My HTC Desire arrived this afternoon. Signaling my divorce from Nokia after a solid twelve year marriage. I knew eventually there would come a time when I would stop purchasing Nokia mobile phones, but I never thought the end would come in such circumstances. My first leap into the app market with a fully featured smartphone, comes after twelve years of using various phones. I have been here from the beginning, as the old analogue network was being switched off and as the mobile market in the UK matured and saturated to it’s current state.
I have stuck with Nokia all these years because they were always a brand I believed in and they had never let me down. However, by 2007, most of my friends had abandoned the Finnish phone maker and opted for a phone from the new kid on the block. They have their headquarters in Cupertino, California and their products tend to start with a small case “i” for some strange reason (perhaps the spin is they are technologically advanced!). Before I start to bash Apple, let me give you a brief history of my mobile phones. Let us go all the way back to 1998. In September of that year I got my first mobile phone and my very first Nokia. The trusty 6110. It was an advanced mobile phone for the time and I will stick my neck out and say that it was one of the best mobile phones I have ever owned. So much so that I did not buy a new phone in over three years. In 2000, I purchased the Nokia 7110 on Genie (an online offshoot of BT Celnet, which is now known as O2). This phone was inspired by use by Neo in The Matrix (although Keanu uses a modified 8110). This phone itself had some firsts and I started using WAP sites (which to begin with I had been rather cynical about) although the unlimited text messages did not last that long as the Genie brand died and converged into O2. In 2002 I got the 7210 which was my first phone with a colour screen and that could handle receiving MMS. In 2003 I got the 6210, which was the heir to the 6110, same style, slightly bigger and with more features. This was a time in my life when I had two mobiles. No, not work and personal, as you would suspect. I had two personal phones, my contract Vodafone and my pay as you go O2 (which I had have since the turn of the century). There was no real need for me to have two phones at the time, but I did and did not drop my O2 number until almost exactly two years ago! I should have dropped it much sooner, it was just an unneccessary expense, I got to the stage of rarely carrying both phones together. My O2 number would be kept at home in a drawer and just checked daily when I got home from work. In 2004, I got the 6230 in August 2004, which was actually a replacement, rather than upgrade to the 7210 (which I had lost on a Chiltern Railways train heading home from work in London one Thursday evening). This was a solid performer and a very well made mobile phone, but I needed more. Mobile phones had been around for over six years, the world had moved on and I needed to move with it!
My dearest friend Pav, had been raving about the N73! It was a leap forward in terms of mobile phones and I recall him reading my blog on the device as we walked to the Vue cinema in Reading. Nokia had advertised the phone with the tag line, “Multimedia Computer” and it did offer so much in a perfect little package. I was able to install TomTom Navigator and once my Parrot GPS was installed in my car, use the phone as my navigation device. The camera was also exceptional (for the record a 3.2 megapixels Carl Zeiss Tessar lens) for a phone and I do recall taking some photos and uploading them to FlickR. Of all the Nokia mobiles I have owned it was probably my favourite in terms of usage and functionality. In 2008, my final Nokia was to be the E65. I had wanted to get the N95, but it long been discontinued. The N96 was too expensive and to be honest, there were not many options available. It was the WiFi that sealed the deal for me for the phone and I let go the lack of a qwerty keyboard (although I would regret that later). It has been a steady workhorse of a phone but the small screen and long boot time (something most Nokia mobiles have suffered from) did not help.
In a post in November, I hinted that if I was ever to leave the Nokia brand, it would be for HTC. This ironically was the same post which detailed Pav receiving his iPhone and once again sending me a photo of him reading my blog. Being a gadget fan, people expect me to have an iPod and also an iPhone, they were surprised, when I bring out a chunky, three year old Creative Zen and then whip out a rather dated Nokia. I have to explain it was more appreciation of the hardware by HTC and the power of Android that took me away from Nokia. The fact that their product line up had little to offer me as a customer, just confirmed in my mind that my next phone was not going to be Finnish.
I cannot recall exactly when the HTC Desire came to mind, but with it’s launch earlier this year and Vodafone having a whole catalogue of Android phones, I knew it was just a case of waiting for my upgrade anniversary. October felt some distance away in early April, trust me. I kept myself occupied, by reading up about the gadget, operating system and applications. Speaking to my colleague Rich, also helped pass the days, weeks and months.
In July, on a trip up to Birmingham, I bought the T3 magazine from the Warwick Service station. It had a editorial covering which was the ideal smartphone for different people. The Desire was there and top of their charts, but what was more interesting for me, was the story of HTC Corporation. I read in detail, the humble beginnings of this company, that had for a long time just been an OEM for the big boys, Microsoft and network providers, such as T-Mobile. They had decided to take their own products to market. I had in fact heard of the company years before, from my friend Hussein. He had been a Treo user, but also fluttered with the idea of a HTC mobile at some stage (I cannot recall if he ever bought one) but he did have the G1 the last time I saw him, last summer.
On Friday morning, I logged onto the Vodafone website, looked at my upgrade options and then eventually called them to get myself a good deal. I was a very happy customer and was told to expect delivery of my mobile on Saturday, so I gave my home address. There was miscommunication, as I got a text message later that morning to confirm delivery for Monday. I contacted Vodafone support via a web ticket but did not hear from them until later that evening. I did not mind really, it just meant hoping that delivery was made later in the afternoon, when my Mum would be at home. Otherwise it would have to be re-arranged for Friday or my office address. You can imagine me refreshing the courier website regularly this morning while at work. I did receive a text again to confirm a delivery window. Thankfully my neighbour took delivery. I was looking forward to getting home and playing with my new toy and as tempting as it was to skip the gym, I did not and went straight to the gym from the office. I had made things worse for myself by arriving to work on time (just before 8:30am, when I normally arrive early around 7:50am) so had to work until 5pm, like the rest of my colleagues and get stuck in traffic on the M4. I wanted to earn this moment. I am sure I will get around to a full detailed review at some point in the near future, but I just wanted to let the world know that after six phones and some twelve years, I have changed my mobile phone brand. Will I ever return to Nokia? I doubt it, but like they say in show business, Never Say Never.