Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

A new phone

7th August 2009

Nokia 1661

For someone with an more than passing interest in technology, it may come as a surprise to you to learn that mobile telephony isn’t one of my strong points at all. That’s all the more marked when you cast your eye back over the developments in mobile telephone technology in recent years. Admittedly, until I subscribed to RSS feeds from the likes of TechRadar, the computing side of the area didn’t pass my way very much at all. That act has has alerted me to the now unmissable fact that mobile phones have become portable small computers, regardless of whether it is an offering from Apple or not. After the last few years, no one can say that things haven’t got really interesting.

In contrast to all the excitement, I only got my first phone in 2000 and stuck with it since and that was despite its scuffs and scratches along with its battery life troubles. Part of the reason for this is a certain blindness induced by having the thing on a monthly contract. As that is not sufficient to hide away the option of buying a phone on its own, then there’s the whole pay as you go arena too. The level of choice is such that packages such as those mentioned gain more prominence and potentially stop things in their tracks but I surmounted the perceived obstacles to buy a Nokia 1661 online from the Carphone Warehouse and collect it from the nearest store. The new replacement for my old Motorola is nothing flashy. Other phones may have nice stuff like an on-board camera or web access but I went down the route of sticking with basic functionality, albeit in a modern package with a colour screen. Still, for around £35, I got something that adds niceties like an alarm clock and a radio to the more bread and butter operations like making and taking phone calls and text messaging. Pay as you go may have got me the phone for less but I didn’t need a new phone number since I planned to slot in my old SIM card anyway; incidentally, the latter operation was a doddle once I got my brain into gear.

Now that I have replaced my mobile handset like I would for my land-line phone, I am left wondering why I dallied over the task for as long as I have. It may be that the combination of massive choice and a myriad of packages that didn’t appeal to me stalled things. With an increased awareness of the technology and options like buying a SIM card on its own, I can buy with a little more confidence now. Those fancier phones may tempt but I’ll be treating them as a nice to have rather than essential purchases. Saying all of this, the old handset isn’t going into the bin just yet though. It may be worn and worthless but its tri-band capabilities (I cannot vouch for the Nokia on this front) may make it a useful back up for international travel. The upgrade has given me added confidence for trying again when needs must but there is no rush and that probability of my developing an enthusiasm for fancy handsets is no higher.

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