I purchased my Blackberry Storm in the summer of 2008. It had been a sturdy and dependable companion, so it was with some sadness this October that I came to feeding it into a machine.
First, let me acquaint you with this miraculous phone:
- Encryption so strong that not even Middle Eastern governments could crack it.
- A touch screen so sturdy you had to push it in until it clicked.
- A case so invulnerable it scratched whatever it landed on more than it was scratched.
- An OS so complete that you really didn’t notice your lack of apps.
Alas, despite a new battery and some serious sleuthing in tech forums, the phone became prone to overheating and locking up, requiring frequent hard resets. I got myself a modern Droid Razr.
Using the Droid Razr’s digital assistant, I set a reminder to ring me when I was near the Woburn Mall. There I had seen a thing called “ecoATM,” which promised cash for my phone. I put the Blackberry and its cracked and worn belt clip into my car and went about my business. The reminder occurred when, where, and as promised, and soon I was standing before the ecoATM with my dearly departed Blackberry.
If you have an old phone, you should try ecoATM. It’s a remarkable process. It will take any phone — any phone, it says — and determine what it is, how good it is, and whether anyone else in the world can make use of it.
There’s a part of the process where the machine scans your phone and produces the correct wire to connect to it. That in itself is worth your time to see.
My Blackberry, it turns out, was in “good” condition. This picture of the ecoATM screen shows part of the process. Also, it’s my first Razr selfie, created when I inadvertently captured my shadow:
“Your phone is ‘good’ so I can give you $4 for it. Do you want $4 for it? You can’t change your mind.”
“Okay,” I said.
Out came four wrinkly ones. Gone forever went my Blackberry.
The ecoATM invited me to drop my worn belt clip into the bin on the side of the machine.
There are a few remarkable things about this story:
- My new phone is so capable, it helped me dispose of my old phone.
- The ecoATM was able to identify me (“I see you’re not a thief”) and my phone (“I see your Storm 9530 is not stolen”) and my phone’s secret inner workings (“I see it still has the default factory RAM”).
- Somewhere someone is getting more than $4 of value for this old technology.
I love all of that. Some day — many miles into the future — I hope to dispose of my Corolla this way.