Flashback Friday: When did you realize you were a smartphone addict?

Daniel Bader

February 15, 2013 9:37pm

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According to a recent IDC survey, 91% of Canadian smartphone owners keep their devices in reach 100% of the time. Think about that statistic for a moment. There are roughly 21 million smartphones in use Canada, with a 59% adoption rate across the carriers. Nineteen million Canadians are never more than a few steps from their handset(s).

We’ve all been there: that moment, perhaps months or years after the purchase of your first smartphone, when you realize you’re completely, hopelessly addicted to that device in your pocket or your purse. For most people, it is a gradual, insidious change of behaviour; half an hour a day turns into an hour that becomes several. Where once you may have been able to ignore the flashing red light, you are now summoned to it like a salivating dog after kibble.

When was that first moment for you? I think, for me, it was when I discovered the custom ROM scene on Android. The day after I brought home a Motorola Milestone, hearing about all the things you could do with a rooted device — like jailbreaking on steroids. Unlike the Verizon Motorola Droid, which shipped with an unlocked bootloader, the Milestone was very much a baby of the carriers, completely locked down. I spent hours on XDA-Developers parsing instructions, reading tips and tricks, attempting to root that sucker. I slept little that night, and there have been others like it since, the attraction of breaking down a device’s OEM-imposed barriers too tantalizing to resist.

Cellular phones have changed our lives; we can’t remember a time when it wasn’t possible to make a call from anywhere, and many take for granted that, instead of reading a book on the way to work, there is always a few minutes for Subway Surfer or Words With Friends. And when you’re sitting in a nice restaurant and your phone vibrates in your pocket, don’t tell me there hasn’t been a moment of panic as you wondered whether it was important enough to risk being considered rude.

Smartphone addiction shouldn’t be dismissed, either, despite the levity of the preceding paragraphs. It can cause real, substantive harm to a person’s life. But that’s not for this column; we are all slaves to our phones, but hopefully, at the end of the day, we are still in control.

  • Raid

    It started when my phone did more for me than just be a talking/texting device. Although not a smartphone, when I got the Sony Ericsson Cybershot K800i, it completely replaced my digital camera and added a new level of use from my phone.

    Never looked back since.

    • Boopinder Fenderbender

      It all started when my cousin in india showed me his phone from india.

    • Just sying

      When Steve Jobs said “you are holding it wrong”

    • Blacklisted

      Funny, my girlfriend said the same thing to me on our first date.

  • Canada FTW!

    Probably when I stopped using my iPod and used my Samsung Fascinate instead and would risk everything to text all the time

  • skullan

    I’m not a smartphone addict, I’m a cell plan addict. However, thankfully, the Canadian Telecom industry has been helping me break this addiction due to the crappy value of plans they have been putting out since HSPA became the norm.

  • thisismysmartphone.tumblr.com

    Probably when I got my Nokia N95 and iPhone 3G (in the same month). Phones were no longer devices made for calling and texting – they turned into small computers. I’m currently an Android user but I thank god for Apple and the iPhone because it truly paved the way for smartphones.

  • Kevin

    Just about now.. Since my phone plan has unlimited data.. I keep taking photos and share on Streamzoo and Facebook.. LOL! About the time when I realized that I sleep with phone, I constantly feel like there is an incoming message when there isn’t..

  • Tibor

    ITT: Virgins.

  • Dakunclear

    I think for me, it was when I got the first Iphone that I had to import from the US, so I could use it. After that it was just a thing to have the latest and greatest and always be on top of the mobile world.

    When I went to China, I didn’t have a camera I had my Iphone and it took decent pictures, so it was my saving grace.

  • Lazardus

    After my HTC Desire!

  • sunJammer

    Around 2000 when I got a BlackBerry. Being able to text, browse, email, check up on stocks, and play simple games anywhere on-the-go was addicting… the physical symptoms were feeling phantom-vibrations occasionally throughout the day on my hip-bone even when I wasn’t wearing my phone on its belt-clip.

  • elgoog

    i became addicted to texting back when i got my lg rumour 2, but when i got my first smartphone (htc one s) i was really excited but quickly realized that its just a phone, nothing very special.
    I barely use it now a days and im quite glad im not addicted like this younger generation is rapidly becoming.

  • Tom

    Started when I began using the phone more than just a phone/text with music first (with Nokia 6270), camera (Nokia N82), emails (Samsung Vibrant), then internet (Galaxy Nexus). Now I’m on N4, and I feel like even if I’m not updating, I feel the need to constantly see what’s the latest and greatest.

  • wewewi

    I embraced to embedded market (Archos 5IT, Android 1.5/1.6) well before my first Smartphone.

  • apowerranger

    The first time I booted up my Blackberry 8900, I was hooked. I’ve now got way too much technology than is healthy

    • BIll Murray

      The Blackberries never did it for me, they were always just a really good phone compared to those cheap feature phones most people start out with. But, they never excited me…

  • mhls

    Since my 6600

  • KID ANDROID

    I’m completely addicted to the point that my wife threatens to kick me out if I don’t stop paying so much attention to my mobile devices, Now that’s bad lol. Unfortunately I can’t stop it’s become my passion. I would rather learn more about the latest & the greatest & help ppl enjoy their device as much as me then have sex, and I’m serious to. Oh well its become me lol

  • BIll Murray

    My first smartphone was a Bold 9800, but it never tickled my ticklish bits, and so I became an addict when I got my first android phone, an HTC desire HD. I still remember when I turned it on and saw that massive screen light up, it triggered an emotional response that had me smiling ear to ear. And that was it…been boring people to death talking to them about phone stuff, and telling them there iphone sucks ever since.

  • kevin

    My first taste of a smartphone was the Nokia E71, and then it was the phone my E71…that got me addicted which was the HTC Legend.

  • Franssu

    I was already quite addicted to cellphones since my fist Motorola Flare. My first smartphone was a Blackberry Pearl, but, like you, the real smartphone addiction came with the Motorola Milestone.
    Now not only I am a smartphone addict, I’m a happy Android freak. To cut a bit on the custom ROMs I switched to the Nexus line and didn’t look back.

  • Tyrone

    When I started to learn how to make animated wallpapers and backgrounds for my K800i and learning about roms and unlocking and debranding phones. If I never learned to keep up with technology I’m pretty sure I couldnt got the change to get internships and work behind the scenes with companies like the big 3 and some in the US.

  • Blue1k

    Since 2006 I’ve had 97 phones. I have no idea what started it for me. All I know is phones are my thing. Thank God for Craigslist.

  • Piff

    Hello my name is Piff and I have an addiction to Smartphones. It started when I joined Wind mobile. I bought the first Nokia Smart phone they had. It was a piece of crap but it had a web browser so I was hooked. I sold that and put the money towards an LG G2x. I sold that and bought an unlocked T-Mobile Galaxy S Vibrant. I sold that and bought a HTC Amaze 4G. Sold that and bought a Samsung Galaxy S 2x. I then bought a HTC One S. I sold both the HTC One S and Galaxy S 2x and put the money towards a Nexus 4. I dropped the Nexus 4 and smashed the screen. I’ll order a new digitizer and screen replacement after I get back from my visit to Toronto. I the mean time I bought another LG G2x on the cheap.

    So in 3 and a half years of unlimited data I have burned through 8 smartphones.

    Thank you.

  • pin

    When my neighbors cat sophie d i ed I dug up it’s body, cut off it’s va gi na and glued it to my phone so I could have s e x with it.

    That’s when I knew I liked my phone a little too much.

    Anyone know how to remove d e a d cat V a g ima s t in k from Jean pockets?

    Kidding. I don’t have an addiction. L o s e r s.

  • ruaman

    Ever since I got my Nokia 3310. ;)

  • Matty

    The day I got my first one, Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro.

    “It’s like having the Internet in my pocket.” ahaaa if I only knew.

  • Ivan

    Not much of a “smart” phone, but Sony E T68i. Borrowed a few while I watched the wheel turn. My first real smartphone was the HTC Desire. I have so many now that it’s become a point of humour. I own and use a couple BBs, an iPhone4s, and a range of android devices. I have two cell lines. But I can quit anytime I want…

  • Rylee Stonehouse

    Nokia N95, Iphone 3G. I know, very predictable but it was a high time for a lot of people I think. Especially here in Canada. Since then I have become devoted to android, and now my blackberry z10 as a strong secondary.

  • screamer

    I always like gadgets. Since the first gameboy came out. Now I can’t get enough. Have a galaxy s3 but waiting something new is coming up. Because found it to big. So iPhone 6 or blackberry z11. But the question is there are not to many phones out? Every week a new phone. Blackberry just came with in awesome phone and next week htc and than Samsung. ..

  • David N

    When I first activated my palm treo 600. Took Ten minutes to check the weather, 2 minutes to recieve emails and cost .05 to send and recieve text messages. Then were the winMo days. I knew i was hooked then

  • Louis

    I got late to the party, it started with a Samsung Impact with an UMB plan. Not a smartphone quite yet, but I could check Gmail, browse online, and sideload java apps.

    I then bought a Nexus S in April 2011, a Galaxy Gio the following fall (as backup) and Note II last November. All have customized ROMs, (some my own). I think that qualifies me as a card carrying smartphone addict.

  • Mischa Price

    after the release of the iphone 4

  • Blacklisted

    I’ve had a ‘Smartphone’ since my Audiovox PPC-6600 in 2004. Back then they weren’t marketed as Smartphones, but Microsoft called them that in Visual Studio to differenciate them from their PocketPC PDAs

  • SomeGuy

    Since i got Nokia 3310 in year 2000, i was in need of smartphone, and Nokia come up with first smartphone launched in june 2003, Nokia 6600, made me smartphone addicted.

  • babablacksheep

    “Smartphone addiction shouldn’t be dismissed, either, despite the levity of the preceding paragraphs. It can cause real, substantive harm to a person’s life. But that’s not for this column; we are all slaves to our phones, but hopefully, at the end of the day, we are still in control.”

    Baaaaaaaaaa baaa b a a a a a a a a a a a a a a

    What a bunch of pathetic sheep you all are! Not for this column? This is people’s health we’re talking about!

    We have sheep here saying they’re rather talk phones than have sex! You people have serious mental problems!

  • S2556

    When I was researching what my first smart phone would be. I was inbetween blackberry and android (didn’t want the iphone 3g). All my friends had blackberrys but I decided to go with my first android phone the motorola milestone. It was a great phone but plagues by random reboots and extended wait on updates, That is when I looked at custom ROMs. That changed my outlook on phones forever and I will only get android until it becomes an obsolete OS (probably gonna be a while at this rate). I now happily own a GS3 but am thinking about selling it on craigslist for the GS4 or moto X phone. Ill have to wait and see how much of an improvement these phones are over the GS3 (running 4.2 AOKP)

  • someone173

    Cellphones in general: When I learned how to flash firmwares on a w810i.

    Smartphones: When I realized that I’ve used 3 android phones over the course of a year.

  • Raids25

    It all started when I purchased the O2 Atom windows phone in 2007. Never looked on Nokias anymore since then. I enjoyed checking my emails and surfing the web using my mobile phone. Mind you, it was really surfing on full internet explorer not the likes of nokia symbian web browser. It was a little bit slow as web sites were not yet optimized for mobile browsing yet

    Using iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S , 5 with in between Nexus Phones all models too.

  • Bob

    When the iPhone changed everything, yeaaaaahhhhh baby!

  • OnceAppleAlwaysAppled

    When i realized Siri was my only friend

  • Fenrir767

    I was an addict when I wored at Best Buy always wanted the latest device and e pt changing phones. Then I left, stopped playing the addicting card game that I was playing. I now find texts annoying alt f the time and am grateful that my phone can be turned off.

  • CW

    When the Palm Pre was announced and I would check PreCentral.net 4 times a day for 8 months looking for any tidbit of information on the thing!

  • Dennis

    For me, the addiction started when I got my HTC Touch with the “Unlimited Mobile Browser” add-on for $7/month from Bell. When I got my first Android device though (Samsung Galaxy S), that sealed the deal.

  • hooliganpants

    Since my first BB back in 2002 or 03. I’ve had several berries, nokia series 60’s, windows (remember i-mate?) and even a treo, leading up to the “revolution”. Android is what I was looking for back then. Love the future

  • Instant Love

    It happened when i moved to Canada in 2010 and got my optimus 2X. For a while thought i won’t need my laptop anymore. As my phone was something that helped me find my way around in new country. I loved how i can go on fb and receive emails on my phone.

  • W

    Never thought I was an addict till I lose my iPhone 5 while drunk a while ago. Could no stay phone less for more than 24 hr. re sign a contract for the new one within the day….

  • Jon

    When I flashed my first Android device (LG Optimus One) with custom ROM (Cyanogenmod 7) for the first time.