I recently came across a shoe box full of old phones and stuff, and I thought it might be fun to tell you all about my experiences with them. Back in the day, cell phone companies used to just give you a new phone instead of making you return your old one. What you’re about to see is a mostly complete collection of every phone I had leading up to my first smartphone. Let’s start way back in the 90s:
Motorola LS350 Pager
Back in the late 90s, my dad had a huge brick of a cell-phone. He kept it in the arm rest of his car, and only turned it on to relay important information. The rest of the time, it stayed turned off and put away. Well, along with that phone, the cell phone company (whoever that was at the time) gave my dad a free pager to go along with his phone. Pagers were provided by his employer, so he didn’t have any use for it. Since I was a new driver out on the road, he decided to give it to me.
Pagers had a phone number you called, and instead of a person on the other end, you were prompted to enter a number on your keypad. The pager would then beep, and the number entered would display on the tiny screen.
Text messages may not have been invented yet, but that didn’t stop my friends from sending me clever numeric texts, such as “Hello” (01134), “Legos” (73605), and the classic “boobies” (8008135).
Okay, I don’t have this phone anymore, but it looked exactly like this image that I stole from Wikipedia. This was the first cell phone I ever owned. You know how smartphone screens shatter if you look at them wrong? You could drop an atomic bomb on this phone and it would still work just fine. And the battery would last for days! Granted, that’s probably because the only thing it did besides the normal phone features was Snake. Snake was a game better than any game on your phone now. You were a snake, you ate dots, you got longer. You had to keep eating dots while avoiding running into your ever-growing snake body. Simple fun. The ringtones were just beeps and whatnot, but it did play the classic Nokia tune. You could also change the faceplate on it, but I never did that.
This was a prepaid phone from Verizon. You bought a card with a certain amount of minutes on it, but if you called at night, it was free! I worked third shift, so I felt like I was always sticking it to the man.
This is the next generation of prepaid phone I got from Virgin Mobile. This phone didn’t have many more features than the Nokia 5165, but it did have “internet capabilities.” Yeah… You could look at text based websites on this thing. That is, if you had 45 minutes for a page to load. This was also the first phone I had that you could download ringtones to. The only one I remember was a beepy version of My Happy Ending by Avril Lavigne. Anyway, this phone was a total piece of crap, but it still powers on today, so I guess that’s something.
I finally signed a contract with Sprint, and the phone I got was this Sanyo SCP4700. It did have POLYPHONIC RINGTONES, though! Before this, all the phones I had could only make one beep at a time, so the ringtones were pretty limited. With polyphonic ringtones, you could have multiple voice tones playing at once, so all of the ringtones sounded like MIDIs! It also had a speakerphone (it sucked), voice dialing (it didn’t work), and text messaging (it was expensive and I didn’t use it).
Sony Ericsson Z500A
The Sony Ericsson Z500A! I was one of the cool kids now! I had a phone that could play MP3 ringtones, take pictures, and even flipped closed like a clamshell! The future was here! Honestly, for the time, this phone was pretty rad, and if I was living in the early 2000s again for some reason, I’d probably pick this one up again. Sure, the pictures that it took were garbage by today’s standards, but in like 2003 or whatever, this phone was amazing!
As you can see, by this point, I was at Cingular, a cellular company that is no longer in business. They were fantastic at the time in customer service and coverage. Unfortunately, they were eventually bought out by AT&T, and I was a little less satisfied with their coverage at the time.
Who didn’t have the Motorola Razr in like 2005? I feel like everyone I knew had this phone! It had pretty standard cell phone features, but it also was super thin! How thin, you ask? Uhhhh, it was about as thick as an Eggo waffle I guess. No wait! It was about as thick as your phone is now, and that’s when it was folded up. When you unfolded it, it was RAZR THIN! And when you turned it on, some chick went, “HELLO MOTO!” and it played a funky tune. But that was annoying, just shut up and power on already. I’ve got important things to do.
This was also my first phone with a Verizon contract, the company I’m still using today. Sure, they may be obscenely expensive and dealing with their customer service is like talking to a shady black market watch salesman, but at least you’ll always have coverage except for the places where you don’t!
Ah, the Samsung SCH-U740. This phone would flip horizontally AND vertically! Holy macaroni! It took an external Micro SD card, which the RAZR might have also, but I can’t remember. I loved this phone a lot. If Smartphones hadn’t come along, I probably would still be using this little thing, but not this particular one because it broke.
I don’t have this phone anymore either, so as you can tell by the watermark for whatever site I yoinked this from, and how well it’s cut out, this is a stock photo. This is the LG enV2. It only opened horizontally, where it housed a full keyboard, but when you held it vertically, you could dial it like a regular phone. This was a good idea in concept, but eventually, the whole row of 4, 5, and 6 keys stopped working on it, so I had to open it up to dial every number on the tiny number keys. I actually preferred the Samsung SCH-U740 to this phone. In fact, that’s a lesson I need to still learn. I currently have an LG G6, and it’s a pile of crap, but every Samsung smartphone I’ve had (with the exception of the Stratosphere) worked perfectly adequately.
Well, this concludes my cavalcade of communications technology before I entered the smartphone age. The first one I had was the Motorola Droid 2 in 2010. In case any phone designers are reading this, BRING BACK THE SLIDE-OUT KEYBOARD! I’m old and I enjoy physical keys. Anyway, until next time, this is Funky Zach saying don’t text and drive, unless of course you have something really funny to say.