Chris J Powell

Memory Lane – My First Cell Phone

I have been carrying a Cell Phone on a daily basis since the fall of 1995. I remember the day that I got my phone quite well as I went to the International Plowing Match with my Father (an annual event for us growing up) when it was first in Roseville, ON. It was my Graduation Present from my dad at a time when I really needed personal communications as I was working as a Security Guard in Toronto and more than once had run into situations that a Cell Phone was a matter of life and death.

nokia 636

At the time, there was no Smart Phones and the selection was not only limited…it was still fairly rare to see a phone that was not tethered to a vehicle.

The Nokia 636 was and is a solid phone. It did not need a Sim Card as it was on the pre-PCS network provided by Bell Mobility. I went looking through the web for specs and well to compare this venerable phone to what is available today is just not possible as it did not come with the ability to send/receive text messages, take pictures, surf the web or even play games.

What the Nokia 636 was though was a work horse. Over the 9 months that I used the phone it has seen Toronto at its worst…being at my side for some of my worst moments (and best) but it never missed a beat and always connected me to my backup and to the Toronto Police Service when I needed them. What truly amazes me, I recently dug this phone out of a box that we had in the basement, put it on the charger and 18 years after I had retired it…it still connected through to the Bell Network with crystal clear quality. I wonder if my Nexus will be able to do the same thing?

I did want to make some comparisons to size with my current Smart Phone the LG Nexus 4:

Nokia 636Nexus 4
Dimensions12.9 x 4.6 x 2.3 cm3.4 x 6.9 x 0.9 cm
Weight240 g139 g
Memory FeaturesStore 40 Names/Numbers16GB
Battery950 mAh2100 mAh
Screen Size48 x 84 pixel LCD Monochrome768 x 1280 pixels Full Colour

I wonder what life would be like if we did not move our “computers” away from the desk and lap and to the diminutive size they are now. The reality is, the power that I carry in my pocket today is far more “intelligent” than nearly every PC that I have ever owned and I can access information that I want, anywhere that I want but at what cost?

Thinking back to 1995 I remember paying about $35 per month for JUST Voice…compared to the $70 that I pay almost 20 years later…that gives me data, text and voice and really does not have many limits (2GB of Data, unlimited long distance and text) well I would say that when you compare that to my annual salary (I found some old T4’s from that time in my life) and the $30 per hour that I typically earn now as a “Sales Guy” compared to the $9.50 per hour that I was making then…I think that it is a great deal.

What was your first cell phone?



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