I remember going to buy my first mobile like it was yesterday. It wasn't yesterday it was 1998, during the birth of the 'Pay As You Go' deals and the age of the annoying ringtone was about to truly explode. I'd done my research and it was clear I needed a Nokia. Cool design, text messaging and Snakes.
What else could one possibly ask of a phone?
Unfortunately, they were out of stock, but I was so set on coming back with a phone that I impulse-bought a Sagem, which turned out to be awful and within a few months I'd taken the hit and bought the one I should have held out for.
Apart from that rather bad start, getting a new phone every year was a hugely exciting event. Every generation of phone was so much better than the last. Nokias with changeable covers gave way to tiny Motorola Startak flip phones and then WAP phones brought (massively overhyped but I got excited) Internet access and new methods of input like rollerballs and the now humble stylus.
Once we were into the early smartphone era, I was being given early Windows phones with email and Internet explorer. To be honest looking back, they weren't very good but I marvelled at the possibilities and then came Apple and the iPhone and dreams started coming true.
In calendar terms that brings us up to about 2007 and to be honest, since then it's all got a bit boring. Yes, everything has improved. Screens are sharper, memory is bigger and apps are available in the millions rather than just hundreds of thousands. But really, it's been a bit of an evolution since that peak and there is no sign of a revolution coming just yet.
The hardware is really boring. Everything looks like a bar of soap made of glass or plastic. Even the nicer designs have to be wrapped in cheap Amazon sourced cases, and there is little to choose from between manufacturers. So little in fact that they're often suing each other for copyright infringement.
When it comes to those screens they've come an awful long way, but since the HD screens have shown up, there's been big improvements in pixel counts but really not a lot of difference to the naked eye. Once you've chosen your operating system and copied across all your apps, your shiny new phone looks a lot like the last one and will behave in more or less exactly the same way too. It's all so very yawn.
Manufacturers are clearly getting a bit desperate too. Samsung phones are full of incredible gimmicks that are technically very impressive, but remain just gimmicks. Your favourite functions like email, social networking and gaming have all been done and there is a scrabble around to find the next big thing. It certainly wasn't 3D screens and I'm not convinced it's the smart watch either.
It would, of course, be foolish to think that the smart phone wars are over, and sooner or later something game changing will turn up. But until then I'm going to continue to enjoy my perfectly able Nexus 4 on a £10 sim only deal and will ignore the £40pm stuff until one of them comes along that does something truly new.
Posted with Blogsy