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?