Meanwhile, in India…

Mobile Repairing

If you didn’t catch this piece in Monday’s News Round-up, it’s definitely worth going back for. A Canadian student doing some research in India has found that the average lifespan of a mobile phone there is eight years.

I can imagine keeping a car for that long, but a phone? I’m sure you’ll agree, that’s just crazy. So crazy, in fact, that I need to put it into perspective — recounting some of the notable devices that I’ve owned in the last eight years then crunching some numbers.

And by “crunching some numbers” I mean subtracting eight.

2013 / 2005

So here I am in 2013 with my Nexus 4. It’s got a penta-band HSPA+ radio, quad-core CPU, 1280 x 768 pixel screen and an 8 megapixel camera. To borrow from the manufacturer’s trademark, life is good.

Meanwhile, in India, someone out there would still be using my hiptop2 from 2005, making do with a tri-band GPRS radio, 320 x 240 pixel screen and VGA camera. It actually wouldn’t be so bad if Danger’s proxied unlimited data network was still around, and I’d be somewhat jealous of the awesome qwerty keypad on that particular device.

2010 / 2002

In 2010 I purchased my first modern smartphone, Mobilicity’s Nexus One. Using this device required that I hand over my calendar and contact info to Google; in return that data was constantly synced in the background, without me having to do a thing.

Meanwhile, in India, someone would still be using my Treo 270 from 2002, which would require a cabled connection to a desktop computer and proprietary software to backup their personal data. They probably wouldn’t complain about the qwerty keypad, and the touch screen — with stylus! — wouldn’t seem all that out of place. But without a camera there would be no selfies or food pics.

2007 / 1999

In 2007 I was just getting started with S60, the ultimate PDA phone OS on a Nokia E61i. I could sync my personal data wirelessly to a SyncML server and take my pick from a wide selection of useful third-party apps, including emulators that made it possible to play Game Boy and NES games on my phone. There was also an onboard camera, but I’d have to wait until the following year and the E71 for a camera that was actually any good.

Meanwhile, in India, someone would still be using my Nokia 6188, a PCS handset with no third-party apps, camera, not even SMS… All they could do is make phone calls and play Snake.

So yeah, eight years is a long time when it comes to mobile phones. What were you using eight years ago, and could you make do with it today?

2 thoughts on “Meanwhile, in India…”

  1. Thinking back to 2005 brings back fond memories of my old Siemens M55
    Fugly but tough. It just wouldn’t break
    Drop from the third floor onto a tiled floor? Battery cover fell off.
    Got soaked in a sudden downpour, my MP3 player died – the M55 just went on, didn’t even shut down.
    Using it as a bottle opener wasn’t a problem either.
    That’s the only phone I didn’t break or discard due to disappointment – I lost it. On an open air festival. Slipped from my pocket and fell into a mud pool. Couldn’t find it. But it still worked. Even a week after I returned I was still able to call it, nut nobody picked up. I really hoped it might be found in the cleanup. But a few days later the battery was used up. I’m pretty sure it’s still somewhere in the dirt of that meadow…

    Thinking back to 2005 also brings back memories of that dreaded Samsung D500 – the worst phone I’ve ever had. Actually: the worst phones I’ve ever had. Had 5 of them, frequent breakage was a problem but they always sent me a replacement fast and without any hassle.

    I think if it wasn’t for the loss of the M55 I would have skipped at least two phones (the D500 and the SE K800i) and started my Smartphone carrer in 2009

    But talking about long used phones, my parents come to my mind. My mom used a Nokia 6110 from 1998 until April this year, when she reaplaced it with a Samsung Ativ S – quiet a step forward and I’m pretty sure in predicting the following: this phone won’t survive 15 years. 5 may be possible before she decides to get a better one.

    And my dad used a Nokia 6310i for 10 years, until his company decided to replace the last of the old Nokias with Blackberries – and he went through two of them in a little over 18 months…

    They just don’t build them like they used to 😉

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