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Cell Phone Evolution: I Can't Hear You Now, I'm Using All These New Features!
By Danny Davids(13,494)
Posted Friday, April 11, 2008
View All Blog Posts submitted by Danny Davids
It's time for a new cell phone. My contract with my current provider is nearly up, and cell phone technology has changed enough in two years that I'm having problems with my existing phone. So I've started looking at my options. There are a lot of them, and that's just with my provider. But I do have a question.
WHERE THE HECK ARE THE PHONES?
Remember, I'm a tech geek. I like innovation. I like the new toys. But after looking in-store and on-line at my options, I'm finding I'm viewing not phones with extras, but multimedia devices that happen to have a phone as an option. Which would be okay, if I didn't already own devices that do all those other things. (Remember, I LIKE TOYS!) We've gone from discussing long-distance rates and rollover minutes to memory size and texting included. Seriously, watch any provider's commercials and see what they are promoting!
What are some of the features I can get (but don't want or need) in the latest cell phones?
E-mail. If I was a businessman continally on the go, I could see the logic behind being able to access my e-mail anywhere from my phone. That's why phones like the Blackberry, Blackjack, and Pearl are so popular. But this is for my own personal use. If I have to access personal e-mail 24/7, I need to start getting out more. Oh, and by the way, these phones aren't cheap. Maybe that's why the manufacturers push them so hard, ya think?
Internet access. You're kidding, right? What can I see on the Internet that's going to fit on that low-quality display? "Oh, but I can get the latest weather report and know what the score is for my favorite sports team while the game is going on!" So can I, and on a device where I can actually see the data without having to scroll through myriad screens of two and three words of text at a time. It's called a television. It's cool. You should check it out sometime.
Digital camera. I can choose between a VGA (abyssimal quality) or 1.3 megapixel (low quality) version. Since I already own a 3 megapixel digital camera, the quality of pictures I can take beats out any cell phone on the market. Manufacturers claim that you can snap a picture and immediately send it to anyone with a display on their phone. Why? I can take a photo on my digital camera, take it home, connect it to my computer, and send the photo via e-mail. And golly gee whiz, you'll even be able to identify the items in the picture!
MP3 player. I already own two of these. Why would I want to spend money on a third? Vendors tout the ability to download the latest songs from the Internet and play them immediately. What if you already have the song at home? You're going to pay to get it again? And you're going to hear that music using the same speakers the phone uses. Yeah, that's going to be great quality, either with or without headphones, and a big drain on the phone's battery, reducing its lifetime.
Texting. Unless you've got a device with a full QWERTY keyboard, this is time-consuming, even with the abbreviations. Using it to send a quick message to somebody who's busy, or in a meeting, or in class is one thing. Having an entire conversation? It'd be faster and more efficient to make the phone call.
Bluetooth capability. Okay, this is the one feature I actually DO want and am willing to pay for. Having those headsets so you can talk hands-free is a godsend in the car. And thanks to modern technology, I can use a device that plugs into my computer and lets me transfer my wallpapers and ring tones directly to the phone. In fact, I've already written a blog entry about it.
All of these features and abilities point out that we have become a generation of "now", of immediate gratification. I can send you a grainy, fuzzy picture NOW, or I can wait and give you one that'll last longer than the battery life of your phone. I can download a low-quality MP3 song and play it NOW, or I can wait and buy the album, or download a high-quality version that'll play on a device that has real sound. I can send you a cryptic two-line message that you might not understand NOW, or I can wait and have a real conversation face-to-face where we can avoid confusion and interact. And of course, the phone manufacturers drool all over themselves adding these features and bumping up the prices on their products, which fluff-headed consumers are only too happy to pay.
As for me, all I want is a phone. I want to make phone calls. I might send the occasional text message, but I'm not taking pictures and I'm not listening to music and I'm not accessing the Internet. I want to talk to somebody, not give them a multimedia presentation.
I remember a conversation I had several years ago with a friend of mine, right after the iPAQ came out with a phone option. I predicted that we'd end up with an all-in-one device that played music, took photographs, maintained our data, and let us take phone calls. I was thinking in terms of starting with a PDA as a base, but the industry has decided to work with the cell phone instead. As a result, an item that I use as a convenience now has substandard features that I don't want for an exhorbitant price that I'm not willing to pay--and I will like it! On the other hand, we now have a great visual aid to describe for future generations exactly what government looks like...!
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Posted to ProBlogs.com on Friday, April 11, 2008
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