On April 4, 2022, it will be ten years since I bought my Galaxy S2, the first Android smartphone I ever owned. Buying a phone felt like a trivial decision, just a way to pass the time while I was stuck indoors with a broken foot for several months. I had no idea that buying this phone would be the first step towards a new goal in life.
My knowledge of mobile technology in 2012 was limited. At the time, I was using a Samsung Omnia Lite, which ran Windows 6.5, and only bought it because I assumed Microsoft’s product would be superior to any other. Once I realized how wrong that review was, I put more effort into researching my next purchase, reading and watching reviews, and comparing multiple phones.
I narrowed my choices to two devices – the one-year-old Galaxy S2 and the six-month-old iPhone 4S. Both could be had for about the same price on Amazon, but ultimately the S2 won me over with its inclusion of a Micro SD slot. 16GB of internal storage wasn’t going to hold all my music in the days leading up to the broadcast, and I wasn’t going to pay extra for a 32GB iPhone.
The first things I noticed about the S2 were the massive 4.3-inch screen and how ridiculously thin it was. The S2 was almost half the thickness of the Omnia, and it’s still slightly thinner than my current Galaxy S22 Ultra. Things only got better when I turned the phone on, thanks in large part to the capacitive touchscreen. The old Windows Phone still used a resistive panel and was a nightmare to use, so switching to a vibrant and responsive AMOLED display was a game-changer.
The move to Android was also a big improvement, with the Android Market offering thousands of apps I’d never seen before. Having a device in my hand that could quickly access all the information I wanted, listen to all my music, and take photos of my friends and family really changed the way I spent my day.
It was a pre-installed app that had a real impact on my life: Google+. I had never used social media before, so this app that I had never heard of that came with my phone was an introduction to the wider world.
This is where I started following Android Police and its founder Artem. I can only imagine how annoyed Artem must have been when I tagged him in screenshot after screenshot asking, “Is this new?” about a modification of a Google application or a new version of Android.
I started writing long posts about the phone and apps I was using on Google+, and eventually a friend I met on the site invited me to write for a little blog he started. called littlegreendude.com. Here I discovered my love of writing, and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved, especially attending Google I/O Extended in London in 2016.
Blogging on Google+ and LGD gave me confidence in my abilities to the point that I could finally work up the courage to apply for a job with Artem here in early 2020. By this point, I had finished studying auto repair at university, and it was obvious that my health would not allow me to pursue this career. Joining AP was nerve-wracking and certainly not something I would have imagined doing when I opened a little black phone booth in 2012. But two years later, I’m glad life took me there- low.
I wasn’t the only person who bought and loved a Galaxy S2. In 2013, Samsung had over 40 million units, a huge number even by today’s standards. Of all the phones launched in 2011, only one outsold the S2: the iPhone 4S.
I remember a friend of mine who worked in a Vodafone store at the time telling me about the time his branch received a Galaxy S2 demo unit. It was the first phone that felt as fast in person as it looked in all the ads.
The S2 delivered a lot of phone for the money, but that wasn’t the only reason it sold well. This device marked the beginning of Samsung’s massive investment in marketing. He became infamous for posting ads that made fun of the iPhone and its users, and it all started here.
The ads are hard to watch now, but back then they were effective. One of the reasons the S2 made my list of phones to buy is because of the number of ads I remember seeing at the time. I’ll never forget seeing “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” in theaters and watching the ad above three times before the movie started.
The Galaxy S2 is old at this point, but that hasn’t stopped it from continuing to be a popular device. Two years ago, when I was still working in retail, I knew someone who used one as a daily driver. Apart from the poor battery life, it was capable of everything they expected from a smartphone. The development community is also getting stronger, with the release of an Android 12 ROM in January.
After the Galaxy S2, I stuck with Samsung for a while until the S4 turned out to be a bit of a mess, and moved on to Nexus and Pixel phones instead. Even during those Google years, I still paid attention to Samsung’s releases each year, hoping that the software issues that had been driving me away would one day be resolved.
It finally happened in 2019 when I returned my Pixel 3XL for a Galaxy S10+, and I’m glad I did. My Pixels were unreliable – I had enough warranty replacements to know my Parcelforce driver by name. Samsung had refined its bloated software into something pleasant to use, just like my old Galaxy S2 had been. I’ve owned every Samsung flagship since then and can’t see myself walking away again. These phones are well-built, packed with useful and enjoyable features, and most importantly, reliable.
From a sixteen-year-old who almost never used the internet to someone who spends most of his time online, my life has changed a lot in ten years. Buying a Galaxy S2 opened up a world of possibilities that I couldn’t have imagined at the time, and looking at where I am today, I’m happy with how things turned out. unrolled.
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