|Key features: Text-based mobile web, large and heavy enough to double as a boat anchor.|
Why I bought it: I researched the hell out of phones before I got my first one during the summer of 2000, and this obscure option was my pick. I loved the idea of the "mobile web," which would allow me to read text versions of major websites on the go. I didn't mind the size.
Why I got rid of it: AT&T charged me a massive deposit because I was young and had no credit history. When I couldn't get them to drop that down after a month, I had to bail.
Did I love it? Absolutely.
Key features: Sweet flip phone action. Battery lasted at least a week. You had to pull up the antenna to make a call. I think it could text message, but that never came up.
Why I bought it: Sprint, unlike AT&T, wasn't going to charge me an exorbitant fee despite my lack of credit history. Sprint has always been trying to get people in the door.
Why I got rid of it: I moved to Los Angeles halfway through owning it and found Sprint's coverage was mediocre at best.
Did I love it? Not really, although it had its moments and I have a soft spot for it because of the time in my life when I owned it.
Key features: Snake, AOL Instant Messenger, ability to program in polyphonic ring tones.
Why I bought it: I decided to give new provider T-Mobile a shot and, for the one and only time in my life, went for the free phone option.
Why I got rid of it: I've never been able to happily roll with unsophisticated technology, and one year with this Nokia was too much for me.
Did I love it? Middle of the road.
|Key features: Web browsing, keyboard, messaging, email, cool factor.
Why I bought it: I couldn't resist upgrading to something so ahead of its time. I also had a job at the time that sometimes required hopping onto the Internet on the go, which was impossible (it was borderline pre-wifi at that point), so having a phone that allowed that opened up lots of opportunity.
Why I got rid of it: The only way to access the Internet was through the cellular network -- again, pre-wifi -- and it was ridiculously slow, even at home. The phone was a little ahead of its time. Also, I broke it.
Did I love it? I liked it more before I got it than when I had it.
|Key features: Color screen, screen on the outside, camera.
Why I bought it: I switched to Verizon and went back to a practical, functional phone. At that point, "phone call reliability" was the key feature I needed in both a phone and a network. Times have certainly changed.
Why I got rid of it: My two-year contract was up and, again, I couldn't resist the allure of a phone that could do more stuff.
Did I love it? Of all the basic phones I had, it was the best.
|Key features: Keyboard, big color screen, early smartphone functionality.
Why I bought it: I was ready to go all-in on smartphones and I wanted more freedom to work on the move.
Why I got rid of it: It was terrible. I had to use the extended battery case to get it to last half a day. None of the smartphone functions worked particularly well.
Did I love it? Worst phone I ever owned.
|Key features: All the usual BlackBerry stuff, back when that was important.
Why I bought it: I started noticing all of my friends (and the girls I was dating) were getting BlackBerries and I wanted in on that wave. If I didn't have BBM, by love life was going to suffer.
Why I got rid of it: That will be explained in the next entry.
Did I love it? My favorite phone, hands down. The demise of BlackBerry is so sad to me. If they have a rebound from the grave like Apple once did, I'll be so very happy.
|Key features: Like my other BlackBerry, but slightly faster.
Why I bought it: I had the Curve when I was single. By this point, I was in a serious relationship (with my now-wife). We got into our first big fight and somehow it ended with us making up, then going to the Verizon store and both upgrading our BlackBerries.
Why I got rid of it: Everyone was bailing from BlackBerry and moving on to phones with things like apps and large (for the time) screens. I was also getting sucked into Apple at that point -- I had a Mac and an iPad -- and I felt it was time to fully acquiesce.
Did I love it? By the end, I was ready to be done with it.
|Key features: True smartphone, apps, Siri.
Why I bought it: I'd held out long enough, it was time to switch over.
Why I got rid of it: I managed to get three years out of an Apple phone before it stopped working, which might be a world record.
Did I love it? I never regretted making the leap.
|Key features: Like the previous phone, but bigger and faster.
Why I bought it: My previous iPhone was finally dead and this was the new one. I felt like a switch to an Android phone wasn't smart, since all of my paid apps are on Apple and the messaging, especially group messaging, is integrated with my computer.
Why I got rid of it: See below.
Did I love it? The phone never worked perfectly -- I always had trouble charging it -- but it did its job. And the camera was good enough for me to take the most important photos ever, when my baby was born.
|Key features: 12 yards long, two lanes wide, 65 tons of American pride. Also, no headphone jack, which we've been reassured is a feature, not a bug.
Why I bought it: I was going to try to squeeze another year out of my iPhone 6, but Verizon was offering the new one for free with a trade in of said iPhone 6, so I jumped on it.
Why I got rid of it: I've still got it. But I assume this will one day read, "It stopped working so well, so I pulled the trigger and got the iPhone 8."
Do I love it? The larger screen hasn't made a huge difference to me, except in the weight of the phone. The headphone jack thing isn't as annoying as it sounds. It mostly feels like a spec bump from the previous phone -- faster, better camera -- but that's more or less where the industry has gone. There's not too much they can do to make phones new and fancy at this point; it's all been done.