A running joke is that Adam’s cellphone gets more and more positive comments as it gets more obsolete. It’s one of those long, flat Sharp ones — and since that form factor is dead and buried, no one’s seen one recently.

This NYTimes article (by way of C|Net) talks about several retro trends in one piece — old phones, adding old handsets to modern cells, pseudo-retro record players, PC case mods… a quick read.

The commerce-relevant part is that it should be possible to increase consumer choice by adding the past back to the present — that is to ask, why is that that no one can buy a new instance of Adam’s phone?

It should be possible to go to a website and design your own phone, with your own form factors, sliders for trading off color with battery life, network providers you need support for, and expect a custom-manufactured phone in the mail back to you within a day or two. That is the Now Economy at work…

A digital generation’s analog chic | CNET News.com

When Eugene Auh went trawling at eBay for a cheap cell phone last month, he searched for one with a decidedly anachronistic bent.

“I wanted the biggest cell phone I could find,” said Auh, a 27-year-old investment manager in Philadelphia. His winning bid of $25.95 bought a Motorola DynaTac, a 1980s-era “brick” cell phone that fits more comfortably in a backpack than in a suit pocket.

Rather than subtracting from its charm, the phone’s cumbersome size–it is roughly 8 by 2 by 3 inches–is its main attraction, Auh said. Indeed, he plans to take the phone to work, to the gym and even to his nighttime haunts.

…Auh, meanwhile, is holding off on his romantic overtures until he finds a service provider that can support his antiquated cell phone. But once he does, the women of Philadelphia will need to act quickly, Auh warned.

“This cell phone only stores nine numbers, ladies,” he said, “so it’s first come, first served.”