Old mobile phones

Last night I went to visit my parents. We stopped for dinner and then I ended up rummaging in the garage (of all places). Hanging up on a wall was a carrier bag full of mobile phones. My dad likes the older phones and says that they’re “proper man phones”, and not like the “puffy little dinky efforts” produced today. He refuses to get rid of them, so I had a look inside to see what phones there were.

Amongst several Nokia handsets were these two – my first and second ever mobile phones…

If I remember right, the one on the left is the Nokia 5, and the one on the right is the Nokia 5.1. To be honest there isn’t much difference between the two bricks apart from the keys, which were moved around and ..oh.. they attempted to make look less like a house brick.

How things have changed. I was at college when I bought my first Orange mobile phone. I went into the shop in Cannock and looked at the three or four available models. However, because I was less than 18 years old at the time I had to pay an up-front connection fee of around 100, which was returned to me after a year if I stayed on the contract with Orange. This 100 – if I remember right – was charged purely because I was less than 18. Now-a-days I see kids aged 7 with phones! Perhaps I’m getting old now, because I’m one of those people who remember a time before mobile phones – when you couldn’t just “ring someone” to see if they were going to be late home from work, or if they were stuck on the motorway, or just to see if they were OK and where they were.

Unfortunately the Nokia 5 didn’t seem to want to operate or charge, which I thought was a bit of a shame because it was in mint condition and could very well turn into a museum piece one day. I managed to get the Nokia 5.1 charging and I put Ems’ SIM card into it. It had a bit of a think about this, and then reported – after about 1 minute of charging from flat – that the battery was “Fully Charged”. Hmm.. That battery hasn’t got long left then! :) The screen lit up with the 3-line text-only display and I went into the ringtones, where you get a choice of not three, not four but FIVE different ringtones. WoAh!!! There’s “RingRingRing”, there’s “Ring……..Ring……….Ring” and the infamous Nokia ringtone aswell as two other incredibly similar-sounding ringtones. How we ever managed to tell which phone was which when it rang in the pub all those years ago is anyones’ guess. How did we carry the things? They’re massive. Just look at this next shot I took (on my C550) of the Nokia handsets next to Emilys’ Orange SPV C500…

They’re huge.. Absolutely huge. I remember going to the pub with my mates and having it either in my back pocket – you couldn’t sit down…or bend much to be honest. You had to pull the aerial out in most places to get a signal because – back then – getting a signal was a an artform….

“Hang on, I’ll have to call you back later – I’m just walking into a shop …the signal will go.”

.. Back then if you sat in a certain position you’d probably end up losing the call. We used to visit the local pub at lunch times (college work is very demanding y’know) and dump our huge Nokia 5 handsets on the table. Some of us had already “upgraded” to the Nokia 5.1, however it didn’t stop the table from wobbling under the sheer weight of the bulky handsets.

We managed to test out the old Nokia 5.1 text-messaging system, so I sent a message to it. “1 NEW TEXT MESSAGE” it boldy annouces, using up the whole screen. Sending a message FROM the phone is a tad tricky too, although I do remember that I could probably text people faster than anyone else at the time. I was even one of the first to PAY Orange EXTRA for the the SMS service. Yes, oh yes – you had to PAY UP FRONT to use the “Short Message Service” from Orange. Not many of us at the time actually sent text messages, purely because it used to cost so much up front…

How things have changed in such a short space of time! :)