Upgrading

Up until last week, in the whole of my life, I had only ever owned two mobile phones. The first was bought new and the other was second hand (a Nokia 3410, which originally belonged to my dad). Life has mostly kept me at home and I haven’t needed much capacity to communicate when I’m out and about (other than knowing I can call for help in an emergency). However, changes are afoot (more on this in a later post when things have progressed further) and I’m going to need to be contactable when I am not at home. So, a phone that can actually cope with voice mail, pictures and apps and a service provider that offers an affordable contract that I’m not tied into for years were required. I knew the day would come when I had to give up on my old Nokia, but I’m rather sad to say goodbye to it, particularly because of its link to my late father.

When I started to think about a new phone, I kept remembering this:

… but since I really didn’t have any phone fit for purpose, it was going to have to be a phone that somebody else had already owned. Mobile phones are challenging things environmentally, but I can live with acquiring one already in existence. The trouble is that if a smart phone is too old, it’s likely that it won’t function well because of the obsolescence that the manufacturers build in (and can be forced on the phone via its software). So I couldn’t buy a phone that was too old. In the end I chose a Samsung Galaxy 9. It’s several models down the line from the latest series, but it’s still a functional phone that can do everything (and more) that I want to do. I bought it from a company that specialises in second hand electronics and offers a 2-year warranty. It would have been nice to rehome a phone from a friend (like Mr Snail was able to do when he needed to upgrade three years ago), but enquiries did not yield anything, so the only option I felt comfortable with was buying from a reputable company.

I’m pretty sure that this new phone isn’t going to last anywhere near as long as my old Nokia (which I must have had for 12 years or more), but I will nurture it and hope that in-built obsolescence is made illegal so that it can have a long and productive life.

I realise that, because I am so reluctant to throw anything out that might be useful, I still have all three of my phones in my possession. I’m sure that, eventually, Mr Snail will find some use for components of the old ones…

All my mobile phones, ever

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21 Comments

  1. Someone once told me that built-in obsolescence started with nylon stockings in the 1940s, but that may well not be a fact. Our technology is a different thing – sure, I was as mad as a snake when my last cell phone could no longer cope with upgrades and I was forced to get a new one but, on the other hand, the world economy functions around new developments and manufacturing. A double-edged sword, I suppose.

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    • I wonder if that’s true about stockings.
      There is lots of work now indicating the viability of a circular economy that would stop the cycle based on constant manufacturing. Sooner or later it’s going to have to happen, because we are running out of raw materials, especially things like rare earth metals.

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  2. I agree with your attitude to mobile phones and to obsolescence. My first two or three were cast offs from my children when I finally decided to buy one it was a Windows phone but when Windows stopped supporting it, it took a while, but I finally decided I ought to get a new one. Otherwise it would still be fine.

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  3. I can’t compare with your 12 year stretch, but I flog my smartphones into the ground before I reluctantly move on because they just won’t function properly any more. And I refuse to buy into the iPhone mystique just because they’re made by Apple, even though I’m a huge Mac fan. I do recycle my old phones so they can be stripped down and their components reused through a not-for-pofit organisation. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than leaving them to gather dust in a drawer.

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    • I am encouraged by the fact that secondhand phones are available, but their abundance just highlights how many people buy into the culture of having to have the latest model. Grr.

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      • It’s crazy. There’s a culture of looking down on someone because they don’t have the latest model. At the prices they charge, I’d be more likely to be dubious of someone who just *had* to have the latest one!

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  4. I have had cell phones in the past, but I haven’t had one for six years. I don’t miss one at all but I know they do come in hardy when you are away from home. I hope your Samsung Galaxy 9 works out well for you. 🙂

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  5. Mine all get to the point of senile dementia mode – and I used to get the cheapest I could find new, until this year when a tech friend helped me get a better one, not totally expensive but I set a budget and actually it came in under that…there are lots of techy things I will never understand but it works…

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  6. Going Batty in Wales

     /  September 27, 2021

    Both your old phones look familiar so I think they may be the same models as my old ones. I gather the nokia now have a cult following because they are almost indestructible so I gave the 2 I had (mine and John’s) to my son. My present one was a gift from him and is on his contract so I had no part in choosing it but it will keep going until it stops working – Not leats because I can’t be bothered getting used to a new one with different ways of doing things!

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  7. frustrating, isn’t it. I usually manage to keep mine for about 5 or 6 years, passing them on to #MrG as and when I need an upgrade, but occasionally one of us will break one beyond repair (the last time I managed to knock mine off the side table, it took a glass of wine with it – the stem of the wine glass lost it’s foot on the way to the floor and spiked through the screen – quite an impressive if frustrating trick). I’m currently using a Sony, which are small enough for normal women to use one handed, and I find are very durable.

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    • I chose a Samsung because that’s what Mr Snail has so at least I sort of knew how it might work. Mine is slightly narrower than his, so easier to hold.

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    • Nikki

       /  September 27, 2021

      That is a really good point about sizing – there was a time when mobile phones suddenly all became huge, with double/triple the size of previous screens…and nothing small enough to easily handle one-handed that would also fit into my dedicated (tiny) phone pouch in my old rucksack. So I was forced to change the way I carried/stored my phone for travel.

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  8. I’ve got the three phones I’ve had as well. The thing I’ve learned with computers and phones is that is you get enough extra memory when you buy, the thing will last around 15 years. It’s usually memory that keeps the computer/phone from being able to update. I just got my first smartphone this year. Good for you for finding an old one…

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  9. Nikki

     /  September 27, 2021

    The built-in obsolescence is so frustrating, isn’t it? My current & first smart phone is 6 years old – the support available is very limited & updates don’t work, but I don’t care. I don’t treat it as a mini computer (although that’s what most ‘smart phones’ are these days), and added a mini SD card to store photos etc. Most of what I use it for is not important, but I dread the prospect of getting a replacement model, even if it’s second-hand, as I would have to learn how to use a new system all over again.
    I was always a huge Nokia fan – I still have my old durable Nokia 3310, sadly no longer working, in a drawer. I had always hoped it could be fixed one day…
    However, now that I am used to various apps on my phone, which turned out to be so critical for emotional support during this pandemic, I don’t think I can relinquish some of the smart functions. I don’t like the idea of tech-dependency (if you put your whole life on your phone, how would you feel it if was lost?) but then again, it has proved to be surprisingly useful, even to this late adopter!

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