Every time I read about a new flagship phone, there’s usually one or two things about it that make me think, “Wow, I can’t believe a phone can do that!” These devices that we carry with us are constantly improving to keep up with the social networking, constantly moving, information gathering generation that we have become. We call them “phones”, but in all actuality these little miracles of technology are not phones at all – not anymore, anyway. They are small computers, and many people rely very heavily on them for our day-to-day activities due to all of the functions they can do for us. But for some of us, like myself, remember a time where my biggest concern for my cell phone was having enough phone book slots for all of my friends.

It wasn’t long ago that I was a sophomore in high school. It was the year 2008, and young Anna had her own cell phone - a Sanyo Katana II, if I recall correctly. Every morning I would slip my Katana into my backpack, along with my mp3 player, camera, and laptop. “Why a camera?” you might ask. “The Katana II had a camera, right?” Correct! But with a 0.3 (yes, 0.3!) megapixel camera, the pictures left much to be desired. There was also no SD card slot for storage, which meant no full-length songs. Honestly, I was just happy that my device got “Real Tones” (which were probably only named that because it was real hard to hear the song trying to be sung through all the white noise). It was a hassle to have to worry about so many devices that were important to me.

Fast forward just one short year and you’d find me walking around just as I was before, except this time the mp3 player was taken out of the equation. Why? Because I was now carrying a Samsung Instinct, which was a pretty big deal at the time of its release. It had an SD card slot that allowed up to 2 whole gigabytes of storage. That’s like, 300 songs, man! Not to mention I only really listened to about ten of the same angst-y songs over and over again, so I had a lot of room to spare. I still carried around my camera, because although the 2-megapixel camera the Instinct offered is a step up from 0.3, it still wasn’t that great, but I digress. The Samsung Instinct was a pretty fantastic phone at the time. I mean, it even had advertisements in the movie theatres. Yeah, it was that cool. Phones couldn’t get any better, right? Wrong!

Let’s jump ahead one more year and see where young Anna is now in her cell phone adventure. She’s no longer in high school, but she does go to work every day. Let’s see what she throws in her purse now: one phone. What, one device? That’s it? Not even a camera? No! Of course not! Because she’s carrying something crazy, something extraordinary! It’s a Samsung Vibrant! It’s got everything! It’s got storage, it’s got apps, it’s got a 5 megapixel camera, it’s got fast Internet, and that’s not all! It comes pre-loaded with James Cameron’s “Avatar”, and it’s still got room to spare! That’s foul wizardry at play right there if I’ve ever seen it. How do you go from having a phone like the Samsung Instinct just one year prior, barely hanging on to the term “smart phone” at this point (since then it’s been completely disregarded as ever being a smart phone at all) to something crazy like the Vibrant? That thing is practically an android considering how much it does! Oh wait! That’s exactly what it is, and that’s pretty much where phones have stayed since then.

The Vibrant is really where I started my interest in all things cellular. I’ve tinkered with just about every mobile platform since then, and from what I can see, things have been pretty steady concerning the direction of where mobile OS is heading. You’ve got Android, iOS, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry, all of which share very similar (yet different) interfaces. Both Android and iOS are at the top, constantly pushing updates to their successful software systems and large app markets. Windows has stepped their game up since 2010, which I was pleased to see as I hated anything 6.x and below. BlackBerry still has a ways to go if they plan to stay in the game, but they’re still in that general ballpark of including important aspects we look for in smartphones such as apps, a good camera, and social networking integration.

Such features have proven to me that nothing is impossible when it comes to technology. Our “phones” keep getting more and more complex. I’ve lost the mentality I would have when I’d get a new phone and think, “Surely things can’t get any better than this device right here in my hands.” Each time I’ve thought that, something more awesome would be released a few months later to prove me wrong. It’s just funny to think that back then, an Instinct, or even a Katana II, would have been considered “smart phones” at the time, even if it wasn’t aptly described as so.

So now you’ve seen the evolution of smartphones through my eyes, but all stories differ. Some of you started your cell phone journey earlier than I did, and some of you started later. Where did your cell phone journey begin? Are you excited about the changes taking place in the cell phone industry, or do you wish some things hadn’t changed? Let me know in your comments below!

Image via ConnectReviews


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113 Reactions to this post

"How many phones have you owned?"

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Daniyal Tahir
Daniyal Tahir 14 phones in 10 years and 1 month
Dakota Rohrsen
Dakota Rohrsen 5 phones in 22 years , as long as the work i keep them
Ada Clarke
Ada Clarke 10 plus:-)
Brigette Hope Reimschussel Lmt
Brigette Hope Reimschussel Lmt sine 2001 - 4 but only 2 of them where smart phones
Jose Villa
Jose Villa since 1998 - over 400 phones OMG...
Mika Kokko
Mika Kokko 7-8 phones
Simmie J Colson III
Simmie J Colson III I've owned way over 100 but I sold phones in the 90s and kept changing when something new came out so I could demonstrate them
Jose Rodrigues
Jose Rodrigues Since 1996 I have 437 phones I use s3 now
Eddie Phang
Eddie Phang Phone museum? Lol
Alberto Svergiz-Siri Sita
Alberto Svergiz-Siri Sita Actually 52... From motorola startac to iPhone 5...
Eddie Phang
Eddie Phang Crazy guys! You may open a shop to sell them! 50 phones wtf!?
Magnus Larsson
Magnus Larsson 11 soon
Magnus Larsson
Magnus Larsson 10 i think
Frank Porter
Frank Porter 8 so far
Allison Reynolds
Allison Reynolds 9-10
Hector Alvarado
Hector Alvarado not as many as you im sure!
Emmanuel Tan
Emmanuel Tan Around 22 phones. Nokia, sony ericsson, motorola. Current phones are samsung b7320 and htc one v
Sebastian Gomes
Sebastian Gomes 6
Andy Jaggars
Andy Jaggars To many to count or even remember
JD Thayn
JD Thayn 3, and they perfectly demonstrate the evolution of the phone.
Chuck Rico Taylor
Chuck Rico Taylor Nine or ten in three years
Marti Ruiz
Marti Ruiz samsung black jack, samsung flip phone, samsung gakaxy s, htc mytouch, nokia nuron, galaxy s2 so (6) soon note 2
Austin Fugatt
Austin Fugatt If you coun replacements 20 in 3 years.
Alexander Wright
Alexander Wright 2...
J Litz Van
J Litz Van I don't know how many but I do know I've gone through a lot.
Gary Bowling
Gary Bowling Current phone is a Galaxy S3, old phones include the HTC Sensation 4G, Samsung Vibrant, iPhone 3GS, BlackBerry Pearl Flip, Palm Treo 700, Motorola Krzr, LG Chocolate, Sony Erickson.
John Oliva
John Oliva Over 50
Tyler Kirchman
Tyler Kirchman About 20
Khurt Escoffery
Khurt Escoffery Wow where should I start... Motorola v600, some lg flip phone, motorola v700, Motorola rokr, nokia 6820, Motorola razr, HTC dash, HTC shadow, HTC g1, Samsung my touch slide, Samsung vibrant, Samsung gs2, Samsung gs3 (current phone) so that gives me a total of 13
Wayne Bobo
Wayne Bobo Kyocera Se47, Cricket RAZR V3C, Motorola Q, Palm Treo 700, HTC Vox, HTC wing, Samsung Flip, HTC PPC 6700, HTC Touch GSM, Blackberry Curve, Ubiquio 503g, My touch 3g, Nexus one, Nexus S, HTC Sensation, Galaxy Nexus
Gaurav Tanwar
Gaurav Tanwar 3 smartphones and 4 not so smart phones.... ;-)
Corey Hockett
Corey Hockett 19
Fred Haynes
Fred Haynes All the blackberry phones every model,and all Android phones except for the droids,my wife calls me a phone whore I buy and sell phones about every 3to6 mos. Currently own the sg3 but will br putting it on Craigslist shortly getting ready for the SG Note2 oh and I had the original Note also before I got the SG3
Brandon Johnson
Brandon Johnson Correction.... 9 smartphones(3 were iphones).
Brandon Johnson
Brandon Johnson I've owned like... 4 flip phones and 6 smartphones.
Marlin Steel Robinson
Marlin Steel Robinson Audiovox, Phillips Isis, Samsung flip phone, another Audiovox (prepaid), LG Fusic, Samsung Instinct, BlackBerry Storm, HTC HD2, HTC Mytouch 4G, LG G2X, HTC Sensation, Samsung Galaxy S2, and my current phone is an HTC Amaze 4G
Ken Hoey
Ken Hoey Where do you get the money ? Its called EBay! Don't like your phone PR want an instant upgrade...there's always Ebay ! Lol
Fernando Aguilar
Fernando Aguilar 3
David Stokley Sr.
David Stokley Sr. Umm every smartphone Verizon has sold in the past 3 years and before that every phone Sprint sold until i went to Verizon.. my wife worked for the Wilmington,Nc call center for 8 years so i was able to get what i wanted... lucky me lol
Scott Braunworth
Scott Braunworth Too many. I still have about 5
John Elizondo
John Elizondo Nokia prepaid Lol Kyocera I fergot what it was called Samsung slash LG Chocolate Samsung Blackjack Blackberry 8900 HTC touch pro Sidekick LX 2009 Huawie ideos Motorola Cliq LG Optimus T Sidekick 4G iPhone 4 Nexus S LG G2X And soon the Nexus 5:)
Erik Lee Morales
Erik Lee Morales 7. I think maybe 1 or 2 more but don't really remember lol
Azm Malik
Azm Malik 22!
Kevin Wilson
Kevin Wilson Iphone 3g, iphone4, Galaxy 1, Evo, HTC sensation, Galaxy 3, soon the Note 2!!!
Dounutz Sesar
Dounutz Sesar 30 ive owned iphones,sony.motorola.htc.samsung.l.g
David DiPilla
David DiPilla Way to many to name I had a Motorola flip phone Nokia a sprint flip phone then Nextel I had 6 phones then boost I had 3 phones then at&t iPhone 3g and 4 then Verizon I had HTC thunder bolt the droid 3 then HTC rezound now the iPhone 5 I may be fogetting.others like 20 something phones
Jomar Lee Streeter
Jomar Lee Streeter Right around 20 and i just turned 21 so yay!
Szilveszter Barbul
Szilveszter Barbul 6...The first was a Siemens, after that a Sony Ericsson T630, K700i, V630i, W995i, and now a Xperia arc.
Justin Cartier
Justin Cartier Samsung sch 1500, 2 defective BlackBerry storms, 3 defective droid 2's 3 defective droid razr's, and my current galaxy nexus. So that makes 10.
James McLeod
James McLeod 8...3 Sanyo flip phones, a Palm treo, a crackberry, HTC mogul, HTC OG Evo, and HTC Evo 4G LTE...next month I'll be getting the Note II. I still have all my phones but the OG Evo.
Marv Cabatic
Marv Cabatic 12! My first phone was a mobile bag phone that was dual nam from US Cellular. It ran on ATT and Verizon networks. Although it was a bit bulky, it pumped out 3 watts, which had no problem reaching the towers.
Keyser Söze
Keyser Söze 30
Gomez Tim
Gomez Tim Just this year? About 8
Willie McFly Beamen
Willie McFly Beamen I owned a sprint flip phone, a Verizon flip phone, 3 tmobile G1's, that tmobile slider phone, 2 wings from tmobile, two g2's, two my touch 4gs, Samsung vibrant, galaxys2, evo4g, iPhone 4s, now I have the best yet Samsung GalaxyS3:-)
Jason Croyle
Jason Croyle 2 prior to the Nokia 5800 since then 33. Soon to be 34 as I'll sell my GS3 and LG Nitro for the 920 :-)
Sean Watson
Sean Watson Holy crap people. Where do you get the money for 10, 15,20, I even read a 70 answer. 4 over the last 7 years. 1 every 2 yrs at upgrade. Mototala q. Motorola q9c, Samsung omnia, and now a htc thunderbolt, and I'm due upgrade in February
Enrique BigPapi Martinez
Enrique BigPapi Martinez I lost count but over 60
Shawn Poling
Shawn Poling I have no clue. I know a lot
Shirley Roberts
Shirley Roberts I have my 1st Smartphone, an iPhone, but have had at least a dozen ordinary phones.
Melissa Washington
Melissa Washington I want to say 25-30, but it could be more...
Eric Rogers
Eric Rogers 6 regular phones and 17 smartphones.
Ken Hoey
Ken Hoey About 50
Brady Feller
Brady Feller 14 phones
Zamir Yusof
Zamir Yusof 9 android smartphone since dec 2010
Tracy Fitzpatrick
Tracy Fitzpatrick Hahahaha waaaaaay to many from chocolate phones to mytouch to iphone to blackberry to one s to GS3 AND counting. Ha
David Brewer
David Brewer Too many to remember. 15+ I believe
Anthony Bailey
Anthony Bailey I have owned about a good 16-17 or so smartphones in the last ten years. That's just different models... not included how many of the same type I've owned for various reasons lol.
Jon Beuerle
Jon Beuerle 6 I started off with a prepaid flip Samsung on T Mobile, then went to the same Samsung but with a camera! After those two I owned an LG Venus (which was really cool for my first contact phone cause it had a touchscreen d pad.) That fell in water so I switched to the LG Env Touch, which was alright, but everyone had it. From there I upgraded to the DROID X which was an awesome phone at the time, but I was just excited to own a smartphone. Now I carry around the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon and am only going to buy Nexus devices from here on out.
Juan Botello
Juan Botello 45 in the last 3 years
Brandon White
Brandon White 7 over 5+ years
Steve Smyth
Steve Smyth Starting with the OG iPhone then in no particular order T-Mobile G1 iPhone 3G Nexus One Nokia N900 HTC Touch Pro 2 HTC HD2 Verizon Palm Pre Plus Droid Incredible Droid X Blackberry Storm 2 Nokia N8 Dell Venue Pro Verizon iPhone 4 Verizon Galaxy Nexus Verizon iPhone 5 I'm staying with iOS. It generally gives me no problems and on the 5 is buttery smooth.
John Cantu
John Cantu Sidekick, my touch 3G, my touch 3gSlide, my touch 4g, sensation 4g, radar 4g, iPhone4, iPhone 4S
Noe Zuniga
Noe Zuniga HTC Shadow,G1,My Touch,G2,HTC Sensation,Nexus S,HTC Radar,Galaxy S2 and soon Galaxy Note 2 =)
Ricky Arrazola
Ricky Arrazola I've had 4. The G1, mytouch 3G, mytouch 3G slide, and now I have the mytouch 4G. I'm waiting for the Samsung galaxy note 2
Cristhian Urquilla
Cristhian Urquilla From sonny Ericson w580 to galaxy s3 5
Joe Czo
Joe Czo I forgot to mention the HTC hd7 lol
Larry L Roe
Larry L Roe About 30 difrent nextel phones 5 iphones 11 android phones 2 microsoft mobile divices 7 side kicks and 3 motorola 3 way pagers and 5 reg phones
Oliver Evo
Oliver Evo 5 :D
Keith Go Packers Boror
Keith Go Packers Boror Owened about 20
Mike Stegman
Mike Stegman where do i begin...T-mobile Dash, G1, MyTouch 3G , Blackberry Bold, Blackbeery Flip, Samsung Captivate, HTC Inspire, Galaxy S2, iPhone, and currently HTC ONE X...bit of an addict i guess
Joe Czo
Joe Czo Samsung behold, Mytouch 3g, Motorola cliq, blackberry curve, mytouch 4g, HTC g2, palm pixi, palm pre, palm pre plus, Samsung fascinate, Samsung vibrant, droid 3, HTC thunderbolt, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, Motorola razr maxx, gs3 (I was with tmo in the beginning then switched to sprint 'bad idea' and then to Verizon and I've been happy ever since)
Zeeshan Akhtar
Zeeshan Akhtar 12
Marc-Antoine Potvin
Marc-Antoine Potvin Since 4.5 years
Marc-Antoine Potvin
Marc-Antoine Potvin 13
Brandon Moore
Brandon Moore Oh god lol ummm well on the past 3 months I have had 5. But total starting in 08 about 70
Brett Reardon
Brett Reardon Nokia 6133, Sidekick iD, Samsung Blast, Blackberry 8120, T-Mobile G1, Blackberry 9700, Nexus One, G2, G2x, Sensation 4G, Galaxy S2, Radar 4G, Galaxy Nexus, and now a One S. So 14 models, though I had multiples of a couple due to warranty exchanges, switching back and forth, etc.
Kiisha Arnold
Kiisha Arnold I think 7. Whats with some saying 2 or 3. How is that even possible. I guess if ur like 16 or something =D....ohhh maybe some r reading the question wrong? Its "How many phones Have u Owned"....
Osbourne Cox
Osbourne Cox 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 5 different phones.
Steven T. Pace
Steven T. Pace I still have the old Motorola bag phone, where u gotta pull the antenna up.
Guillermo Lene
Guillermo Lene i have owned more then 10 phones...
Wiam Wee
Wiam Wee 1
Lance Tomlinson
Lance Tomlinson Blackjack 2, Captivate, Xperia x10, Xperia Arc, Xperia Ray, Galaxy S2, Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, Razr, Galaxy Note, iphone 3gs, iphone 4, iphone 4s, HTC Desire S, HTC Desire Z, HTC one V, and a few other I am probably forgetting about. Currently own: Galaxy Nexus. Also I've had multiple of certain phones (Example: 2 black and 1 white Nexus S, 3 Arcs, 2 iphone 4, etc)
Andrew Conrad
Andrew Conrad A lot. iPhone will probly slow down wanting a new phone for a while.
Bright Ivan
Bright Ivan my first smartphone is the galaxy s2, and it's still my current phone
Olivér Dunár
Olivér Dunár 4, Htc one S is my fourth.
Aaron Tillery
Aaron Tillery 68 since aug 2007 have iPhone 15 now
Molly Markiewicz
Molly Markiewicz 10? 2 nokias, a sony ericsson, 2 prepaids unsure what they were, a helio ocean, a blackjack, a blackjack2, a palm pixi, and now my samsung galaxy s2 - clearly i favor samsung phones :)
Pritpal Singh
Pritpal Singh 12
Robert Salender
Robert Salender Since the Nokia 330? Six.
Terry Oakes
Terry Oakes 15 this year alone
Travis Newhero
Travis Newhero Droid 3 / Droid 4. I'm kinda hoping for a Nexus-Cert. Keyboarder.
Daniel Terrazas
Daniel Terrazas Estimate over 30
Aleksandar Sataric
Aleksandar Sataric 15
Weylin Skjöld
Weylin Skjöld Too many to count
Jitendra Prajapat
Jitendra Prajapat 57
Matt Collins
Matt Collins About 258 phones
Mark Acquah
Mark Acquah 1
Matt Collins
Matt Collins Been with Verizon 5 yrs. have had every phone in there line up iPhone 7 diff times an razr 6.
Jesse Ling
Jesse Ling officially as far as smartphones go,ive had three;one blackberry,and now on my 2nd android
Vince Gallo
Vince Gallo Motorola KRZR, LG Voyager, Droid X, Droid 2 Global, Droid Charge, now Galaxy SIII :)
Kevin Cuffel
Kevin Cuffel 2. Both of the Samsung Galaxy family.
Khalid Dris
Khalid Dris 2 - Samsung S3 and Samsung Galaxy Note II
Rasin Muhammad Sadooq
Rasin Muhammad Sadooq 3 for me

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