The Evolution of the Smartphone


Glen Foerd Estate: scene from the first significant snowfall for the winter on 6th January 2017.

Two weeks into 2017 and I’m looking forward to spring already. Not that this winter has been overly harsh so far, but, while snow right after covering the landscape looks pretty, it gets old fast.

Plus, the arctic temperatures the Philadelphia area had been experiencing earlier this week kept this constant grumbler from wanting to venture outside into the real world.

In President Obama’s farewell speech the other night, he stressed that we, as citizens, need to leave our safe havens, or “bubbles,” as he put it, continuing to say, “If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try to talk with one in real life”; and I bet he didn’t mean by texting them on your smartphone either.

That’s another pet peeve of mine, seeing 90% of people in public holding their smartphones openly in their hands, glaring at them with their heads and shoulders hunched over while walking in the park, standing while waiting for a bus, or while doing practically anything outside beside looking at the beauty of the world around them.

I’ve been guilty of this on occasion, but it’s very seldomly done when many people are present, which seems quite rude to me, especially when accompanying someone.

My experience with these electronic contrivances goes back a long way, to probably when most members of the so-called “smartphone generation” were either toddlers, in diapers, or gleams in their fathers’ eyes.


My first Cell Phone

My first cell phone dated back to 1993 and was similar to the one shown on the left. The picture came from the Net. I gave my original model to my son for his collection of memorabilia.

It worked great. I remember using it while camping with him to call my ex-wife from Canada, to tell her we arrived safely and were having a great time, not mentioning yet thinking I was glad she was not there.

My boy seemed to enjoy using it whenever he could.



My first semi-smartphone was an antiquated flip-phone, going back to around 1996 or ’97, which reminded me of Star Trek’s communicators on which Captain Kirk would say, “Beam me up, Scotty.”

The device had the capability of sending text messages and e-mail, but didn’t have the option of surfing the Internet.

After the aforementioned one, I had another semi-smartphone similar to it, but smaller.

Unfortunately the gadget ended its life after falling into the commode when accidentally disengaging from the clip on my belt, as I was standing up from my morning constitution. That was not the greatest way of starting my day, let me tell you.

Fortunately, my boss was an understanding sort, for the same thing had happened to him. He made provisions to get me another one just like it. I ended up giving that one to my son as well.


First Official Smartphones

Graduating from the semi-smartphone, I fell in love with my first official smartphones, “The Treo,” both of which are seen on the left.

They were capable of browsing the Internet, sending pictures taken with a built-in, low-resolution camera via e-mail, and texting too.

The implements were the precursor to the “Blackberry.”

That was around 2002, well before the iPhone took the world by the hand when it came out in 2007 and changed the way we communicated with one another henceforth.

Prior to all this hoopla and aside from two-way radios, we relied on the “beeper” for when anyone wanted to get in touch with somebody who was mobile, relatively quickly. Remember them? Don’t blame me for feeling like an old-timer if you do.

As a service technician back during that era, I used to cuss and moan if the beeper went off while I was stuck in traffic in mid-town Manhattan, or on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and had to find a public phone.

Worse yet was while traveling the New Jersey Turnpike and having the pager go off multiple times, waiting until reaching the next service area to make a phone call, or getting off at the next exit to find out what was so urgent.

Pagers became more sophisticated and provided a text message along with the beeps, which was a lot more convenient. However, when the cellphone came out, and then the smartphone, my life was no longer a slow-paced affair, as everybody and everything wanted my instantaneous attention, especially with being hounded by e-mail.


My Latest Smartphone

Presently my smartphone is an Android, whose model and operating system is a dinosaur, but I still like and use it.

The keyboard capability, which folds into the phone to make it compact and is not available anymore with the new models, is what makes me keep this one online.

I’ve got fat-thumb syndrome and am a disaster with swiping on a digital keyboard.

Besides, methinks the iPhones are too expensive and, in the words of our president-elect Trump, “Overrated.”

Sorry for going off on a tangent, but my weekly 500-word tirade has been fulfilled and then some. Until next time, thanks for reading this and for your continued support.


Evolution of Man

About Mike Slickster

As an early retiree with an honorary doctorate degree from the proverbial "School of Hard Knocks," this upcoming author with a lot of free time on his hands utilizes his expansive repertoire for humorous yet tragic, wildly creative writing that contains years of imaginative fantasy, pure nonsense, classic slapstick, extreme happiness and searing heartbreak; gathered by a wealth of personal experiences throughout his thrilling—sometimes mundane or unusually horrid—free-spirited, rock-'n'-roller-coaster ride around our beloved Planet Earth. Mike Slickster's illustrious quest continues, living now in Act Three of his present incarnation, quite a bit on the cutting edge of profundity and philosophical merriment as seen through his colorful characters, most notably evident in the amusing Thirty Days Across the Big Pond series, all of which can be found at
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