I love phones.
For me, the love affair started back in my seventh-grade year of middle school, circa 1999. All of my friends were getting prepaid phones from iWireless. And you know the phone, the old Nokia 6110 was my first phone. I spent so many hours at kiosks at the mall picking out new faceplates, antennas, and keypads. So many hours on snake, so many text messages. You younger folk won’t remember text messages when they weren’t threaded conversations. There were definitely some embarrassing moments when you mixed up who you were texting.
From that moment, I was hooked. I was hooked on technology as a whole, but mobile technology is was really at the core of my new found interest. It wasn’t enough to have the cool see-through blue pager or the Matrix-style faceplate for my phone, there was always the newest and coolest thing to get. I always wanted to have something to show my friends when we were walking down the hall between classes.
Looking back now, the years feel like they flew so quickly. But, I guess that’s part of hindsight. What I remember from those years is my love of technology increasing exponentially. When the iPhone came out, I was sadly stuck on a Verizon family plan. I had to do the best I could to get an iPhone-clone. Every time I went into that store I was being sold on the next “iPhone killer”.
I wanted them all.
I got my first phone with a touchscreen and, man, did it ever suck. I honestly can’t even remember which phone it was, but after looking around a bit, I think it was the LG Dare. All I can remember about that phone was the touch screen bugging out damn near every time you touched it. My friends all had iPhones with APPS! I was stuck with that buggy piece of crap. I’m still not over it.
And that jealousy led to my iPhone phase. Let me tell you, I was the most obnoxious fanboy you could’ve found on the internet. There I was, defending Apple or Steve for anything and everything. Most of the time I felt like I was defending “my” company from those angry Android fanboys who had no idea what a good phone was. How could they possibly love anything made by LG, Samsung, or HTC? They didn’t hold a candle to anything designed in Cupertino.
We’ve all gone through that phase, haven’t we? Maybe it didn’t revolve around tech, but we’ve all latched onto something and defended it to the grave even though you have no real ownership over it. I’m just thankful that Social Media didn’t really exist at the time so none of my foolishness is preserved to laugh at today.
Then it all changed for it. My friend Ryan convinced me to buy a Samsung Galaxy S Captivate second-hand. It came with some weird-ass beta custom ROM that Ryan and I must have spent 20 hours trying to get to work right, then giving up and spending another 20 hours to try and flash the stock ROM. I learned a lot about Android during that couple of days. I learned to respect the software you’re working with because it can very easily be broken beyond repair. I think we soft-bricked that thing a few times in the process of fixing it. But, it should tell you something that seven years later I vividly remember video chatting with my buddy up north so I could show him what was happening on my phone. Those were the good old days.
I later moved onto a Samsung Galaxy Nexus, my first (okay, maybe second) true love in mobile technology. I owned almost every accessory, extended battery, case, or screen protector you could have for that phone. I flash every ROM at least twice. If that Captivate was that awkward teenager relationship where you’re nervous just to hold hands around anyone that might see, then the Galaxy Nexus was my first date, my first real relationship, my first time falling in love. I held the door open for that phone. I bought it dinner. I treated it right and it treated me right.
If I hadn’t loved Android before the Galaxy Nexus, my love was truly cemented then.
I’ve been through plenty of phones since. Too many to count and I stopped updating my records years ago because it just got tedious.
And like you do in long-term relationships, I got a little boring. I got a little complacent. I bought a phone, put my apps on it and went. Sometimes I’d install a launcher or an icon pack, but that’s as far as my customization really went. Maybe it’s a symptom of where I’m at my life. Time, not money, is now the most precious resource I have. Maybe it says a lot about how good Android has gotten in the years since I started using it. There are definitely reasons to continue to root your phone (and I love that the root community continues to be robust), but there’s nothing I can’t live without.
This year I went out and bought a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. It cost a lot of money and frankly, I could do without buying another phone, but I don’t regret the purchase. Something has been building in the Android community for years now and I think the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus represent a breakthrough of sorts. Everyone, Samsung, LG, HTC, Google, Motorola, have been chasing Apple for years now. And while many of them won’t admit it, Apple has driven the market and innovation since the first iPhone was released.
But, I think someone finally passed them. It started with the Moto Z last year and continued on with the LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8 this year. Apple has stagnated with three straight years of basically the same phone. Samsung, LG, and Motorola continue to reinvent themselves and Google finally gets in the hardware game. Don’t get me wrong, I still love iPhones. Hell, I still have that knee-jerk reaction to defend them when I see a dumb argument on Reddit, but Samsung and the S8 Plus excite me for the future of mobile technology now, not Apple.
I don’t know where mobile tech is going, but I do know I’m still as excited today as I was as that 13-year old boy sitting in my bedroom texting my friends for the first time.
This isn’t a love story about the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. I’ve shared my thoughts on the phone here and in other posts and will continue to do so, but this is a story about where my love for technology came from. Some see technology as cold and unfeeling, the unending march to newer and better. But, that’s not how I see it. Part of me is still that excited middle school kid, part of me is still the guy wondering what’s next and wishing there was one more thing.
This is just my journey. We all have our own stories to tell and I want to hear yours. Go on down to the comments and share… anything really. Tell us your story.