diamond geezer

 Sunday, February 22, 2004

Mobile obsolescence

M'lud, further evidence for retail therapy prosecution. Exhibit A - my mobile phone.

My mobile phone is two years old today. Two years may not be particularly old in most spheres of life, but in SIMcardWorld it's positively pensionable. Back in February 2002, however, my Sony Ericsson T68 was absolutely cutting edge. All gleaming silver, thin and sleek, with a whole range of functions few previous phones had boasted. Look, a full colour screen! Look, a port for attaching a camera! Look, the ability to download pictures and use them as backgrounds! Look, a mini-joystick! Look, the battery stays charged for a week! Look, a diary and a notebook like a personal organiser! Look, the ability to send and recieve email! Look, something new and mysterious called Bluetooth! Look, even works in America! This was indeed the future in my hands. Ah, for a few brief months my phone was a conversation piece, a box of shiny tricks, a 21st century icon for others to covet. How soon things changed.

Soon after the T68 came out, the T68i followed. This was the phone Sony Ericsson had been meaning to release all along, the version where all the software worked properly and you could type a text message in under three minutes. The T68i featured something new called multimedia messaging, where you could send pictures and photos as well as text (not that there was anyone else to send these to at this stage). They immediately stopped selling my phone, my mobile one-upmanship at an end. Thankfully, through the magic of a software upgrade in some backwater electrical shop in darkest Tottenham, my T68 eventually metamorphosed into a T68i. On the inside at least. Which was fine, because I always thought the T68 looked far sexier on the outside than its bastard offspring, so I was pleased to have ended up with the best of both worlds.

The new T68i was destined to be a mass market product, and before long phone companies were giving this little beauty away nigh free, whereas I'd paid a three-figure sum for its clunky ancestor. And then other phones with proper inbuilt cameras started to be released, and they had big colour screens and polyphonic ringtones, and they were virtually mini computers, and the T68 series was doomed. Quietly these phones disappeared from the shops, and slowly they disappeared from people's pockets. Except I've still got one, and it still does everything I need. I don't want to take surreptitious photos on the tube, I don't want a gangster rap symphonic ringtone to embarrass the hell out of me every time I get a call, I don't want to download tiny videos of Premiership goals, and I don't want to develop RSI and a squint by replaying mini-computer games from my childhood.

I ventured into a mobile shop yesterday. They've changed rather since two years ago. Then it was nasty plastic replicas being flogged by disinterested suits, now it's posh models on soft cushions foisted on you by so-called phone trainers. I ventured out of the shop almost immediately. I didn't want to discuss my ideal service package requirements, I just wanted to carry on using something that sends text messages and rings about twice a year. I shall stick with my antique phone a little longer, I think. Im-mobile, me.

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