Ten Years Of Portable Internet Access

My 2006 smartphone, a Qtek 9100
My 2006 smartphone, a Qtek 9100

On 2 February 2006 I took delivery of my first smartphone, or handdator as I called it in my diary – “hand computer”. On the following day I got the machine on-line. It was a Qtek 9100, with a slide-out mechanical keyboard that I still really miss, a tiny screen, a stylus and a crappy camera. Since then I’ve had portable Internet access.

I was already a self-described “net head”, and a particular reason for me to get a smartphone was that I’d started blogging a few weeks previously: I wanted to be able to post no matter where I was. On 8 February, for instance, I almost managed to blog from a train. On 26 February I blogged while skiing cross-country. On 14 April I blogged about my hatred of aluminium bottle tops while sitting on my haunches in an Östergötland field. And on 1 June I blogged from the top of a tree in the middle of the Erstavik woods. Though I had no way of putting photographs on-line from my smartphone at the time.

Quite apart from the blogging aspect, this constant access to the net has of course changed my whole way of life. Google Maps means I don’t prepare for trips anywhere near as well as before. That info can be had on the fly. Even tickets for buses and planes are in the smartphone. And any discussion of factual matters is now simply resolved by someone checking Wikipedia. Ebooks, streaming music and podcast subscription software keep me entertained and my luggage light. And email and Facebook are always with me.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 that I use these days is of course so much better than that old Qtek in most respects. Except for the virtual keyboard and autocorrect. And for the ridiculous fact that phones are no longer made with anywhere to fasten a wrist strap. But what really hampers my smartphone use is a weakness that has been with these devices ever since 2006: I still have to charge the silly thing every night.