Ah, the mobile phone. It’s difficult to remember a time before it. How did we find our way around? What did I do with all of those spare minutes during a not-so-busy day? And what did I keep in my right hand pocket for all of those years?
Since the age of 18 I’ve had five different handsets. Each one has slowly worked their way through the denim in my jeans.
It was late 1999 when I strolled into an Orange store, ID and Solo card at the ready, and signed up for my very first mobile contract. The handset was a special one. A Nokia 7110.
It’s often remembered as the handset that Neo dropped from a great height after a brief chat with Morpheus (this is actually false – the 7110 is a far more attractive phone than it’s younger brother, the 8110 featured in The Matrix).
The 7110 was a joy to behold. It’s most obvious feature was the spring loaded cover that shot down to reveal the backlit keyboard at the push of a button (a perfectly placed button at that – accessed with the tip of your right index finger).
At the turn of the century Nokia were the undisputed kings of mobile phone design – both software and hardware.
Colour screens were still a few years away from the mass market but the monotone screen I took home was bright, responsive and easy to navigate.
The 7110 had an innovative ‘navi-roller’ button which allowed me to easily scroll through menus and messages, editing and selecting when clicked. Smart.
It was my first introduction to what felt like a whole new language – T9 predictive text. Who would have thought that typing out a lengthy text message on a numeric keypad could be so easy?
You can always tell those that shunned T9 by the amount of text slang they use. I despised such shortcuts, and continue to do so to this day, much to the joy of my Grandma. (Incidentally, my Grandmas has appalling grammatical skills when it comes to text messaging. I think this is partly as she doesn’t know how to put a space between words or after punctuation.)
My recent research has uncovered something even more interesting about the 7110 – it was the first phone to feature WAP internet browsing. If only my 18 year old self could have known what mobile web-based delights awaited him.
My WAP connection was used heavily. Football scores, the odd slice of news and even the most woeful form of animated pornography could be viewed (you’ll have to take my word for it on the latter).
The one other thing that remains clear in my mind is a game. A game that I ended up losing a ridiculous number of hours to. Snake was a revolution. Actually, the 7110 came loaded with Snake II which had an odd shaped arena, but the basics were the same. Gaming perfection.
There are three things in my mobile history that I’m rather proud of. The first is that I’ve always had the same phone number. Secondly, I’ve always had a contract mobile, so I was never one of those kids that didn’t have any credit. Lastly, as a lover of gadgets I’m very proud to say that my very first mobile phone was a Nokia 7110.
What was your first mobile/cell phone?