zoola.jpg

header.png


Home
IWH Software
My projects
Retro stuff
Random stuff
About me
Contact me
Admin login




My mobile phone history

A brief look back at all the mobile phones I've owned, or had to put up with.
I was 18 when I got my first mobile phone, from a branch of Phone City.
As there was no pay as you go type accounts way back then, you had to have a contract, which meant you had to be at least 18, so there were no annoying kids with better phones than you. And as an added bonus, mobile phones with music players hasn't been invented, so no horrible teenagers playing tinny distorted music at the local shopping centre.
How times have changed, once upon a time you could only make calls on a mobile phone.

Part 1
Mobile phones which I owned and were in active use.
These phones, at one time or another were used as my daily phone, the dates are the approximate year I used the phones until they were retired or broken, please note I did have two phone contracts at the same time (one for me, one for the wife) so there is the occasional overlap in the dates...

BT CMH-400 (Analogue) 1994 - 1997

My first phone, a monster compared to today's handsets, it's taller and deeper than a phablet, and that's even before you extended the aerial.
Back in the day you had a choice of two analogue networks, Cellnet and Vodafone, however they couldn't sell you airtime themselves, you had to go through a third party, mine was through Securicor.
I remember the line rental was £17.50 per month before any calls were made, which were all chargeable by the minute, or part thereof.
It's still amusing to me that a full charge took eleven hours and the maximum standby time was eight hours.
However the most annoying thing about this phone was there is no key lock feature and the buttons were slightly raised, this meant lots of embarrassing pocket-dialling issues, the work-around was to lock out everything with a pin code, but this meant tapping in the pin to answer a call and it was all too easy to accidentally set all incoming calls to be blocked as well.
I still have this phone, the Ni-Cd battery is dead, it will just about start up with the charger connected, but there is no analogue carrier wave anymore to connect to.

Motorola MR1 1995 - 1996

I bought this early digital flip phone for £10 from a work colleague, after much badgering Orange let me have a SIM card for it, but I had to pay a £50 deposit which they promised would be repaid after 12 months as long as I paid my bills.
As Orange was a new and exciting digital mobile network they would let almost anyone have an account as long as they paid the deposit.
I chose the £15 per month 'Talk 15' plan which included 15 minutes of landline and Orange to Orange calls, this included free 0800 calls. This made it much cheaper to run than my old analogue phone.
It came with a desktop charger which the phone sat in and had space for a second battery of which I had three, two slimline and one extended, this made the phone measure almost two inches deep.
There was a car power lead available, but bizarrely this didn't charge the battery, but disconnected it and powered the device direct, there was a little pin in the phones power socket that switched the power source over. So when you had a flat battery out in the field you could only power the device in the vehicle. This made no sense to me, especially as there was no battery gauge, the battery icon just flashed at you as it was about to die.
The call quality was so much better than the old analogue system.
It could receive text messages, but not compose or send them, but at the time text messaging was a premium bolt-on that only worked within your network, so no great loss.

Motorola MR20 1996 - 1997

I acquired this phone for free from a friend as it was the upgraded model from the MR1, very similar but without the active flip to protect the keys, at least this one had a keyguard!
Some updated features were the ability to compose and send text messages (even though it was still a premium add-on and could only be sent to other Orange phones) and basic caller ID, just displaying the caller's number, even if it was stored in the memory.

Motorola MR30 1997 - 1999

After the MR20 took an accidental shower in heavy rain and refused to connect to the network afterwards, I discovered that yearly free upgrades exist, and I was eligible for one. Almost the same as the previous model, but caller ID now displayed the callers name, and you could adjust the frequency of search if you lost your connection, this saved quite a bit of battery life.
By this time text messaging was now included for free, but you still couldn't send them to other mobile networks. However with this phone there was a massive problem with text messaging. You couldn't look up numbers in the phone book when composing new messages. So you had to try to remember all your friends numbers, it would display the sender's name for received messages, which was like getting kicked in the balls as SMS messaging obviously had access to the phonebook.
Once I discovered the front panel just unclipped from the phone, I painted it red with automotive paint and polished it to within an inch of its life. This predated Nokia's Xpress on covers by a long time.
This phone was given to the wife because I wanted the Phillips C12.
Unfortunately soon afterwards this phone met an untimely death involving a car tyre and the ground.

Phillips C12 1999 - 2001

This phone was massively popular as a pre-pay phone on the new BTCellnet network because the amount of credit available was stored on the phone itself, rather than at the network. (Cue enterprising people creating mod chips to 'amend' the value stored in its memory, I never did this of course...)
I stripped the phone down and painted it yellow similar to what I did before with the MR30.
It included several monophonic tunes as ringtones, the best one was Old MacDonald.

Mitsubishi MT401 1999 - 2001

After the MR30 met its death between the ground and a car tyre I used my yearly free upgrade to get this (which was the only 'free' upgrade available to me at the time) This phone simply doesn't exist anywhere online, I think I must have been the only one to have one. I really don't remember much about this phone other than it was tall, thin and crap.
The wife had exclusive use of this while I had the Phillips C12

Nokia 7110 2001 - 2002

After I got bored with the Mitsubishi and Phillips phones I decided to use my yearly free upgrade and traded in both phones for new phones for myself and the wife, (the wife had a Nokia NK401 (rebadged Nokia 5110) on Orange Prepay.
The 7110 was the first WAP (internet) phone available, with a spring loaded front slider (which promptly broke) a large low resolution screen, and a scroll wheel a bit like a mouse wheel.
Getting the WAP to work was a headache, it involved several calls to the horror that is Orange customer services, eventually someone with at least half a brain there figured out that the SIM card needed to be 'data enabled', once that had been fixed and the network settings resent it connected ok.
Being online involved a phone call just like the old dial-up internet, and receiving a phone call or dropping the connection ended the session and you lost what you were doing.
WAP was just small amounts of text with the occasional black and white image, all loaded at 9600 bits per second while you watched a 'Connecting...' animation for a long time...

Sony Z7 2002 - 2003

This phone was aimed at the business market, it has a grey scale screen capable of 4 shades of grey with a orange backlight, an active flip, polyphonic ringtones also with the ability to record short sound effects and a five direction jog wheel all within a tiny package. It was a pretty good phone for it's time, even with it's extremely weak vibrate and 'easy to press in your pocket and change settings or activate voice dialling' jog dial.

Orange SPV (HTC Canary) 2003 - 2004

The world's first Windows Mobile phone (renamed Smartphone 2002), ignoring all the Windows Mobile PDA phone's that were already available.
Once you removed Orange's stupid application lock and got a file explorer programme loaded this was a great phone. However there were some problems...
The camera was a plugin affair which used a slow serial connection, it also felt fragile and was only VGA resolution, and in early ROM versions the only way to take a photo was to compose a new MMS message.
Orange's stupid application lock which blocked all unauthorised (ie, free) programmes.
Despite having a cradle which could charge the phone, the travel charger had to use a flimsy plastic dongle which either broke itself, or the charging socket in the phone.
But despite these limitations it could run games like Doom and console emulation software like PocketNES at full speed and full screen, no other phone available at the time could do that. And it took full size SD cards as well.

Orange SPV E200 (HTC Voyager) 2004 - 2005

This was the upgraded version of the Orange SPV, it had a integrated VGA camera, Bluetooth and Windows Mobile 2003 installed.
Otherwise much the same as before, but with a ridiculously short battery life, and only a five way thumb stick, rather than the nine way cursor key from the old model, it made games a bit difficult to play.

Orange SPV C500 (HTC Typhoon) 2005 - 2006

A much smaller device with Windows Mobile 2003SE installed, and a faster processor.
Much more pocket friendly than the previous two, and as a bonus, a proper mini USB port instead of the fragile propriety socket as before.
Three main problems with this phone, the first was the stupid scroll lever, a big five way lever that almost stretched across the width of the phone and was horrible to use and scrolling through long lists was faster if you repeatedly pushed the lever down, rather than hold it, meaning unnecessary wear and tired thumbs. The second was dust ingress, which got behind the screen and into the buttons. Finally it had a non concurrent keypad, meaning it wouldn't register more than one key press at a time. This meant most games were unplayable. So close but yet so far.

Orange SPV C600 (HTC Tornado) 2006 - 2007

Now I regard this phone as one of the best I ever had, running the all new Windows Mobile 5, based on Windows CE 5, a faster processor, higher resolution screen, a concurrent keypad and a proper five way thumb stick, decent 1.3 megapixel camera with usable video recording, smaller form factor and the ability to act as a USB drive (with third party software).
Eventually I enabled SuperCID to flash any ROM and unlocked the SIM, it ended up with Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard installed.
Was a great phone, even if the UK version didn't have Wi-Fi installed.

Orange SPV E650 (HTC Vox) 2007 - 2008

This was an oddball, a phone that split in half to reveal a QWERTY keyboard, originally with Windows Mobile 6.0 installed, I upgraded it to 6.1. It was a great idea poorly executed, too heavy to be used comfortably and after too short a time a lot of play between the screen half and the keyboard half developed, which felt horrible in the hand, and it wasn't a nice experience typing on the keyboard, it didn't lie flat on a table and you needed to use two hands to type at any reasonable speed. It was still faster using T9 on the keypad.
It also suffered with dust ingress behind the keys and only had Edge as the fastest celluar connection, it did have Wi-Fi though, and it looked great with it's blue backlit keys.

HTC Diamond (HTC Touch Diamond) 2008 - 2010

My first touch screen PDA. So close to being the perfect phone, let down by bloated firmware, a resistive screen, a tiny amount of on-board storage (4GB) with no memory card slot and a tiny battery.
Once a light ROM was installed and the whole TouchFLO 3D experience was removed the phone was much more responsive, this phone was the original #projectphone before the 2nd battery failure.

Samsung Omnia 2 2010 - 2012

Now this phone was great, I had the 2GB version, although it did have an micro SD card slot.
Other than the HTC HD2 this was (in my opinion) the best Windows Mobile phone available. You could switch off all the Samsung crap bloatware in the settings and use the Windows Mobile versions instead, even just using the default today screen made a huge difference. A decent AMOLED screen with a resistive touch screen, fast processor, decent camera with dual LED flash and a decent amount of RAM for multitasking made this phone fly.

Samsung Galaxy S2 2012 - 2014

After Microsoft killed off Windows Mobile, and eventually Windows CE, I had a choice to make, there was no way in the world I would have an iPhone. Hell would not only have to freeze over, but also host the Winter Olympics before that would happen. I wasn't impressed with the new Windows Phone as it seemed a bit of a backwards step, so I went with Android. Eventually I found Android versions of my favourite apps on Windows Mobile, mainly a decent file explorer that supported LAN and FTP, Navigation etc, and a very simple note taking app. However there was no Mortscript equivalent, this was not good, but I learned to live without it. This phone was quickly rooted and eventually had Cyanogenmod (KitKat) installed, before it met a tragic end after being bought by my eldest son.

Samsung Galaxy S5 2014 - 2016

I loved this phone, it was great, now I'm trying to convince the wife to have it.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 2016 - 2018

New phone time, it has a tough act to follow, in some areas it's much better than the S5, but some areas the S5 was better.

Samsung Galaxy S9 2018 - 2020

The S7 Edge was getting tired, so an upgrade was due.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 2020 - Present

The S9 had developed some issues, mainly the battery life and a rattly earpiece speaker, so an upgrade was due. The 100x space zoom on this phone is ridiculous

Part 2
Mobile phones which I also owned, but not in active use.
For example phones I had found, been given or bought for projects...

Nokia Orange

I really wanted this phone at the time, but it was far too expensive, however I was eventually given one that had been found in a nightclub and never reclaimed. It had already been blocked by a previous user. but no worries, I used it as a trade in for my next phone.

Nokia 3210

Can't remember where I got this phone from, but I had it for a while before trading it in for an free upgrade.
The UK version lacked the vibrate and the extra games from the overseas version, these could be added back in fairly easily though.

Nokia 3310

Similarly I don't remember the origins of this phone, but I remember it had a horrific girly cover with a horrible soft rubber keypad on it, I bought a stock cover from a car boot sale for 50p which made it look much better. I had this phone around the same time as my 7110 and used the ring tone creator to make monophonic ringtones to send to the 7110.
Eventually was traded in.

Asus P550

My sister gave me this PDA, it was branded as a Vodafone V550, it had custom software on it as it was a old work phone, one of which was an activity and location logger.
An attempt to lock out normal users from meddling was made, but didn't stop me from gaining access to the file system and uninstalling it all. Eventually I flashed a stock ROM. This messed up the GPS and I had a hell of a job to get it working again, but I did.

HTC Wildfire

Was originally my sister's phone, then bought by my daughter, then passed to me as it was rubbish. Low screen resolution, slow processor, and a small amount of RAM crippled this phone.
It ended up being smashed out of frustration.

Nokia 206

An old phone from my dad, I haven't really used this, it's just a spare emergency phone.
It does look and feel nice for a feature phone however.

Sony Xperia Arc

Bought exclusively to use for #projectphonereborn, it is a bit slow and lacking in memory, but after a good rooting and clear out, it's much better.

Dell Axim X30

This was donated to me by Trevor Smith, It's not strictly a phone, it doesn't have a SIM card slot, but it is a full blown Pocket PC with all the other connectivity options you'd expect, but not GPS. However it won't connect to my home network, can't work out why.
Other than that it runs Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition, which means Windows CE 4.2, and that means no persistent storage.
Also I can't work out how to turn it off, other than let the battery run out.

Samsung Galaxy Pocket Neo

This was another of my dad's old phones. As a phone it's hopeless as the RAM is only 512KB, the screen is only QVGA (320x240) and it only has a single core processor, but it does have Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
It was acquired to use for #projectphonereborn, so far I've rooted it, and cyanogenmod 11 (KitKat) is ready for flashing, but it doesn't recognise the ioio in host mode yet, just like the Xperia, whether this is down to the cut down ROM, I don't know...

Part 3
Mobile phones which I didn't own but used for work.
In other words, mobile phones provided to me by my employers.

Nokia Orange

As above.
I had this as a work phone briefly, before the company changed networks and provided new phones.
It wasn't that good.

Nokia 5110

The phone that rewrote the rules, Xpress on covers, personalization, tuneful ringtones, games etc.
Mobiles would never be the same again.

Nokia 6210

An upgraded 5110 for business types, taller and thinner, but no exchangeable covers. It had infra-red communications as well.

Nokia 6021

Twice I had this phone, it wasn't a bad phone, it just wasn't that great either.
It had a small square low resolution colour screen, Bluetooth, installable games, polyphonic ringtones etc.
There was a bit of an issue with this phone, if you forgot to lock the keys and put it in your pocket, the thumb stick being slightly raised above the rest of the keys would be repeatedly pressed, this would in turn, open the menu, select messaging, create a new message, open the phone book, select the first number and send them an empty text message. This happened a lot! The workaround was to save an contact with no number entered as the first in the list. Ie. AAAA

Nokia 107

About as cheap a phone as you could get for the masses, did have a low resolution portrait colour screen, games, music player, radio, expandable memory, internet but no Bluetooth.

Nokia Lumia 635

The supervisor level phone, as a phone it's not too bad, but for us techy types not so good, the showstopper for me is the lack of a decent file explorer with LAN and FTP access.
Unfortunately Windows Phone is nowhere near as good as the former Windows Mobile was.

Huawei P Smart

Looks good, has two cameras on the back, has Android Oreo installed, has horrible lag.

Part 4
Other mobile phones I had access to.
Any other phone that doesn't fit into the above categories.

Trium Mars

I had this phone as a loan phone while my SPV was being repaired (four times in total!)
I wouldn't bother putting this phone up here, but it was so bad I had to.
I had to pay a £20 deposit and I had the option to keep the phone if I wanted to, however everything about this phone is terrible, so I returned it and claimed my deposit back.
Nothing more needs to be said about it!

Nokia NK402

The wife had these next four phones, this one was an Orange branded Nokia 5110. Back in the day Orange renamed all it's phones for no good reason.
Other than the pointless name change, it was the same as the normal 5110.

Nokia 3510i

Nokia's first budget colour screen phone, the term colour screen is used loosely as it was crap. Low resolution, bad colour. But with GPRS internet and polyphonic ringtones, including the Disco tune, which actually wasn't bad.

Nokia 5310 Xpress Music

This wasn't a bad phone, although it did end up with a hole in the LCD screen cover and the red trim by the sides of the screen just fell off.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini

The preceding Samsung Galaxy S2 was better, actually not a bad phone but the minuscule amount of internal storage (5GB) was nowhere near enough, and bizarrely you couldn't move apps to the external SD card.

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017

This is a half decent mid-range phone, bit slow for me, but does the job.

© 2020 IWH Software (Ian Hill)