My first mobile phone was a Motorola C350 purchased in 2003 after furious bouts of research aided by the redoubtable Google, not to mention the brain-storming sessions with wife. It was a cute, imminently pocketable handset with a colour screen and polyphonic ringtones, carefully chosen over a deluge of bricks called Nokia having monochromatic displays and shrill monophonic ringtones. And mind you, most of these bricks would cost more than the Motorola.
What followed the milestone acquisition was a sudden spurt in number of people interested in my well-being. Typically, most of these calls would be fired during the hours when I’d be serving the daily sentence on Mumbai local trains. Having missed the attention of the super anxious callers on stray occasions, I was drowned by a deafening chorus to replace the ‘thing’ with a ‘proper Nokia handset’ with a ‘long battery life’. The friendly salesman at the mobile outlet arranged a decent buyback deal and I did pick up a Nokia handset. However, both of us painfully co-existed for a matter of two days when on the third day I found myself again standing in front of the bemused chap for yet another swap. He did not disappoint me and produced ‘just the piece’ I needed: a Samsung C100. It was an expensive deal but I was quickly convinced that no Nokia, past or present, could lick even the footprints of that Samsung beauty!
The gadget freak in me forced me to experiment with nearly a dozen mobiles of different makes, courtesy the friendly salesman and his quick swap deals. Come 2005 and I was to fall for the legendary Motorola RAZR V3, a handset with which I would spend nearly 3 years and that is an amazing 38% of my life using mobile phones! The mighty V3 still exists with my father, having survived several crash landings. I was so convinced of Motorola’s products that I ran for the second version of RAZR, a.k.a. the V8, the day it appeared in the showrooms. These were also the beginning of the times when important folks had started wielding two mobile handsets. Much to the chagrin of my alarmed wife, I upgraded my status by possessing a second phone which kept changing brands and forms while my first preference remained anchored to Motorola.
Sometime towards the end of 2009 I started noticing the absence of Motorola handsets from the showcases of mobile retailers. Poker faced salesmen (and girls) nonchalantly claimed Motorola had shut shop. Nokias would be offered as Nirvana to all smartphone desires, with barely audible whispers of Samsung and HTC. These were all mobiles running the Symbian OS or probably MeeGo(o). Now, I’ve been an open source nut all my life having wasted countless nights over unresolved dependencies and hardware issues of Linux installations. But sadly, Nokia’s open source solutions have uniformly failed to impress me, thanks to the underwhelming finesse of applications.
Alarmed, I turned to Google for explanations of the phenomenon, who promptly filled me in with near-death experiences of Motorola in the post RAZR era, courtesy relentless onslaughts of the inimitable Apple, redoubtable Research in Motion, and ingenious HTC riding on ‘Android’. But it had apparently returned like Lazarus, and taken a leap of faith into Google’s OS OS (open source operating system).
Interestingly, what saved Motorola from certain extinction proved to be the undoing of Nokia. Even as the leading manufacturers like HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and LG hitched their wagons to the stars of Android, Nokia likened these companies to Finnish boys (why not girls?) who pee in their pants for warmth. Apparently, the act offers temporary relief but translates to a sombre fate going ahead. What the startling analogy aimed at was that while the companies may gain in short term by saving the R&D expenses of developing own operating systems, the long term monotony of Android systems across a range of brands may turn seriously counter-productive.
Sadly though, Nokia’s own preferred OS’s, Symbian and MeeGo are following sadder trajectories. Repositories of Symbian foundation will be closed for ever in December 2010. MeeGo remains a desperately lone voice in the wilderness at best. Windows 7 for mobile didn’t move the earth as was intended, and what is worse, the prices of these handsets remain stratospheric. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nokia’s slander comes back to haunt them for just the same reason: Nokia peeing in the pants for not adopting Android!
Meanwhile, Motorola have not disappointed their mid-segment (read middle class) loyalists like me. My heart skipped a beat when I read about ‘Quench XT3’ with a 3.2 inch high resolution display running the famous Android in a cute jellybean styled body for an affordable price tag of Rupees 12,300. My experiences with Motorola Quench? No, it’s not the poor man’s Droid or Milestone. It’s not the poor man’s IPhone or Galaxy S, or Nexus S, for that matter. Suffice it to say it is by far the most intelligent mobile handset I’ve ever had, quite like a second awakening. I love the way it has become an extension of my Gmail account: the synchronization is two-way and is in real time. The Android market is amazing and probably better than Apple’s store. YouTube, Google Maps, FaceBook and other social junctions are mine for probing. An installation of PowerAmp has done wonders to the sound. So, at the end, am I happy that Motorola got desperate enough to pee in its pants! How else would I have completed my journey to an Android phone?