I’ve got a new phone!

Nothing special about this you might say. Some are in the habit of changing their phones whenever a new model from their favoured brands is released. I’m not like that. I’ve had my last phone for four or five years and although it works well and meets all my needs it’s gotten into the habit of shutting down/ not starting up sometimes. I can get it going again but it’s a bit of a ‘try and try again’ process and not one you’d like to need to invoke if you need your phone immediately. So I’ve got a new phone and more about that later.

I’ve been aware of mobile phones since the early 80s. They were still regarded as car phones because you needed some means of carting the enormous batteries around with you. They were prevalent in the Nordic countries and the proud assets of the salespeople for the company I worked for at the time.

I remember specifically being driven by a salesman to a dinner in Paris when it seemed that we would be a little late for our appointment. He said he’d ring the restaurant to advise the other party. ‘oh no’ I thought. We’d have to find a parking space (in Paris?), then a phone and make the call. But no my man had a car phone so we didn’t break stride as it were. Easy.

I also noted the habit of said salespeople of wrestling the phone from its cradle whenever making or receiving a call even though the microphones and speakers were perfectly good for hands free operation. They wouldn’t do it now of course but in those days people hadn’t got their heads around phone conversations being public events.

Slowly batteries got smaller and I used company phones in the early 90s which were genuinely portable although you’d need a brief case to carry them.

We got mobiles which you could carry on your person by the mid 90s although the battery life was nothing to rejoice. We got our first private one on an Orange contract in about 1994 and I got my first company mobile in about 1998. I seem to remember that they were both Motorola phones but they might equally have been Nokia ones because those two brands dominated at the time.

As battery technology improved the trend was to smaller and smaller phones, the smallest ones would literally fit into the palm of your hand, and there was the continuing debate about flip phones and whether or not it was best to place the microphone by your mouth instead of close to your ear!

It was also the time when the US operated with a different system so you needed a ‘triband’ phone to be able to operate on both sides of the Atlantic. Nokia became the dominant brand and there wasn’t a smart phone in sight. The only extra functionality delivered was messaging and photography and some pretty rudimentary internet access and email.

I resisted the camera phone for a long time and although the email was useful I wasn’t thrilled with it. Of course the email standard was set by the Blackberry and I had one of them by virtue of my position at the County Council in the mid to late 2000s.

The world of course changed in 2007 when Apple launched the iPhone and the world of telephony turned itself inside out. No longer did we have phones which might have done something else, now we had internet access devices with which you could also make phone calls. And those devices had a user interface which emulated the ones that people used on their computers, and which Apple already had on it’s iPODs, and not one which had a direct link to the push button telephone.

I got my first smartphone in 2011 and that was an HTC. You don’t see that brand much in the UK anymore but HTC is still in business and sold rights to much of its technology to Google. I subsequently switched to Sony, I’ve always favoured Sony and have only recently weaned myself off Sony TVs, before my latest seismic move to Samsung this week.

I’ve got an S20 FE and I chose it because it came in at less than £500, I run SIM only with GiffGaff at £6/month, and is a recent enough model to ensure a good three years of support.

It’s been an ‘interesting’ experience. Although adding my apps to the new phone is straight forward you’ve still go to input all the associated sign in credentials. That’s generally simple enough but a little tedious until you get to apps like Authenticator which Microsoft uses as a part of its two factor authentication. The problem is that as you sign in to it it asks you to authenticate using itself which you can’t do because it’s not yet set up! Never mind you eventually find your way around.

Anyway as of today I’m largely set up and my ‘essential’ apps after the phone itself, internet, email and calender (WhatsApp, NHS, CoOp, Fitbit, Waze etc) are all up and working. I am a committed smartphone user and will remain so. Fingers crossed it doesn’t die on me when I need it.


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