby!
UPDATE: I had a clear out in April 2012 and found a few old mobiles (including a couple of Topper’s). The photo at the top features a few of these old phones, plus my current HTC Desire Z. The other photo is of me demonstrating Nokia’s “wave messaging”.