Ringing up the past

It starts with a lower-case i, ends in an E and becomes obsolete faster than Katie Hopkins can think of new things to moan about. It can be anything you want it to be - a recipe book, games console, personal trainer, pint of beer - at the light prod of a finger. You do not, under ANY circumstances, try and dismantle it, unless you want to illicit the horrified gasps of the painfully self-aware youths staffing the 'Genius Bar'. We are, of course, talking about the iPhone.

We don't need to tell you the latest big news from Apple (in case you've been living under a rock, they've released a new one, yada yada yada).  The point of this blog is NOT to make any more noise about it; in fact we're doing the opposite.  Forget the future of phones.  We're here to help you remember the glory days when Sony and Ericsson were still two separate companies.  Behold, our Very First Telecommunication Devices.

First up, it's Adam with the Ericsson GA628, from all the way back in '96.  A true brick, in almost every sense of the word, apart from the fact that it's plastic and sends texts.  Reading through the spec, it's just one let-down after another.  Radio: No.  Clock: No.  Phonebook: No.  Games: No…you get the idea.

Back when Nathan's dad was a businessman (we didn't ask what he is now) he gave him this beauty - the Nokia 7110.  He tells us (Nathan, not his dad) that back then, he was the only 11-year-old not in possession of a 3210.  Either through overuse or in a clever ploy to trade the 7110 in for the slightly more hip model, he inadvertently filled the sliding mechanism with grit and it stopped working.  We're not sure how his dad felt about this.

Someone else who inherited their dad's cast-off phone was Joseph.  No sliding action for him; just the plain old Nokia 5110 in all its rubber-buttoned, monophonic glory.  It had one of those aerials that unscrews, but nobody is quite sure why it unscrews, because the phone doesn't work without it.

Anyone getting the feeling that Nokia hype was almost on par with that of the unmentionable product we talked about in the opening paragraph?  Nokia phones were, along with skate shoes and spot cream, an absolute necessity for any late Nineties/early Noughties teenager.  'Connecting People' - that was their cuddly, all-encompassing slogan, accompanied by slightly smug-sounding MIDI chimes.  Ah, nostalgia.  The marketing obviously worked on Brian and Jon; their first models were the 8110 and the good old 3210 respectively.  

Laurie goes one better by dodging the Nokia craze and instead choosing this long-forgotten gem - the Phillips Savvy.  It's blue.  It's shiny.  It looks like something out of a Christmas cracker.  Vague memories are stirring about a TV ad at the time of its release that made everyone go "OHMAGAHD it's so tiny, I must have one!"  Remember that time when you weren't cool unless your phone was the size of a postage stamp?  The Savvy has now found its way onto eBay under the unnecessarily dramatic tagline 'SUPER RARE WORKING MODEL!!!!!!!' (with all two hundred exclamation marks).  It's a snip at £2.95.  Laurie thinks we should buy a job lot and flog 'em to hipsters who are on the lookout for the next retro must-have.  We think he's onto something.

Joint winners of the Worst First Phone aware are Tom and Thea, who both had the joy of owning a Motorola V2288e.  Now, where do we start with this one?  Its coloured rubber sleeves made it look more like a hot water bottle than a phone, but it looked decidedly bald without one on.  There was no way of turning off the key tones, so texting sounded more like torturing a duck.  Not that you'd ever be texting for long, of course - you were limited to 150 characters.  Strangely, this model never really caught on.

Oliver, when asked to share his earliest memories of phone ownership, decided to be awkward and show us his games console instead.  No, that’s not a smutty euphemism - we’re talking about something that looks like an alarm clock radio but apparently isn’t.  Long before the XBOX, the young Oliver enjoyed hours of virtual tennis (and probably not a lot else) on this piece of kit.

So there you have it.  What was once cool is now scoffed at.  For any hipsters with room in their bumbag for one of the aforementioned vintage treasures, we'll be down the market this Saturday...