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The Progression Of Handheld Devices

Marc Armstrong EN

I’m not sure about you, but I’m pretty certain that touchscreens were sent from hell to torment everyday humans (especially those of us not blessed with the most dainty of fingers!). How it is that my touch screen and auto-correct still think I’m regularly talking about ducks is beyond me. I’m not talking about ducks, thank you auto-correct.

I loathe touch screens. They take my exceptionally fast laptop keyboard typing speed and reduce it to a mess of incomprehensible gibberish. Why, oh why, did handheld devices ever move away from buttons, replacing them with smooth, flat surfaces that bear about as much resemblance to a real keyboard as a duck does a bald eagle? See? I meant duck this time, and I got duck.

I set about finding the oldest phone I could, and decided to use it for a day, testing it in all the key areas of my life. Sending texts, playing mobile casino games, and checking emails. And thus I started my exploration of handheld devices, from the 90s to modern times.

90s Mobile Phones

It just so happens that I have an old Nokia lying around. I used it during my years in college, given to me by my father. That makes the beast nearly two decades old. I put aside my modern Samsung and adopted the old Nokia, which I nicknamed The Brick, due to it being so petite in design, and not able to be used as a blunt force weapon of bulky murder at all. Upon putting the phone in my pocket it promptly pulled my jeans down to my hip.

First, I honestly did not remember that old mobile phones required that texts be typed out at the speed of a crippled snail. For those who also don’t remember, or were not born in that era, there were three letters per button on the keypad. Typing a C required 3 consecutive presses of one button. I attempted to send my first text message for the day, and make no jokes when I say it turned into a ten minute episode.

I would have used the old phone to check my email; if I could have figured out any of the pages of settings it was asking me for. Automatic email setup, The Brick seemed to say, what do you think this is? Are you telling me you don’t have a computer science degree?

Playing mobile casino games was, naturally, not possible at all. My options were to play a primitive version of snake, and nothing else. And it was at this time I decided to step a little into the future, lest my jeans eventually landed up around my ankles.

2000s Mobile Phones

I turned my eyes to my other old Nokia phone, used for years prior to my current Samsung. It had not seen sunlight for at least six years. I remember it fondly, and was eager to use the keyboard, which had a little button for each letter of the alphabet. I didn’t remember the buttons being so tiny, but after a warm up period was hammering out texts in record time, with not a duck in sight.

Checking emails was not as easy as I recalled. For reasons I still don’t fully understand linking my G-mail account to the phone application seemed to only work when the planets were correctly aligned, or some other arbitrary requirement. It quickly became an exercise in bewildered confusion.

When trying to play online casino games the phone really started to show its age, spitting up an “out of memory” error when I attempted to access a casino website. The phone simply didn’t have the resources to display any website beyond the simplest designs.

Going Back To The Samsung

One tends to forget just how far mobile phones have come. Sure, we all remember that old phones were big and had lousy displays, but I certainly didn’t remember how bizarrely clunky and complicated the interfaces were. If I spend more than five seconds checking my emails on my current modern phone, I’d likely say it was three seconds too slow.

Modern mobile devices are masterfully streamlined and convenient to use, and never forget that. I can be playing online roulette, and in the bat of an eyelid switch over to my email without even having to close the game. My old phone would drop into a faint at the thought of such a feat.

One thing I can say, however, is that touchscreens may be excellent for playing a casino game, but my opinion of them being terrible as keyboards certainly hasn’t changed. It seems I’m cursed to be a duck enthusiast until some sort of middle ground between touch screens and buttons is reached, but here’s hoping I’m in the minority.

Marc Armstrong - Signature

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