On Ten Years of Cellularity

Well approximately. I’ve actually had one of those beautiful devices a bit longer, but acquired my OWN cell phone for the first time on April 15, 2006. But, let’s take a quick jaunt into the history of its development, at least as it happened for me.

Ah, don’t those ringtones bring back so many memories? The first time I heard that teny sound up close was in 2000, when my cousin got a phone from my Aunt for emergencies. But when you’re in college, “emergencies” often means talking to girls. I did just that, with a “woman” and I use that term loosely, that I met via a chat line. I wonder if they still have those silly old things. This “woman” had to use 21 in every user address she had online, and, well I just thank all that is good that I couldn’t afford to go and investigate more about who she was as I was a broke college student in Charlotte and she resided in Cincinnati.

Anyhow, the relevance to cell phones is that we talked for an hour on that thing. I was so happy, because it was the first time I didn’t have to use the expensive Personal Security Code (remember those?) or go and get calling cards from the “C-Store,” as we called it at UNC Charlotte. Those things kind of ripped you off on the minutes, too. That cell phone nearly melted my hand and face though, as it got so hot!

In November of 2003, I received a phone from my Aunt that she covered billwise for the first six months. Given that I was post-college and pre-job, my finances weren’t yet ready to handle such costs. But she knew having this device would actually aid in my job search, and again it aided in my talking on a chat line as well. It only had 200 anytime minutes though, with unlimited nights and weekends, so I usually started use at 9, unless it was a holiday. Yay free holidays!

Then the “revolution” really began with the introduction of the LG 4650. I couldn’t wait to get this, because it would mean that I could access my contacts easily and would have caller ID, cool! I purchased this through Verizon, and have had the same number ever since. I was bummed that I could see how to set the alarms and such in the expansive manual, but still couldn’t do so because those menus didn’t talk.

Then in 08, I got an upgrade to the LG 9900, also known I think as the EnV. This brought the joy of texting into my life, which I loved as one who was always a bit shy when actually speaking. This has had social consequences though, and not all of them good. The problem with that phone is that it wouldn’t read the names attached to incoming messages, so I as a blind person had to carefully monitor conversations. On my boldest days, I would hold three at once and usually send the wrong thing to somebody at some time. “I’m sorry, what are you talking about?” This created many amusements.

The next and final non SmartPhone upgrade was to the Samsung Haven. Finally I could tell whom was messaging me! But, the battery on that thing was terrible, as I would be lucky if I could hold a conversation for 30 unplugged minutes. And I could still barely access anything else therein, even though this “simple” device was marketed as friendly to people who are blind.

And now, of course, I have my iPhone which will likely have to be pulled from my cold, dead hands. As some have pointed out, I don’t think it’s even fair to call these things “cell phones” anymore, as they do at least all of the basic things my computer does. But that part of the story I have covered numerous times, and no doubt will again soon.

So here’s to ten more years of connectedness to people 2000 miles away while conveniently ignoring the person sitting right beside me! Share some of your history as it relates to cell phones. I’m sure you have some amusing stories.

5 Responses to On Ten Years of Cellularity

  1. I got my first cell about 28 years ago when “cell phone” meant a device installed in your car. I worked for a regional cell phone company, so the phone and the minutes were FREE. I rapidly figured out driving and talking on the cell phone didn’t mesh, especially the time a wacko manager in another department called me to rant as I drove to work. I arrived and couldn’t remember anything about the drive there.

    I saw the whole technological development of cell phones: the first portable phone AKA “the brick” because it was the size of one. The miniaturization. The flip phones. The smartphones.

    My company got bought out. That company got bought out. And now it’s all Verizon Wireless.

    I loved my Droid Incredible and when it failed I got a Samsung Galaxy S4. I’m loyal to Android, but certainly appreciate the iPhone and may eventually migrate there.

  2. But when I tried to find a cell phone for my elderly, blind father I was not impressed by the choices. The available phones marketed to the elderly were still too difficult to use. Aging was his main issue at that point and blindness complicated it. Had he been younger, he would have mastered the technology as he did with his computer many years ago.

    The other issue was he never had a cell phone as he was retired by the time they came along, and didn’t think he needed one. His wife owned one that she used when they were out and about. Had he owned one when younger, it wouldn’t have been so daunting at age 90.

    So it’s important to keep up your technology skills, as you seem to do so well!

    • Ah, I remember the car phone a bit. Rode with someone in L.A. in 92, and she let me call my mom on the other side of the country. That was cool! And probably unimaginably expensive, but those folks had dough too.
      And, there is a lot of discussion about the phasing out of accessible but simple cell phones. This shouldn’t be happening, for sure. Someone at my job, an older blind woman, depends on others to place her calls because she can’t distinguish the tiny buttons. Not everyone wants a smartphone or should have to get one. I hope something is done to bring back some balance.

  3. My first phone was a little Nokia E51. How i loved that phone. I kept it until the buttons litterally stopped working lol. My 2nd phone was a Nokia e65. I then had a c 6. I now am on my 2nd iphone.

    I was scared of the iphone at first because of the lack of buttons. When i discovered a case with a keyboard though, that was me hooked.

    I wouldn’t be without my phone now. When i first got it though, it took me about half an hour to send a very basic text lol. Technology is wonderful 🙂

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