Tag Archives: iphone

My 13-year mobile phone history

I’ve been described by some as an Apple fanboy of late, which is amusing for me given that for many years I avoided anything emblazoned with their iconic logo. It’s had me think back through my 13 year mobile phone history.

Of the 9 generations of phones I’ve used, and six generations of smartphones – only two come from the Apple estate (out of a total possible of four). At least one more probably will – but I’m hoping that Android will catch up by the next time I’m due for an upgrade. Anyway, for those curious, here’s a quick run-down.

The picture spin quiz!

nokia 5110220px-Nokia_7110_openert29mpx200big_spv_e200  3gs   iphone4t-mobile-mda-vario-ii-2T-Mobile-G1orange-SPV-C600

  • 1999 – Nokia 5110 – free with my first mobile contract, with Orange. Basic candy bar phone. Introduced me to the joys of Snake.
  • 2000 – Ericsson T29 – I’d really wanted a flip phone, and this was a free upgrade at a point when cash was sparse.
  • 2001 – Nokia 7110 – after the Matrix, the click-flip action of the 7110 was an exciting thing indeed. I took great pleasure in answering calls and making them, and this remains one of my favourite phone form factors.
  • 2002 – Orange SPV – the first Windows smartphone. Slow and unresponsive indubitably, amazingly poor battery life perhaps, but I discovered and grew to love pre-emptive dialling, Windows synchronisation, internet on the move and experimented with using the very first apps available for phones.
  • 2003 – Motorola MPX200 (2 months) – A desire to have a clamshell phone and a newfound love for the Windows Mobile OS (as well as a budget requirement to not pay any money for an upgrade) sent me here, and I did quite like it – but it proved fragile and when it died, Orange offered me a higher spec E200 in its stead.
  • 2003 – Orange SPV E200 – spiritual sibling to the original SPV but with a faster processor and significantly better performance. Bulky as ever but much improved.
  • 2005 – Orange C600 – my last loved Windows Mobile device. Everything from the SPV in a smaller and more elegant form factor. My last phone on Orange for a while.
  • 2007 – T-Mobile MDA Vario 2 – this broke me. Resistive touchscreen that was slow and unresponsive, massive phone… it nearly despoiled me of the touchscreen experience in its entirety. But then I tried the…
  • 2008 – T-Mobile G1 (2 weeks trial)… and I knew touch screens would be OK. But there were a number of niggles; HTC phone construction still wasn’t quite there, feeling slightly non-responsive and clunky, and Android didn’t feel as ready as I’d like after years of struggling with the not-quite-there Windows Mobile. So I finally decided to cough up the cash, move to O2 and buy the…
  • 2009 – Apple iPhone 3GS… and I finally understood the fuss. As software upgrades made the phone more unwieldy, I eBayed it and put the proceeds towards a shiny new…
  • 2010 – Apple iPhone 4… which is still doing well but will probably be replaced with an iPhone 5 when that launches – my excuse is that Amanda is now in need of a smartphone (largely for my benefit, so she can share moments with Em with me more easily).

(I may have missed one, but it clearly wasn’t that memorable!)

Breaking it down:

I’m on my 9th generation of mobile phone in 13 years, and I’ve been using ‘smartphones’ for six of those generations.

  • 5/11 phones – Windows Mobile
  • 1/11 phones – Google Android (1.5)
  • 2/11 phones – iOS
  • 2/11 phones – Nokia/Symbian
  • 1/11 phones – SE proprietary / Symbian


  • 2/11 -Nokia
  • 1/11 – Ericcson
  • 5/11 – HTC
  • 1/11 – Motorola
  • 2/11 – Apple

It may be slightly dubious to count the G1 trial, but it was my phone for two weeks and the MPX 200 only lasted marginally longer in the grand scheme of things (before it died and Orange replaced it with the SPV E200).

Where to next? Who can say. What’s your record? Are you a phone a year person? Any obvious biases/trends come up when you look at your mobile history?

Smartphone blogging at Coolsmartphone.com

CoolsmartphonePNGIt was around nine years ago that I bought my first ever smartphone – an Orange SPV, built for the French mobile company by the fledgling High Tech Corporation (spot today’s more famous acronym in there), running Microsoft Smartphone 2002 software. In the absence of a great deal of information about the new platform, I turned to a new website run by a fellow SPV fan that covered all things Microsoft Smartphone – which eventually became the popular smartphone blog Coolsmartphone.com.

Today, having abandoned the Microsoft smartphone platform in favour of the Apple beast, I’m joining a group of other enthusiasts to contribute iPhone and iPad reviews to Coolsmartphone.com. I’m grateful to Leigh Geary, the site owner – for the opportunity, and thrilled to have an outlet for my smartphone ramblings other than division6 – I suspect most faithful readers will be rather pleased that some of the smartphone updates, at least, will go elsewhere.

I’ll let you know when I get started but if there’s any app you’d like my thoughts on, let me know and I’ll look into it. I’ll mostly be looking for the charity of PRs promoting apps to send me download vouchers and/or interesting pitches to new apps (and won’t be covering any of my agency’s, Brands2Life, clients’ apps in the interests of avoiding conflicts anywhere). You can reach me on my shiny new mailbox for that – armand [at] coolsmartphone.com!

Hitchhiker’s Guide iPhone and iPad app to launch

miek's hitchhiker's guide to the galaxyMost people who know me that even in the reams of sci-fi and fantasy I consume there are a few authors that have a special place in my heart. Douglas Adams is one of those; notwithstanding his personal history with my family – my brother co-adapted Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency years ago and I sat next to him at a performance of it in Oxford – Arthur Dent is perhaps the greatest sci-fi/fantasy semi-hero ever. He’s the British equivalent of Spider-man, trading witty banter for sarcastic whinges and web-slinging for tea. And powers for a dressing gown. Otherwise, the same.

I’m not sure how to feel about the news that an H2G2 app is coming. I have a feeling that 90% of the stuff you put into it will come out with some generic, smart-arsey, “we don’t have an article on that” response, because – after all – how could the app genuinely be about everything in the galaxy? And – if we’re being true to Douglas’ narrative – the entry for Earth as a whole – it’s people, history, plant-life, etc., – simply reads ‘Mostly harmless’ – then what use is it on this planet? It’s been a while since I saw a pan-galactic Gargle blaster on the menu at any unfashionable London bar. Certainly not one that uses real gold.

Anyway, it’s piqued my curiosity. I gather the people making it are true gaming experts, so might have successfully ‘gamified’ the guide… but I’ll believe it when I see it. Read more over on Wired.

Ultimate Guitar Tabs iPhone app

ultimateguitartabs@patrickyiu introduced me to the Ultimate Guitar Tabs app for iPhone (£1.99, Appstore), and it may help me get my routine on with the guttering I mentioned a few weeks back. If I’m honest, my promised practice routine hasn’t quite materialised but I’m blaming this on my inability to get a new playlist configured on my iPhone as my Media Centre/music library has been in the shop (bring on iCloud).

The app lets you access thousands of tabs from UG’s website ‘in-app’, complete with automated key-changes and auto-scrolling through the tab, so you don’t have to pause to flick down and see what chords/tabs come next.

It’s a lovely bit of code. I’ve also downloaded the iPad app, but mysteriously this app was free with in-app subscription modes, and I can’t quite bring myself to pay for the same service twice – so will see how I get on with the iPhone app in the weeks to come.

Another point against RIM

iphone 4 & BlackBerry TorchI do go on about smartphones a bit, I know, but this story just hammered home to me quite how dire the straits are for Research in Motion, makers of Blackberry, saying as it does that…

iPhones require less support than Androids and BlackBerrys.

Enterprise IT departments seem to find the iPhone the easiest platform to manage – who’d have thought it after years of people singing the benefits of BES.

I know that many enterprises, for reasons of security and performance, will shun the non-encrypted, Active-synced iPhone, but most small businesses – where the money lies in volume – may well end up going down this path. The iPhone is just so much better from a usability perspective than any Blackberry I’ve used in some time its unreal.

Apple still needs to fix offline email, though. C’mon, guys!

Fuelsmart UK iPhone App

fuelsmartMy friend Ali’s fuel-price finding app made it onto Radio 4 last weekend (last 10 mins). I didn’t know Ali had an app, but was pleased for him that it got some profile (and apparently lots of new downloads), and even more pleased that it seems useful – it helps you find cheap petrol based on reports from other app users. Hampshire seems pretty well covered by Fuelsmart’s users so it’s going to be bought soon.

More info in this helpful review or on the website.

iPhones for Enterprise


I was talking to a friend about Smartphones in the enterprise. He works for a large public company with a strong heritage of working in the public sector, and therefore an understandably high level of concern about IT security. It was for this reason that – despite the mediocrity of the Blackberry platform against contemporary competition and the plunging market share of RIM – he wanted his organization to standardize on Blackberry.

However, for many people accustomed to more… sophisticated Smartphone platforms, Blackberry seems arcane, counter-intuitive and sometimes an actual hindrance to productivity.  That’s not to say that iPhone, with its Apps, games, ease of use et al won’t cause its own distractions but at least people will be able to effectively browse the web!

So it’s with some satisfaction that I note that Apple is upping the game for its enterprise offer – there’s already Exchange controls on iOS devices (pins enforced etc) and remote wipes and remote management is possible (as is location tracking, natch), so enterprise deployment of Apps is an obvious next step in supporting group policy on App deployments within an enterprise environment. That this holds for non-Appstore apps as well is truly remarkable and a very grown up (and atypical) way for Apple to be dealing with the situation. Now, if Apple could just sort out offline email…

I’m going to write further on why Blackberry’s days in the enterprise are numbered and some thoughts on what mobile operators need to do to create more compelling tariffs for the enterprise for iPhone, as have a few other thoughts bubbling under on this.

Song of Ice and FIre 5: A Dance with Dragons iPhone app

adancewithdragonsNo spoilers herein, don’t worry, on the publication of the latest book in the epic George R R Martin series, A Song of Ice and Fire. I’ve managed to avoid spoilers so far despite the fact that the publisher’s screwed up and shipped copies into the UK a few weeks ahead of the official launch.

There’s a lot of hype around this book, not least because it’s been four years in the writing, the critically acclaimed HBO series has launched in the meantime, and, well, the fact that its a great story. I’m going to resist buying it until I’m through the excellent Mistborn saga (down to the last half book of that), and will probably then get the eBook to help me get through the 1000 odd pages of the new novel without lugging a massive tome around with me.

The iPhone app that accompanies the book launch comes complete with a summary of the previous books (invaluable for a quick recap, especially if you’re not sure how much ground the TV series has covered and want a reminder) as well as a few other goodies, so I will refresh my memory ahead of getting the book in.

Mealsnap iPhone app impressions

mzl.pmpdnall.320x480-75The diet hasn’t gotten off to the best start – perhaps starting it the day ahead of the weekend was a bad idea – but I did try out my diet-tracking website’s new £1.79 iPhone app – Mealsnap – which takes a photo of your meal and tells you the calorie count from – I assume – some kind of clever algorithmic photo-analysis and by referencing the food database from Dailyburn.

First impressions, from three or four photographed meals:

  1. It does sometimes work quite well – correctly (near as damn) recognizing what’s on your plate, and giving sensible caloric estimates
  2. There is quite a range for the estimates – as I’m not sure it has any meaningful way of working out how big a piece of bread, for instance, is.
  3. It doesn’t integrate into Dailyburn, so whatever calorie records you make stay in the app .This renders it completely pointless for me.
  4. It takes an age to ‘process’ the photos – so long that it’s easy to imagine that the photos are being uploaded, and being manually viewed and assessed by a warehouse full of monkeys somewhere.

So I think I’ll leave it alone for now. Anyone worked out any other positives?