Sep 08 AT 7:23 PM Jess Blanchard 21 Comments

Zen and the art of Android: In Memoriam


It seems at times that our beloved Android ecosystem is improving with each passing day. As the tech world moves rapidly onward to greater heights, sometimes it’s nice to look back and see exactly how far we’ve come. So, this Sunday, let’s get our nostalgia on and take a look back at a few fallen heroes who may be gone, but are not forgotten.

Cingular Wirelesscingular

Who doesn’t remember the orange jack and the AT&T-Cingular-AT&T change up? The two played brand leapfrog there for a hot minute. Cingular acquired AT&T Wireless in 2006. Then three years later, AT&T bought the entire BellSouth family, including Cingular, bringing the whole shenanigans full circle. My first carrier experience was with Cingular when I was 16. Back in my day, kids didn’t get cellphones until they started driving. And I even had to pay for it myself! Oh, Cingular. Your vibrant orange is missed.

Amp’d Mobile


What were you thinking, Amp’d Mobile? The housing market should have taken note of your brilliant business model; a lot of harm could have been avoided. Amp’d Mobile, an MVNO partnered with Verizon Wireless, declared bankruptcy in 2007 just two years after it launched in the U.S. and a matter of months after it launched in Canada. By that time, the company had burned through $360 million in capital. And court documents showed that 80,000 of its 175,000 customers were considered non-paying. Yowch. That’s because Amp’d considered credit checks a formality and intentionally marketed to risky customers.

They sure did know how to target that 18-35 broke-ass male demographic, tho. And I think that woman might have invented twerking.


MVNOs just didn’t seem to have the luck, did they? After EarthLink pulled out of its partnership with SK Telecom, the South Korean company sold the Helio brand to rival VNO, Virgin Mobile. Virgin Mobile retired the brand in 2010.

And Helio could have been great, man. EarthLink’s Sky Dayton wanted to turn the mobile industry up to 11 in the US after he and his wife, Arwen (seriously, who named these people?), saw the awesome tech they had in South Korea at the time. Of course, that plan never came to fruition, and the iPhone was announced around the same time as the company’s first smartphone-esque device, the Ocean, got out the door.

Nextel Communicationsnextel

Actually, you know what? I don’t miss Nextel. That push-to-talk walkie-talkie business was annoying. I guess it made sense, considering the company’s roots, but damn. I’m glad they merged with Sprint. Now if we can just get rid of Boost Mobile, the world will be a slightly better place. Where you at? Gone. That’s where you should be.

Samsung Blackjack

If you didn’t want this phone, there was something wrong with you. Look at it. Just look at it. I never got one when it first came out, but you can get one on Amazon for $35 and I think I’m going to do it.

Motorola RAZR


I did have this phone. It was hot pink. It made me feel like a high-powered sex kitten. It was also the first phone I had after my trusty Nokia brick (because you know we ALL had a brick one at some point). So, when it dropped a mere two feet and shattered into 3 pieces, I was incensed. I have not owned a Motorola device since. #stillpissed

Nokia  1000 Series1100-2

I would be remiss and probably fired if I didn’t mention these phones. But, it might be a bit of a misnomer to call the Nokia 1000 Series devices “fallen.” The Nokia 1100 is the AK-47 of mobile phones. You can bury it in the sand. Still works. You can use it in the rain. You can drop it from two feet and it won’t shatter into 3 pieces. *ahem* As far as phones go, it is barer than the bare minimum. But it has one thing going for it that no other device does: survival skills. The Nokia 1100 would outlast Bear Grylls. If it could drink its own pee, it would do so. For fun.

And that pretty much goes for every other Nokia brick ever made. In fact, my dad once threw a Nokia 3120 at a wall. The phone didn’t even scuff, but the wall was never the same. You could see the outline of the keypad and screen where the phone hit.

These are just a few of our favorite throwbacks (literally, in my dad’s case). Please take a walk down memory lane and share yours in the comments!

Words are hard. I word good.

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  • pryvateid

    I wanted Ampd’ Mobile so bad, and was saddened when they went under.
    There commercial’s were funny, reminded me of the original Boost Mobile commercials. I loved the commercial were the big girl tried to be sexy on that pole and fall, lmao

    I actually had Helio before they were bought out by Virgin Mobile, it was a great service, but the networth was just inconsistent. I think I had a few dropped calls on Sprint’s network, but the Helio Ocean was cool. That was the only time in the 9+ years of being with T-Mobile, that I ventured off to another carrier. Had a RAZR, had the Black RAZR V3t on T-Mobile. It was one of the later generations of the RAZR it had a better camera, music player, micro sd card, and a few other features.

  • dunneldeen

    Just to be clear, Southern Bell (SBC) bought AT&T. They chose to keep the AT&T name after the buyout because it is a better known brand.

  • renyo

    I loved the Moto RAZR… Though its software sucked… I then had the N95… That phone was awesome period…

    • John in Brisbane

      Yeah I hated the smaller keys at first (compared to the older nokias) but that phone rocked! I’ve still got mine but the screen died … once in a while I pull it out of the drawer and compare it to my newer stuff.

    • Jon Garrett

      I had the Samsung t-809 which was much better than the RAZR, and equally as thin. it was also a vertical slider instead of a flip which I always hated even back then.

  • nmoline

    I loved my BlackJack. Probably my favorite phone prior to iOS and Android.

  • Jedediah Sweetser

    My first cellphone was the Razr on sprint, oh how i loved that phone. I got it on valentines day as a gift, and i used it until i upgraded to Blackberry. I wanted the blackjack wicked bad but couldn’t afford it, but i did love my blackberry and had a lot of fun on crackberry getting cool stuff on it.

    Then nextel hit the market and of course, i got a blackberry WITH nextel (work insisted i got a nextel), until someone stole that. I didn’t have insurance and it was cheaper to cancel my contract than pay $550 for a new phone. So i did, and got into a new contract with my Curve.

    That was right about when I got my Grand Central account (Ahem, Google Voice i mean) and I became a Google fan boy. About a year later i was introduced to my G1.

    My life hasn’t been the same since. G1, Nexus One, Gnex, but unfortunately i’ll be having to go away from the Google brand and my next phone will be a Note III. Times change, my needs change. It was a good run.

  • John in Brisbane

    I was reminded recently by a friend about just how much I used to love my motorola startac … and it’s true! They remain an awesome little device – tiny, great for their purpose and just cool. I scored mine in a box of stuff from a 2nd hand store for next to nothing and it was my favourite device in about 2000/2001. It was the most “premium” thing I owned back then. I love big screen devices and having the internet in my pocket etc but as a paradigm shifting experience, the star tac was one of the biggest changes in thinking that a piece of technology has caused.

    Secondly, ye olde Nokias … what can we say? A torch, beer opener and predictive texting phone all rolled into one! I’ve got my own theory that any advance in technology (or whatever) isn’t a proper advance if any previous capability is lost. By that measure, every modern smart phone is inferior to the old nokias. Ok, torches are now back via flash-using apps but the durability has plummeted, the ease of use for the most common tasks is terrible and on a personal note, the ability to send texts while driving (and NOT looking at the phone) is sadly missed lol. Getting back to durability: this is now just ridiculous. We’re talking about hand held devices that you will often hold delicately to show people stuff and avoid stopping videos etc. They’re much more likely to be dropped than an old nokia but they’re much more breakable. We owe Steve Jobs so much but on this count he was too focused on form over function. As for answering calls and texting, a lovely screen keyboard and animations look great but I vividly remember the frustration of the first few weeks of transitioning from a Nokia N95 to an HTC Desire… Smart phones remain an ergonomic step back for basic telephony.

  • uzunoff

    What about voicestream… They were pretty good as well.

    • Eli Gaffke

      Aerial with the per second billing. I think I had a 450 minute plan and never went over. I remember texting with them and nobody could understand how I was doing it. The phone companies didn’t even charge for it. Talked with a guy a few years ago who was still grandfathered into his per second plan with T-Mobile.

  • Bala K

    I still use the Nokia.

    Besides the ability to hang in there come what may, its also got a super torch, important in developing countries like India.

  • Tangent

    *Remember* the RAZR? Because of cheapskate bosses who think smartphones are a perk instead of a tool, I’m still using one on a daily basis!!!

  • Max.Steel

    What’s with all this “remember” stuff? I’m still using a Nokia 1100 phone.

  • Jess Blanchard

    …posted from my Nokia 1100.

  • GE918

    My first phone was the first Motorola Flip phone and my carrier was Cellular One.

  • babbycakes

    What about the sidekick? That was the pre-smartphone I lusted after.

    • Jess Blanchard

      I lusted after the Sidekick, too. And the Palm. And the Blackberry Pearl. This article would have gone on for days if I didn’t limit myself on what I was going to include. haha

  • donger

    Ah the memories.

  • TruFactz

    !!!!!!! Amp’d mobile was the “comcast” of phones if you will. As a former Amp’d mobile customer, it may have been sad, but that what happens when you dont pay attention. I owed them $5000 because of something that was very probable, and that their business practices honed a flaw, you had to mail your payment via USPS, my payment was one that became lost in the mail, so of course they said they didn’t receive payment, I of course said BULLS**T. They said if they dont receive payment by such and such date, they would “put me in the suspension bucket”. I said ok. I was in the suspension bucket for 5 months before they terminated the account.

  • TruFactz

    Awww man remember the Motorola “V” series?????? I had the V600 and 500 both on T-Mobile. And the Sony Ericsson’s they were the most accurate when it came to the polyphonic ringtones, which the world went cwazy over

  • Walkie Talkie India

    That’s interesting! Can you please share more about it? Thank you.