On April 4th, 2022 it will be ten years since I bought my Galaxy S2 – the first Android smartphone I ever owned. Buying a phone felt like an insignificant decision, just a way to pass the time while I was stuck indoors with a broken foot for several months. Little did I know that buying this phone would be the first step towards a new purpose in life.
My knowledge of cellular technology was limited in 2012. At the time, I was using a Samsung Omnia Lite running Windows 6.5, and I only bought it because I thought Microsoft’s product would be superior to everything else. When I realized how wrong that assessment was, I put more effort into researching my next purchase, reading and watching reviews, and comparing multiple phones.
I’ve narrowed my choices down to two devices – the one-year-old Galaxy S2 and the six-month-old iPhone 4S. Both were available from Amazon for about the same price, but ultimately the S2 won me over with the inclusion of a micro SD slot. 16GB of internal storage wouldn’t have held all of my music in the days before streaming, and I wouldn’t pay extra for a 32GB iPhone.
The first thing that struck me about the S2 was the massive 4.3-inch display 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 one Galaxy S22 Ultra. Things only got better when I turned the phone on, thanks largely to the capacitive touchscreen. The old Windows Phone still used a resistive panel and was a nightmare to use, so moving to a vibrant and responsive AMOLED display felt game-changing.
Switching to Android was also a definite improvement as the Android Market offers thousands of apps that I had never seen before. Having a device in my hands that could quickly access all the information I wanted, play all of my music, and take photos of my friends and family really changed the way I went about my day.
It was a preinstalled app that had a real impact on my life – Google+. I had never used social media before, so this app that came with my phone, which I had never heard of, was an introduction to the wide 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 screenshot after screenshot and asked, “Is this new?” about a change to a Google app or a new Android version.
I started writing long posts about the phone and the apps I use on Google+ and eventually a friend I met on the site invited me to write for a small blog called littlegreendude.com which he had created. It was here that I discovered my love of writing and am proud of what we have achieved, particularly attending Google I/O Extended in London in 2016.
Blogging on Google+ and LGD gave me so much confidence in my abilities that I finally had the courage to ask Artem for a job here in early 2020. By that time I had graduated from college with a degree in automotive repair and it was obvious that my health would not allow me to pursue this profession. Getting started at AP was nerve-wracking and certainly not something I envisioned when I opened a little black phone booth in 2012. But two years later, I’m glad life brought me here.
I wasn’t the only person who bought and loved a Galaxy S2. By 2013, Samsung had over 40 million units – a huge number even by today’s standards. Of all the phones released in 2011, only one outsold the S2 – the iPhone 4S.
I remember a friend of mine who was working in a Vodafone store at the time telling me about the moment his store got a Galaxy S2 demo device. 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 investing heavily in marketing. It became infamous for posting ads mocking the iPhone and its users, and it all started here.
The ads are hard to see today, but they were effective back then. One of the reasons the S2 made my shortlist of phones to buy is because of the number of ads I remember seeing back then. I will never forget seeing Transformers: Dark of the Moon in theaters and seeing the ad above three times before the movie started.
The Galaxy S2 is ancient 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 fulfilled everything you would expect from a smartphone. The development community is also strong, with on Android 12 ROM is released in January.
After the Galaxy S2, I stuck with Samsung for a while until the S4 turned out to be quite a mess, switching to Nexus and Pixel phones instead. Even during those Google years, I kept an eye out for Samsung’s releases every year, hoping that one day the software issues that had been driving me away would be fixed.
That 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 spares to cover the warranty know my Parcelforce driver by name. Samsung had refined its bloated software into something fun, just like my old Galaxy S2. Since then, I’ve owned every Samsung flagship and don’t see myself switching away again. These phones are well built, packed with useful and fun features, and most importantly, reliable.
From a 16 year old who has hardly ever used the internet to someone who spends most of his time on it, my life has changed a lot in ten years. Buying a Galaxy S2 opened up a world of possibilities for me that I could not have imagined at the time and looking at where I am today I am happy with how things have turned out.
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