I didn’t want a new mobile phone, but the old one was finally screaming in agony when I tried to use it and so it had to be prepared for the knackers yard and put out for rendering down to make more glue.

Although I have owned it for only about a year, it was itself a replacement for an identical model that I had bought a few years earlier, and even then with some difficulty, for the model was already discontinued.

Despite my technology fandom, I am not one of life’s early adopters. I love gadgets and toys, but only when they fill a need I need filling.

So despite being a font of knowledge about telecoms, I very rarely change mobile phones. Too much hassle to learn where the menus have changed too. Very frustrating. I have the same attitude to most technology. Show me a benefit, and I will adopt it with gusto. Otherwise, leave well alone.

Then again, I’ve had mobile phones pretty much since they became a consumer item.

My first was a marvelous little thing — a Sony CMR-111 — a tiny analogue phone with a flip-down microphone at the time when most phones were just scaling down from being a brick sized lump.

And it filled a need — for a phone, at a time when BT wanted to charge a small fortune to install a landline in my new flat which I was moving out of soon. So to the mobile it was.

That proved a problem though, as companies then, and sometimes still today, demand a landline contact number. Mobiles were looked on with suspicion, and a landline suggested a certain air of solid dependability when doing credit checks and the like.

I moved on to selling mobile phones, and for a number of years had, well, fairly indifferent handsets. Such that I cannot recall anything about them.

And then, I bought the first phone to be sold in the UK that could take photos — the Nokia 7650.

Again, for a specific reason. I worked for a mobile content company, and the new photo messaging service would be something we needed to work with, so off to buy a new phone to help out at work.

That was a brilliant handset and lasted a good many years, until I moved to another Nokia, this time one optimised for mobile email. It didn’t come with a camera.

This was an oversight, as I was getting back into photography by then, in part inspired by taking photos on the older Nokia phone.

Anyway, I stuck with that email-phone for many years until need necessitated change.

By now, I was using Twitter more, and some barmy idiot though it would be fun to see if it was possible to take two Boris Bikes to Paris and back in a day, and live Tweet the trip.

So, a new phone, with decent data, decent camera — but most importantly of all, a decent keyboard.

Unlike most people who seem to have taken to touchscreens with gusto, I still prefer a physical keyboard, and after much hunting, found the HTC Desire Z, a smartphone with good sized screen and a proper keyboard.

And that has been my handset until now — excepting a replacement identical model bought off eBay early last year.

But the keyboard is starting to struggle with keypresses, and as people like to comment on Twitter about my apparent appalling spelling, that is a motivating factor. I am also finding problems with mobile apps. I use few of them, but they are slowly dropping support for older smartphones, or I am shown new apps that simply wont work at all on older phones.

We older phone users still make up 15% of the market, but we are deemed too insignificant to support now. I can’t imagine many industries where telling 15% of your potential customers to go away is acceptable, but IT seems to be one of them.

samsung-galaxy-s4_1363325523So, a new phone at last.

Actually, it’s an old phone. It’s a year old already and has been replaced by a newer model. But I am not one for buying the latest technology simply to be the latest if something else does the job just as well.

Yes, the newer phone is better, but would the average Joe really notice the difference? A difference that would have cost me £200 at a time when that is a silly amount of money to waste? So nope, an old phone that was free on a monthly tariff that is also cheaper than the old tariff.

I bought it from CPW, and if I could have had it delivered to the home it would have arrived last week, but I wanted to collect from a store, so had to wait 5 days before it would be available.

Not quite the “click and collect” that online purchases are supposed to offer. And a chance for the sales person to try and (unsuccessfully) flog me an extended warranty.

The new/old phone doesn’t have a physical keyboard though — such things are deemed out of date — so I shall struggle with the touchscreen, but in the knowledge that I can buy a keyboard adaptor if I really need to.

But it has a better camera, so can act as an emergency standby should my main camera finally die as that seems increasingly likely to do so.

The downside of a year old mobile phone? It spent most of yesterday evening and this morning performing software updates. There have been lots of changes in the months it has sat in a warehouse seemingly unwanted by the gadget geeks who worship at the altar of newness and it had to play catch up.

I have a new mobile phone, but the first thing I am doing, is working out how to make it behave more like my old phone. Because that’s what I am used to.


Be the first to know what's on in London, and the latest news published on ianVisits.

You can unsubscribe at any time from my weekly emails.


This website has been running now for just over a decade, and while advertising revenue contributes to funding the website, but doesn't cover the costs. That is why I have set up a facility with DonorBox where you can contribute to the costs of the website and time invested in writing and research for the news articles.

It's very similar to the way The Guardian and many smaller websites are now seeking to generate an income in the face of rising costs and declining advertising.

Whether its a one-off donation or a regular giver, every additional support goes a long way to covering the running costs of this website, and keeping you regularly topped up doses of Londony news and facts.

If you like what your read on here, then please support the website here.

Thank you

  1. Jamie says:

    I too didn’t want to part from a phone with keyboard (Blackberry 9900) until I finally got an S4 late last year. I love it. My problem with touchscreen was that there’d be no ‘feedback’ as you type, but the phone vibrates ever so slightly with each keypress, which I like. I also swear I can type faster on it than I did on my old phone…

    Plus I love the Full HD screen, as well as pretty much everything about it. Hopefully you’ll love yours too once you get used to it – it really is a fantastic phone.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I was a long term iPhone user, starting with the 3g and then belatedly moving to the 4. However, I was paranoid about ‘losing’ my expensive, self-financed, model and bought a succession of cheap Androids as my weekend/holiday phone. I currently have a Blackberry Z10 and a surprisingly usuable £50 Vodaphone ‘special’. I do like the virtual keyboard, as opposed to the rather old-fashioned physical one, but accuracy really suffers and I have yet to find a satisfactory app.

    My next phone will be dual sim, so that I can have my two numbers in one handset.

  3. ChrisMitch says:

    I am another hold-out for old-school keyboards.
    I have a 4 year old HTC Desire Z, which is going to konk out soon. It is the first phone I have ever had which I actually like. I am amazed that there are no new phones offered which include a physical keyboard.
    I don’t really get on well with touch screens.
    Maybe the keyboard adapter is the way forward for my next phone.

  4. OlracUK says:

    Oh God -where to start? I’m not an early adopter – more like the guy who hides in his car outside the party until at least 3 people have gone in first.

    I worked for Tandy back in the 80’s – so my first phone was a brick that made calls and nothing else – and we could tune a radio in to listen to any calls.

    Then came texts, and digital (so no more eaves dropping) – then cameras until we now have something Star Trek writers would have wet dreams about.

    The physical keypads had an advantage – i had teh Nokia N97 – but really – get with the flow, come up to date. A large screen modern Android handset will take fantastic photos’ upload them to Flikr, Facebook and the cloud in th background, Just search the app store for a better virtual keyboard.One you can’t spill red wine over, or the crumbs from the bottom of the crisp packet down.

Home >> News >> About Me