30 day challenge!

04Apr14

Nokia 301

Our story begins in Lymington, in the South of England. It’s last weekend and I’m in a shop buying an iPhone 5S for my Grandma.

For someone in a constant state of love with technology it was unusual finding myself in a shop buying a phone that’s a good 2 generations better than mine, an iPhone 4S, for a woman in her 80s. While they were sorting the paperwork I noticed some traditional styled and very bright phones on the walls. These Nokia phones were of a kind I’d completely forgotten even existed. They call them “feature phones” and one was 99p with a contract. Ninety-Nine-Pence! I love a bargain and phones have always been a form of personal technology soft spot so when I got home I started reading up, fascinated by who these were made for.

The short answer was, everyone else. India, other emerging markets, the same places where Mozilla hope their Firefox phones will do well and where sub $100 Android handsets are the phones of the moment shifting in their millions it seems. Here in the west we’ve grown obsessed with our smart phones. These glaring slabs of screen seem to be increasing in width, thinning out and are packing ever lengthening feature sets to keep us sharing, snapping, browsing, chatting, tweeting and basically never doing anything but looking into our glowing conduit (and paying for the data to do it). All of this got me thinking… I’ve been looking at alternative phones for a while on and off. Spent a moment there thinking a Firefox phone would rock my socks. Or maybe a Jolla? They look awesome. Ultimately though, I keep coming back to an article I read when the first iPad was released. In that piece, TJ, argued that he didn’t really need his iPhone anymore because of the benefits of his iPad. That’s stayed with me and in a number of areas recently I’ve been trying to pair things back, use things that are a bit more essential, Prime lenses on my camera, selling the super-gizmo-filled motorcycle but keeping the simpler smaller one, that sort of thing.

High on my excited Googling I chatted to Alice about these “feature phones” reminding her of an experiment I conducted in 2010 with a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 and a John’s Phone.

“You could live with one of these, you know.”

“You wouldn’t last five minutes. I’ll bet you couldn’t do a month.”

She had a point. I loved the John’s Phone but the experiment failed when I couldn’t receive text messages reliably and I went back to my smart phone. Then I moved jobs and was given a 4S. This time though, my response was;

“Challenge accepted!”

I started yesterday and I’m going to see if I can do a month using this phone instead of my 4S.

The phone I’ve picked up is a Nokia 301. By smartphone standards it’s no stunner but for a feature phone it still takes advantage of 3G, which is nice because my contract comes with that so I may as well still be able to use it, has apps for WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter and a browser for the rest, and that’s out of the box! The camera is a 3.2megapixel average quality sensor and there’s no flash.

But … it promises email compatibility with Gmail or Exchange, a calendar, to-do lists, MP3 playback, a Micro SD slot, headphones and charges over Micro USB.

Wish me luck! :D

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One Response to “30 day challenge!”

  1. I was forced into using my 6300 Classic (a real beauty) after my smartphone was stolen.
    I missed Whatsapp & a mapping/ GPS function (OVI maps just didn’t work for me – screen too small, phone too slow), but could live without most of the other stuff.

    Amazing battery life, exceptionally loud speaker and sexy form factor were the advantages I found using it.

    Keep going!
    G


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