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My smartphone story

I’ve recently read a few posts where the authors have shared their smartphone stories. Then last week I got my hands on my very first smartphone again (I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to that and still own every single one of my smartphones) and figured why not blog about it? So here it is, my smartphone story.

Apple iPod touch 4. Gen

It doesn’t start with a smartphone in the actual sense. For my 12th birthday (2011) I wanted one, I think I wanted a Windows Phone at that time. But my parents didn’t seem to want to trust me with a smart phone yet, so they first gave me an iPod touch. Many in my school class had iPods back then, and it was also a great device. For the first time I got in touch with apps and was able to try out a lot of things. I actually spent a lot of time with the device, perhaps because my parents had quite restrictively limited my Internet access to a few minutes a day?

However, the iPod touch was also my last Apple device after my iPod Nano (4th gen), which I had gotten for listening to music before. When the big iOS 7 update with the new design came out, but the 4th gen iPod touch didn’t get the update and gradually fewer apps were supported, I used it less and less. I tried to jailbreak it again, but eventually the device ended up in the drawer.

Sony Xperia tipo

But since more and more people from my school class not only had an iPod, but also a smartphone with which you could also make phone calls or use the Internet on the go without Wi-Fi, and I really wanted a smartphone, I got the Sony Xperia tipo for Christmas 2012. To be able to use the Internet while out and about as well, I had a plan that offered 100 MB of mobile data at no cost. I always had to be careful to save data as much as possible so that the data volume wasn’t used up after just a few days. To do this, I used apps like the Opera Mini browser, which still worked reasonably well even when the throttling to 64 kbits kicked in. WhatsApp allowed me to stay in touch with classmates back then.

The customizability of Android fascinated me so much that I tried out countless app launchers and also tried out some custom ROMs. I also tried my hand at app development.

The 3.2-inch screen was even smaller than the screen of the iPod touch (3.5 inches), but somehow you could still manage with it at that time.

Motorola Moto E

Since the performance and the meanwhile outdated Android version of the tipo were not enough for me at some point, I bought the first smartphone with my own money after a long intensive research, a Motorola Moto E. At that time, Motorola brought out really good smartphones (probably still developed in Google times) with a rather little modified (vanilla) Android version. The devices were good, but also cheap. After I bought the Moto E, everyone in my family had a Motorola smartphone at some point.

With this smartphone, I programmed even more apps (and published them in the Play Store) and at some point tried out custom ROMs like Lineage OS again.

Motorola Moto G (3. Gen)

Over time, my Moto E started to get more and more quirks. It simply crashed in between (I somehow had that with almost every smartphone, except for my current one) and the old Android version also bothered me so much at some point that I bought a new smartphone. This time not from the lowest budget range, but rather from the mid-range: A Motorola Moto G of the 3rd generation.

That, meanwhile, had a much larger 5-inch screen and more memory (16 GB) and RAM (2 GB) than my previous smartphones. This helped me to dive further into app development. At that time, I was developing various apps with complete strangers from all over the world, which was a really great experience.

I got my act together and stayed away from custom ROMs for now so as not to compromise the warranty, but eventually, after this smartphone stopped getting official updates as well, I flashed Lineage OS to get a higher Android version and customize the smartphone a bit more. I really liked that phone.

Xiaomi Mi A1

With my apprenticeship and finally a regular salary, I decided to buy a new device again in 2018. One that had a USB-C port and a fingerprint sensor, as well as two cameras: The Xiaomi Mi A1.

In my review back then, I was excited about Android Oreo’s new features and the large battery that lasted a bit longer. Unfortunately, the Mi A1 did not have an NFC chip, which is still the case even in some current Xiaomi smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite

The large amount of money on my account and a few minor problems with my Mi A1 made me look for new smartphones in 2020. I first had in mind to pre-order a OnePlus North, but then cancelled my order.

I spent a number of hours looking at reviews and reports on various Samsung smartphones until I came across my current smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite, during a discount promotion.

This smartphone is the highest quality of all my smartphones and still has all the features I need in a smartphone, almost 2 years later. Only recently came an update to Android 12, which is somehow less and less important, since less and less changes between Android versions and also some system components can be updated independently. Also included is NFC, which finally allows me to use my smartphone for payments, which I do frequently. Furthermore, a good camera, which usually makes a separate camera unnecessary. And a large battery that lasts at least one, sometimes even 2 days.

But maybe I have become more comfortable in the meantime. I hardly care about app development anymore, I would have to look up the new Android 13 features first, and I did not inform myself about this year’s Google I/O either. I mainly use the smartphone for mobile Internet, communication, photos, payments and navigation.

In general, smartphones have reached a level where hardly anything happens anymore, according to my impression. Here and there, the camera is a bit better in new smartphones. Then one or the other smartphone has a few percent more performance. But in total, there is hardly anything really innovative going on anymore. But maybe that’s a good thing. Hopefully, this increases the lifespan of the smartphones, which should be good for the environment.

I, for one, plan to continue using my current smartphone for a bit longer…

See Joel’s post as well, to read another smartphone story!

byJan-Lukas Else • posted archived copycurrent