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My mobile ownership journey

Thursday, September 17, 2015

/ by Srikanth Eswaran
On a holiday me and my wife started discussing about whether I need to dump my iPhone 6+ and go for that new shiny Samsung Note 5 which was just launched, or perhaps the 6s, or the upcoming nexus phones. This is when my wife asked me whether I have kept a tab on how many phones I had purchased all my life. Well, I remembered and here is the list :-)


Early 2000 : Motorola CD928
This Motorola was an awesome beauty way back in year 2000. It was a fashion to flip out the keypad, the large LCD text screen and the gorgeous antenna. Costing almost Rs.10000/- way back this was a status symbol to possess. Added to that the only mobile network at that time was JT Mobiles (which is now our famour Airtel) Not to mention outgoing calls were Rs.7 a minute and incoming was Rs.3 a minute. People still wondered whether as a college passout into industry I was mad to buy this expensive a phone, but the stares it got satisfied the ownership.
2002 : Nokia 3300
Nokia’s evolution from 3100 turned out to be the flashy 3300 and the gimmicky ringtones kept everyone tapping their feet. Solid battery life, some great call clarity, this was the phone doing the rounds in Malaysia when I used to stay there at that time
2003 : Samsung V200
Samsung’s V200 was their early foray into the camera flip phone segment and after much of analysis this phone was mine for a while until I returned to India.
2003: HP iPAQ
The HP iPAQ was already doing good with PDA’s and with GSM they took it a step further to have a portable computer running windows CE in your pocket. A phone, a PDA, life was great!
For the decade ending 2010, and beyond until now
Motorola A1200
With a stylus and a brilliant resistive touchscreen, even though the options of font were too small, this phone was capable of being a PDA and a phone at the same time. Very pocketable, loud speaker, and amazing call clarity were hallmarks of a motorola A1200. What followed was the razor which went on to create history, but somehow I did not own that!
Nokia 6600
It was Symbian’s best phone at the time of its rule, with users swearing by its quality. Such was the power of Nokia 6600 that merely owning it was a status symbol. The joystick, its easy to use options, buttons, and some great battery life with needless to mention great call quality, this was the phone to have.
Panasonic A100
I was always a huge fan of little phones, and the A100 from panasonic proved itself to be the mighty Jerry of the Tom and Jerry league. Its cool blue lighting, and its somewhat difficult to use buttons, its miniaturization - it was a product unique to its category and surprisingly good quality of calls.
Olive Compacta
The olive Compact from olive telecom is not a mere play toy though it looks so. Started off at Rs.999 and now at Rs.575 or so, this phone is a testimony that the category it belongs to still has takers even now. I still have the phone, and it works even now. No nonsense phone, nothing smart, just the calls. Absolutely unique and cool
The Nokia Asha Saga - The 3 series asha
Nokia was struggling to infuse fresh life into its Series 40 based phones with the Asha series. They suffered from lags, useless apps, though had a good call quality. However the hardware was still cool to hold and use. Since there was a need for a dual sim phone, with the advent of dual sim needs, this one went out of my house
The Nokia asha 5 series
For me I felt the 501 was an evolution of phones like the panasonic, olive, and moto a1200. Nokia had their brilliant design language stand out, though the software was extremely slow and did not match upto what the industry expected. I still have this phone, though do not use it anymore. Some things are there to be seen and to make you happy everytime you see them.
The Windows Saga
Lumia 710

Nokia’s effort at moving to Windows was some sort of disaster with the 710 and earlier models with the operating system itself being no more than a dud. Frequent hangs, crashes, and glitches was MS’ way of introducing their new mobile OS
Lumia 1520
After a span of 2-3 years I decided to give Nokia another chance and purchased their outrageously priced 1520 flagship. This was the best Nokia ever produced, barring another model which had the 41mp camera. In every way the screen was the best, the phone was a beauty to use. However the lack of apps even after so many years, put me down and in order to salvage some cost out of the loss, I had to sell it out, thereby also signifying my exit with Windows once and forever.
The Alcatel Ice Cube 803
Alcatel does not call it the ice cube for no reason. The 803 series is a brilliant resistive screen phone (even in 2015) as its sold for a purpose. The SAR rating for this phone is one of the best in the market which means your brains wont fry even if you talk on this phone for hours together. I still have this, and use it sometimes for overseas calls that last more than couple of hours. Absolutely cool on the ear, and does not provide anything else fantastic
The Android Saga
Dell XCD35
About sometime after Apple starting rolling out their smartphones, Android which started off somewhat in a lacklustre way started catching up. The Dell XCD 35 was a brilliantly designed product off the shelf and it was running Android 2.0+ After some while of using it, I had to give it to my wife who used it to the hilt before dumping it to a mobile shop guy who wanted it for the spare parts to repair a customer’s similar phone. Till today, there are two brands that impress me - dell and Blackberry - they have always had some solid designs on their mobiles and this has led to some good models in the past including the dell Venue and venue pro.
Lenovo K900
Lenovo was a master of industrial design and this clearly showed in their K900 which had Android married to Intel processors. The phone itself was just super awesome, but gaming made it hot (not warm) and their speaker and mic quality let them down on this model. I had to return it to flipkart for a refund simply becuase the most important functionality of the mic and speaker were horrible. They learnt their problem and had since launched K910 and more lately their k3 series lower than Rs.15000 where they are playing in their field well. More on that later
Hello Moto G
After Motorola’s sad butchering in the late 2000s, they came back with Android and the new Moto G. This phone with stock android still remains popular in many avatars even today. It had the most oustanding vibrate mode, some exceptional call quality which was typical of moto phones since a decade, but with less RAM though not necessarily slow. The battery tended to go weak after a year or so, but my wife still uses this, and she can swear by the quality even today. No wonder then that Motorola is again on the upswing launching the play and style editions of Moto X shortly expected.
Hello Moto E
If you like something, and your people at home also like something, then you need to buy two of the same immediately. In order to make my father in law happy, I purchased the Moto E which was a lesser child of the moto family with reduced hardware but somewhat still usable
LG G2
The LG G2 was by far one of the best android phones I used in my entire life. The user interface was silly in my opinion, but very usable, it had IR, it had wireless flash access, and everything else one could imagine. They pioneered the backside buttons concept which quickly caught on among other manufacturers. It was great to hold, with a premium feel and had a brilliant screen. However, the user interface grew on me so much that I felt that I really needed a change beyond a year. No amount of rooting, or otherwise could refresh this on the LG so I had to let it go. One of the good things about LG is the amount of software support they provide where you can brick your phone entirely and bring it back to showroom condition all by yourself. However the android updates were a pain to get as well.
Nexus 4
The Nexus 4 was an example of how NOT to design a phone experiment that LG undertook. Glass on both sides, phone getting extremely hot which was identified as a design flaw all over the world with no solution in sight, my phone just cracked on the rear glass on its own. Just was kept on the table and boooom. It was getting so hot to even keep on the ear and make a call that the only thing I wanted to do with it was to dump it in the recycle bin. No wonder then that the Nexus 5 was rolled out and this one went into oblivion. LG’s two different faces between the Nexus 4 and the G2.
The HTC 1
After LG, right there was the HTC 1 which was yet another phone which made some waves in the android world. They had one of the best speakers almost rivaling apple itself, and the premium feel was one of the best in the market. Somehow HTC UI never really improved and evolved over time and their keyboard though one of the best started feeling boring after a while. With a difficult decision to make I had to let it go for good.
HTC 616
After sometime I was using HTC 616 as my secondary phone, but with its internal 4GB memory, and an absolutely laggy OS, it was not a difficult decision for me to get rid of it. Sometimes I dont understand why a company like HTC goes into this low end business and gets screwed without knowing how to produce what can sell in large numbers. Anyway, now that I have seen two HTC phones, I am done with HTC for good.
Xiaomi Redmi Note
This one single company from China has caused so much ripples in the indian mobile industry that perhaps even Micromax did not cause. Their product the Redmi Note is one of the best in the price range, and my dad still uses the phone even though it may have a cracked screen. A bit laggy with 2GB ram, still Xiaomi has one of the best user interfaces and the hardware itself is solid bang for the buck. At less than Rs.10000 there is still no phone to beat this hands down. This company beat the Oppos, Gionees and many others so badly that even Lenovo had to bow down to the pricing versus quality pressure with their A and k3 series.
The Lenovo A6000+
More recently I purchased my Lenovo A6000+ for Rs.6000. An android phone this cheap and of reasonable quality was all was needed to set this market on fire for low end phones. The K3 note followed through as well pretty soon. The ViBe UI from lenovo, is slick, fast and cuts the crap out of user interface design. With two 4G sim slots, memory card slot and a brilliant screen for the price who the hell cared for anything else? This now replaced my Alcatel and HTC as my secondary phone and is doing the duty for me at the moment at home.
The Blackberry Saga
You know there is this company which was one of the best in the market and from Canada, that the entire world once stood up for them with respect. They had the best quality hardware, an advanced and straightforward user interface and some really great handsets. Blackberry was the businessman’s best friend forever.
Blackberry Curve 8520
The blackberry had many models including the flip, pearl, etc which were hits in their own right, and there was a time in India where they were heavily marketing the Curve series. For some god damned reason, they always bundled their own Blackberry talk plans with the operators, which they did away with after sometime. They had and still have a huge fan following in Indonesia primarily now and some people in India. The Curve series had a navigation trackpad, physical keyboards and some exceptional call qualities and it was an absolute joy to use. However my patience with it ran out after sometime having seen other better models with Apple and Android in the market.
Blackberry Storm touch
True to their tradition BB brought about the storm touch with the clickable glass panel which was funky, unique and silly at the same time. I loved clicking the screen wherever I wanted and it grabbed eyeballs all around my office at the time of using it. However pretty soon, I felt it was bulky and not so intuitive and started bringing me into boredom state once more. So it had to go for good. The thing with Blackberry is there are buyers who are fans of BB and only true fans will understand the brand and the phones. others will not.
Blackberry Z3
After many failures trying to compete with Apple and Android, BB still did not give up, they brought in their z3 with android sideloading and other such features to still remain relevant in the app store market. I decided to give them another chance after seeing the way they goofed up on earlier chances. Their CEO was replaced, and now a chinese CEO took over and I hoped that after so much of layoffs and cost cutting they would have learnt the lesson. But it was not to be. It does not mean I was against their hardware. I loved it. Really. Honestly. From the bottom of my heart, i loved blackberry. I will always love them. For what they were, not what they are or what they become. But that is one thing as opposed to living with their products day in and out.
The z3 is a brilliant piece of hardware. Truly well made. But the software sucks. big time. Its nice to use. Start thinking apps and you are done. I mean really finished. I had to sell the instrument within one week of buying it. I have never decided against blackberry this soon in my life ever. News has it that BB is busy working on their next pure android device the “VENICE” and its expected to some out sometime soon. Real soon. But for now I will remain far away from them. Once bitten Thrice shy.
The Apple journey
iPhone 3GS
Colourful icons, milky white body, lots of apps - who did not like Steve Jobs and his product the iPhone. This was truly a game changer of sorts. The iPhone, 2G, 3G later, it was time for the 3GS - which was faster and thinner than the 3rd generation iPhone. When I first held the iPhone in my hand, I truly felt the influence a smartphone can have in one’s life. I mean really it was not hard to appreciate the quality, the build the software everything put together so nicely. Steve had changed the world one product at a time and this was the beginning of domination.
iPhone 4S
It became a policy for me to skip one version and go for the improved versions. After two years of using iPhone 3GS which by the way was the longest ever product usage time for me, I decided to switch to the 4S. Similar screen size, less curves, more squarish, and thinner by a margin. Nothing changed except having more and more apps and a better camera.
iPhone 6plus
The one thing I was fed up of with Apple was the screen size. With their mentally retarted thinking they thought they could continue changing the world with just a 4 inch screen. While all others were moving steadily towards larger screens. It took them two years or more to move out of the 5 and 5S to bring in the 6 and 6plus and now the 6s all sporting bigger displays. This was precisely the reason I was on android with bigger screens getting pampered. I was lying in wait for the big screen Apple and here it was. Beginning of this year 2015, I upgraded to the 6 plus. And I have only one word for it. Gorgeous. I mean it. The screen, the battery everything is great. And when you buy and apple year after year, you know what to expect. Or what not to expect. And it makes me at home with that understanding. I am appreciating a lot of things with apple. Its stability, usability the components used etc. But even the flatter look is wearing thin. The bezels around the phone are irritating. Not being able to transfer something using bluetooth is irritating. And every other such thing is irritating. So it will be only time before I give away this one also. For good. And the iphone 6S is no good either with just force touch, better camera, and 4k recording - something all other brands already have for a long time. I will definitely always sell an apple with a heavy heart no doubt mostly due to the feeling that Apple is not giving what the market is expecting. The claps are getting fewer and fewer during the keynotes and one day deathly silence shall fill the room. I really hope Apple turns around much faster than disaster strikes. And there is no history of any one company enjoying number 1 status for a long time. Headweight must not get in the way of understanding market sentiment. And I wish Apple hears.
This then my friends is the entire Saga of owning phones in my life. Clearly every product has excited me for some reason or the other and they have also left me for some really good reason or the other. The phones shall keep coming thick and fast and they shall also be owned thick and fast. But in these times of choices in plenty if any phone can be with me for a minimum of 2 years as my iphone 3gs did then, you will understand that history has again be created with a product worthy of ownership for so long. Till then, I hope you enjoyed this read.
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