Shiny New Toy

Regular readers will be aware that my relationship with mobile phones has been somewhat complicated. Phones get bought for some ridiculously cheap price, and last a few months before deciding being regularly dropped out of my pocket from my bike and doused in a puddle overnight is not for them and they run away, disappear, get stolen or simply give up the ghost. Since January, my phone has been the last survivor of this sorry crew, an ancient nokia with a partially non-functioning keypad (I could basically only send one text message – ‘OK, thx’ – which actually covers a surprisingly large number of eventualities) which meant I could only ring numbers which had rung me or if I got someone else to text them to me.

All this was marvellous for my call credit but was getting a tiny bit impractical given I was about to go up to Edinburgh to help organise a giant mass rally of cyclists. So yesterday, being in Bigtown, I nipped into the phone shop to pick up another doomed cheapie. Unfortunately, the one I’d bought the last time (which at least had a radio so I could listen to something on the bike) was no longer there, but on the pay as you go racks I noticed that I could get a touch screen Android phone for – well, not all that much money, although not quite dropping-in-puddles money either. I had a vision. I could tweet on it! I could check my email! I could blog on it and take fancy pictures and be just like one of the cool kids. And maybe, if it was useful enough, I might just hang on to it and not leave it behind somewhere random, or drop it, or generally mistreat it long enough for it to be worth it.

So I bought it. I even got ten quid off because I was ‘upgrading’ my mobile – although the salesman’s face when I explained to him how he needed to go about making a call from my old phone to activate the upgrade offer was a picture. He very kindly set up the date and time for me and I took it off to a cafe to try and work out how to use it. I discovered that a tiny little touchscreen keyboard is no good for anyone with fingers bigger than a five year old, and that I suffer from age-related gadget-learning degeneration. I’m still not entirely sure what my phone is actually doing half the time – it’s taken to wolf whistling at me at random intervals – and I’m fairly sure that I’m going to need a different tarrif if I’m actually going to use the thing for tweet. After spending more time backspacing than typing I gave up on the keyboard and went back to the texting numberpad instead (there is a voice entry module but given the amount of swearing involved when a piece of technology doesn’t do what I want, I think I’ll pass on that one). I’d love to claim that this blog post was written on the phone but that would be a lie as you can tell because it’s more than three words long and is spelt more or less correctly. However I have managed to send a couple of tweets from it with only a minimum of swearing. And I count that as being hip or hop or whatever the word is with the modern young people of today.

11 Responses to Shiny New Toy

  1. Dom says:

    Small screens and/or poor keyboard implementations do not work well. Although you should have got an iPhone (and therefore suffered none of this problem) all is not lost. It is my understanding that you can download apps that change your keyboard. One uses triangular keys which is supposed to be good for small keyboard, another allows you to swipe round the keys. From what my (admittedly quite geeky) friends say the swiping keyboard is supposed to be very good. That said not all android phones are equal and the one my wife had was so hideous to use I ended up buying her a new phone.

  2. disgruntled says:

    It does actually have the swipe keyboard, I might have to give that a go.

  3. Ross Wintle says:

    If you want a good pay-as-you-go Tarriff for data (so you can Tweet and email) can I recommend GiffGaff.com? Their ‘goodybags’ are VERY good value.

    Use this link if you want to order a SIM and you’ll get some free credit when you activate. http://giffgaff.com/orders/affiliate/
    magicroundabout

  4. WOL says:

    Or you could get a stylus thingie like I have for my Kindle Fire because the keys on it are way smaller than my fingers and so I don’t smudge the touch pad all up swiping at it to turn pages. — Styli are cheap and easy to lose — great fun for one and all.

  5. Bob says:

    I’ve never been able to get past texting “OK” on the phone I have here in Wienerland. Not even a “thx” since the stupid thing thinks I’m trying to text in German. I have no idea how to switch it over. I’ve switched all the rest of it over to English.
    So no texting for me. Probably just as well. Cheaper that way.

  6. fonant says:

    I recently upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy Note, and find it an excellent size for texting, a spot of web surfing, and fitting in my pocket. The big screen is just gorgeous! Try one if you can afford to upgrade.

  7. Andy in Germany says:

    I’ve just caved in and got a very simple Nokia so I can call Beautiful Wife from far flung places. Everyone around me is, of course getting smart phone things with cameras and all sorts of cool stuff. Mine has a torch.

  8. I “upgraded” to a wolf whistling Android touch screen jobbie about a week ago too. Know what you mean about the on-screen keyboard. It’s back to a proper key-pad for me next time.

  9. disgruntled says:

    heh. It rang yesterday and I couldn’t even work out how to answer it! I’m officially less smart than my phone…

  10. […] The slight problem with my exhilarating ride last night? I failed to notice my shiny new phone falling out of my pocket. Or rather I did notice it – I heard the unmistakable (and to me […]

  11. […] my old watch to work properly like it used to …’ * Case in point: the phone with only one-third of a working keypad which I kept using for another half a […]

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