I’ll start with two disclaimers. First, as I have said, this particular post title is for my collection of thoughts from my various Sunday morning church services wherever I happen to be. This post is about none of that. I forget the 2nd one.
This post could be renamed “The One Gift I Do Not Want For A Christmas”. Prepare yourself, this is a shocker. In this day and age, with the ubiquitous of cell phones and the almost unnatural urge of people to upgrade at every chance, I feel a reluctance to post this. Yet It’s a rant and part of my life so….here goes. The one gift I do not want for Christmas is….a smart phone. There I said. Let me explain why.
At my present position in life, I do not wish for one, even if the contract were paid by someone else. The point is, I have no need for one. What I need from a phone is the ability to make a phone call and to send a text. Period. This past week re-highlighted the awareness that I have no need of a smart phone.
In the local paper, there was an article on this subject of cell phones and their place in the American family and it got me to thinking. Especially this quote that came from that article,
Mrs. T figures that she and her husband would need to scrape more than $1,000 to pay full price for 2 new high end phones or settle for one of Verizon’s tiered data plans which she fears would cost a lot more given her habit of streaming video over Verizon’s 3G network.
(As a response to this, I think….drop the video habit AND the mentality that you NEED a smartphone)
I find this “need” sad. Where has this insane urge to constantly have the latest and best come from? Why do we feel we need to spend anywhere from $80-90+ a month on a cell phone plan? This is a outrage! That money could be spent on so much more useful things. Let’s crunch some numbers, shall we?
Stepping over to to this website, we find these kinds of numbers.
- A smartphone: $40 a month.
- 1 GB of service via a data plan: $50.
- All told: $90 a month for one device.
At $90 a month, that’s $1080 for the year. What all can YOU do with a extra $1080? How about some extra money for utilities and other household bills? Or extra spending money for holiday shopping? Or a weekend vacation? A normal cell phone contract is 2 years in length. If you save that money for 2 years, voila!, there’s enough funds for a down payment on a vehicle (not that I condone borrowing money for a vehicle neither). Granted, I’m assuming that a smart phone would be dropped without picking up another form of mobile communication. A simple feature phone from Verizon plus monthly service is $40 a month or thereabouts. That’s only $480 a year. For the purposes of the argument here and with the numbers given, that is a savings of $600. What could you do with $600?.
[interesting side note: they say that the average data device only uses between 1-2GB a month. I know I use more bandwidth than that via my laptop at a fraction of the cost. Viva la laptop]
My beef is 2-fold. 1, I hate seeing all that money being spent on a electronic device that will be out of style in a couple of years if not months. It’s not that I’m against the cell phone. Only that for half of what a normal smart phone plan costs, one could get a phone that will work just as functionally as a smart phone. I’m a purist and I when I say functionally, I’m speaking of the basics of a phone, calling, texting and a basic tool for organization and reminders. Do we really expect that we need more?
Secondly, is the rabidness of fans, particularly those of Apple’s iPhone. If there is one thing that I admire of Apple is their marketing. They have been highly successful at making things people didn’t realize that they needed and promptly telling them that they need it. From a solely hardware viewpoint, Cupertino makes some of the best designed equipment in the technological world today. But it’s bile to the stomach to see some of the vanity and arrogance of Apple fans with their devices. This arrogance continues to cement my aloofness for all products Apple.
But I digress. This post is turning into a rant on Apple, which is not it’s original intent. That intent is why smartphones are not for me, and by extension, I’ll contend, not for most mobile users.
For me, I’m not a business owner. I don’t NEED to be connected daily. Secondly, I have a laptop for my online necessities. Thirdly, I’m a college student. I can’t spare the extra cash for a smartphone plan. AND, I do not want someone else paying for that service for me. Therefore, it is the gift I don’t want for Christmas
Now, there is a sufficient place for smartphones. If it increases your productivity and is a help in running your business, keep using it and making the most out of your device. But if you are not such a person and find yourself low on available funds, consider ditching the phone and going with a basic feature phone. And should the day arrive that all that the mobile carriers have are smartphones, go to the landline or VoIP. You’ll probably find me there.