My love affair with cell phones began 7 years ago at the age of 19. I purchased the Samsung SPH-N200 and signed up with Sprint. I had just moved into my first apartment and this was my main source of communication with the outside world. Little did I know how this technology would change the way I lived.
I was employed by CompUSA at the time so I was lucky enough to get one of those $15-unlimited-everything plans. My job also allowed me to “swap” my phone whenever a new model was released. The first upgrade came when “color screen” was the main selling point. Over the next 3 years I owned just about every model phone that Sprint released. The form factors shrunk and the screen resolution improved, but there were no killer-apps or features that come to mind.
Having owned 30+ phones I began to get disappointed with the lack of innovation. Each time I got a new phone I would have the tedious process of moving over my contacts along with learning the new interface. Then I would discover how some phones lacked the basic functionality of my older phones, made years ago, and this frustrated me more.
Being a child of the Internet, I did see the potential though. I remember my dad tethering his analog phone to his laptop and browsing the web. This was not the intended purpose of the phone, but it worked. Soon the carriers began locking down and blocked this functionality.
Little by little more web features began to come to the phones I was using. You could browse several WAP sites inside your carriers “walled garden” but the overall experience sucked. There was no freedom and that is what turned me off to the mobile web.
So I waited and I waited for some company to break the mold and give me the freedom I desired and change cell phones forever. That day came January 9, 2007, when Steve Jobs officially unveiled the iPhone. However, I ran into two problems:
- I was not a customer of AT&T
- I could not afford the phone
The iPhone would go on to win Time Magazine’s Invention of the Year. There were many critics of the iPhone (including myself) but you can not ignore how it turned the industry upside down. In late 2007, Google followed suit by establishing the Open Handset Alliance.
When I first read the Google news, I knew right then I would buying one of these phones. I had tossed around the idea of switching to AT&T, but I was not a Mac user and I had never owned an Apple product. On the other hand, I was signed up and using just about every Google service available. When the rumors started trickling out that T-Mobile would be the first provider, I was sold being that I was a current customer.
One year later, I pre-ordered the HTC G1 and was one of the first to get mine delivered. I am a huge nerd, but it was hard to hold back the excitement when I got my UPS tracking number. Several days later I would come home to the white envelope and open up the next chapter of my life.
Call me crazy for placing such significane on a single phone, but the Android platform represents a huge leap over anything before its time. It will change the way we organize and access all information. If we have come this far in seven years, I find it really hard to imagine what device will be in my pocket seven years from now.
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