What does your cellphone history say about you? Not the disgusting details of your calls, pix and texts, the devices themselves. News last week that Vodafone is probably being sold has sent some of us wandering down mobile memory lane.
A decade ago most of us moved to iPhones and the like. But before that our devices changed wildly from year to year. Different brands, shapes, sizes and functions. The phones in our pockets defined our lives in the same way music, fashion, pets, sexual partners and diseases have.
So here are four mobile phones I have loved in my life and a taco looking one that I hated.
The Alcatel One Touch Easy
It was the year 1997. Titanic was breaking records, everyone was listening to The Prodigy and many of us had an Alcatel One Touch Easy. The phone came in lots of different colours, mine was a beautiful electric blue. It may have been "easy" but it wasn't smart. Holding so few numbers in its memory you often had to delete a friend when you met a new one.
At the time it looked like the future. In retrospect, the One Touch Easy was a chubby little battler with a World War I bunker window and a chode for an aerial. But the battery life was amazing. About a week long and if it ran out you could just hiff a couple of AAs in the back and keep going.
The NOKIA 3210
Twas the year 1999. The Matrix, The Sixth Sense and the wounding Phantom Menace were in cinemas. People were listening to Slim Shady and Californication but mainly TLC. When the 3210 came out our lives changed forever. Solid with curved edges and an internal aerial it was a thing of beauty that sold 160 million units. T9 predictive txt made writing so fast there was no need to make an awkward call ever again. Best of all it featured the mighty snake game, pushing ablution times through the roof.
The Nokia N-Gage
Twas the year 2003. We were watching The Fellowship of the Ring, Finding Nemo and Love Actually. Large numbers of Kiwis were listening to The Darkness and Outkast. I was spending a lot of time with a taco. The N-Gage aimed to mix the Game Boy with a phone. Unfortunately, it did both badly. As a result of that and its humiliating taco shape, it sold a meagre 3 million units.
In October of that year, my mate Spooge was walking home from a pub in London. His N-Gage proudly at his ear. Out of nowhere, a chav yelled, 'Why don't you eat that stupid taco instead of talking into it you f***ing muppet'. In retrospect, it was a fair call.
The Motorola RAZR V3 ultra-slim flip phone
Twas the year 2004. We were watching Spiderman 2, Anchorman, The Incredibles and Mean Girls. We were listening to Hot Fuss by The Killers and The College Drop Out by Kanye.
Many of us had a phone so slim we could hardly feel it in our pockets. The RAZR looked like it had been zapped out of Tron. Features included an ultra-low-quality camera and an impressively short battery life. Best of all when you finished a phone call you slammed it shut with a satisfying snap. There was zero chance of a butt dial with the RAZR.
The Blackberry curve 8300
Twas the year 2005 . We were watching Batman Begins, Children of Men, Wedding Crashers and as much of King Kong as we could stay awake for. The phone du jour was the BlackBerry Curve. Lots of buttons for rapid emailing. The first phone to properly work online. Everyone was Blackberry messaging each other for free. RIM were doing the job. But the era of the iPhone was coming. By 2008 the clown car parade of vastly different looking phones was over. For better or worse its been slight variations on the black mirror ever since.
The American author Dave Eggers said, "Books have a unique way of stopping time in a particular moment and saying: Let's not forget this."
He could have swapped "books" with "cellphones" and still had something. Equally, Gandalf could have said, "It is not for us to decide which cellphones we get. All we have to decide is what to do with the cellphones that are given us."
Or as my late grandmother's favourite TV show didn't say, "Like sand through the hourglass so are the cellphones of our lives."
One Touch Easy, 3210, RAZR, Blackberry and the taco. I will never forget ye.