What was your first phone? Taking a walk down cell phone memory lane
I've officially reached the point in my life that I can now look back nostalgically at my technology past. And since we've been talking about escapism, I thought it would be fun to start off the week with a trip down memory lane.
Lately, I've been thinking about my first cell phone, the Motorola StarTac. It was a dull, clunky flip phone with a retractable antenna. (I'm chuckling as I'm recalling it.) I tried desperately to cover it in stickers and make it look cool, but it was still relatively utilitarian-looking. I remember it was marketed more towards business folk and contractors rather than socially awkward teenagers like me. I needed something hip to fit in with the masses, like a Nokia 3310, but it wasn't offered by Verizon at the time. And anyway, the StarTac was a hand-me-down that was initially meant as a tracking device.
Per my parents, the StarTac was only to be used to call for a ride home. I wasn't allowed to text anyone or make phone calls without permission because the phone was on a severely limited plan. Any time I spent on the phone had to be carefully counted because each minute of talk cost a whopping 30 cents.
Eventually, I lobbied for a better deal. Rather than spend $3 for 10 minutes of talking, I argued, why not switch the plan so that I'm primarily texting instead? It's quieter for everyone at home, it's cheaper, and it was the cool new way to communicate with friends. My parents agreed to this, and it felt like the path had cleared for my ever-so-slightly burgeoning social life.
I spent a few months texting back and forth with one friend in particular. She was on a text-only device: the Motorola T900 2-Way Pager, which came with a miniature QWERTY keyboard. She was not only more thorough in her replies, but she sent longer messages, too, which counted against my allowance. I would reply to her the next day, in person, because I didn't want to scare her away with the realities of my messaging limitations. Or rather, I didn't want it to get out that was all my parents would pay for.
By my 16th birthday, I was better equipped for socializing in high school. My parents used an upgrade on their account and allowed me to pick out the phone. It was the Motorola T720 and it was the cutest little thing. It could download apps, play games, and go on the internet, in addition to making phone calls and sending text messages — and it did all this on a color display! I didn't have to cover it in stickers to make it look decent, either. Instead, I bought translucent neon face plates for it from a kiosk at the mall, like the rest of my friends did with their Nokia 3310s.
An original advertisement from 2001 for the Motorola T720.
What was your first cell phone?
For fun, I put out this question on Twitter to see what the replies might be like. I've pasted a few below, though you can view the whole thread here. Unsurprisingly, I received many replies about a Nokia cell phone being the first mobile device.
Nokia 3210. Bullet proof.Nokia 3210. Bullet proof.— Richard Williams (@rlswilliams) April 8, 2017April 8, 2017
Mine was a Nokia 5560.Mine was a Nokia 5560.— SirMars (@sirmars) April 7, 2017April 7, 2017
Fun remembering. First was Motorola Micro Tac. Favorite ever was my Star Tac. Most coveted, never owned? Motorola Vader!Fun remembering. First was Motorola Micro Tac. Favorite ever was my Star Tac. Most coveted, never owned? Motorola Vader!— Gina Smith (@ginasmith) April 7, 2017April 7, 2017
first I actually used was the Nokia.Where I could get free incoming texts with the old AT&T Wireless before it was Cingular then at&t again pic.twitter.com/asRC56E7fifirst I actually used was the Nokia.Where I could get free incoming texts with the old AT&T Wireless before it was Cingular then at&t again pic.twitter.com/asRC56E7fi— James (@JamesKoltiska) April 7, 2017April 7, 2017
The Nokia 3310😍 Saved up my allowance to get it..Awesome phone! #memoriesThe Nokia 3310😍 Saved up my allowance to get it..Awesome phone! #memories— shad 🇯🇲🇻🇨 (@shad876) April 7, 2017April 7, 2017
Alright, I've told you my story and a few others have told you theirs. Now it's your turn: What was your first mobile device? Tell us about it in the comments! We'll showcase some of your answers in a post later this week.
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Florence Ion was formerly an editor and columnist at Android Central. She writes about Android-powered devices of all types and explores their usefulness in her everyday life. You can follow her on Twitter or watch her Tuesday nights on All About Android.