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back to article Is modern life possible without a smartphone?

I suppose the first sign I might have a problem came when one of my kids drew me a picture of my iPhone as a Fathers Day present. I scaled things back pretty quickly after that, but my current smartphone still finds its way into my hands many, many, times a day. Sometimes I tell myself it's just diligence: working ten time …

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Yes

I have a phone which can send and receive text messages, and actual real-time, voice communication.

Its not like I have to rely on a new fangled gadget that can only communicate via a 3rd party medium which limits me to 140 characters.

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Anonymous Coward

Wow. another non-story...

Of course its possible.

I do not use a mobile phone at all.

Well, I have a Sony-Ericcson T300 that sits by the bed as my alarm clock but that is it.

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Re: Yes

I've got a phone that can send and receive texts, and do phone calls. Just because it's a smartphone doesn't mean you have to use twitbook for everything.

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Unhappy

Re: Yes

I guess I lose this particular competition. I have a Galaxy Note 2, and don't see any need to upgrade to this year's model.

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Modern life is very much possible without a smartphone. Never had one, and life is great. Everyone else I know has one, and their quality of life is worse. Always texting, always looking at something online. Sad little people, so worried they might miss something. Makes them feel important.

Am I wrong? Then those that down vote prove it, next time you pick up your phones, think about what you're doing. Nuff said.

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Guilty, I'm afraid

@Taylor 1

I finally succumbed after SWMBO's Siemens A55 gave up the ghost recently (we both bought Android smartphones).

My wife is finding a couple of advantages - first off, the ability to increase the font size in messages, but also (given she tends to type messages in a mix of English and Indonesian), it's much easier to use the smartphone touch-keyboard than trying to use the phone keypad with T9 switched off

But, in general, understand the sentiment, so no downvote!

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"Never had one, and life is great. Everyone else I know has one, and their quality of life is worse."

Everyone else you know could ditch their smartphones and they'd all be as happy as you, regardless of everything else that's going on in their lives? If you did have one it would all come crashing down for you?

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My quality of life has improved

@Taylor 1 - "Modern life is very much possible without a smartphone. Never had one, and life is great. Everyone else I know has one, and their quality of life is worse."

==============

My quality of life has been better since I got my first Blackberry. Why? Because I always wanted to un-tether myself from my desk for a few more hours a day/week, and get outside and walk and jog and enjoy the world, but still be able to respond to urgent emails and make a living. Also, I returned to school, and have used my smartphones to listen to lectures while I'm outdoors, and even submit short homework assignments - now I'm attaining a lifelong goal of getting a graduate degree.

Smartphones can be used to involve yourself MORE with the outside world - if you don't spend all your time playing with Twitter, Facebook, Angry Birds, and your multiple Fart apps.

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Re: My quality of life has improved

"Smartphones can be used to involve yourself MORE with the outside world - if you don't spend all your time playing with Twitter, Facebook, Angry Birds, and your multiple Fart apps."

Unfortunately modern "Smartphones" (since about the Apple iPhone) are just designed to be Facebook/Angry Birds machines. That's the market all manufacturers are currently chasing.

I have tried different "smartphones". I've started with Android, but that didn't have an escape key. (WTF!). I'm currently using an old Nokia Communicator. It kinda works, but is software-wise a long way to go.

If I were to build a smartphone I'd make it like this: Use a clamshell design. Put a feature phone into the lid behind the display, then have an independent PC which can run arbitrary operating systems accessing the keyboard and large display. If you hold it, make the PC suspend to RAM. In a way just what Nokia did with their Communicators, but updated.

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Go

Re: My quality of life has improved

Having a smartphone allows me to read the Reg during my commute. I used to hate public transportation because I would be forced to wait at the stop, then wait in the bus; to the point I would drive just to be less bored. Now, commuting is actually enjoyable free time.

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Re: My quality of life has improved

"Having a smartphone allows me to read the Reg during my commute"

Creep!

Teacher's pet!

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Anonymous Coward

@Taylor I'm afraid if you count everyone you know as sad little people who use their phones like characters from a daily mail editorial of yesteryear, you need to re-evaluate your expectations as what makes a good quality of life and escape this odd bubble in which you apparently find yourself trapped.

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You're quite right

It is possible to live life without a smart phone. But, and it's a massive one, it's very useful for looking up information, maps, and general communications like Whatsapp, not to mention the ride tracking that I use it for as well. So for me, I'd rather be with one than without one.

And not being able to put it down in lieu of conversation? That's just self control.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: My quality of life has improved

There are always the exceptions and those responding here certainly are. My own take is that you're still too far gone by the very fact of being able to enjoy a commute which would be the world's biggest exception if it wasn't full of the sound of self-obsessed imbeciles talking loudly on their whichever-phones. Even on trains with mobile-free coaches, in the mobile-free coaches.

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Yes of course modern life is possible without a smart phone, smartphones are a tool, if you don't have one, you use different tools, but saying that I've had a smart phone since 2003, my old Motorola A920.

but even though I have had a smart phone on me at all times for over 10 years, I still don't use twitter, and I don't have Facebook synced to my phone, if someone wants to contact me, they call me, SMS me or email me, if you facebook me, you'll be lucky to get a response that week...

I may check facts online with my phone, but if I want to DO something I use a laptop, not a tablet or my phone (although I have had to do real work using a smartphone before, because I had nothing else on me at the time.)

The one thing I hate that Apple made popular is the soft-keyboard,

I really would love a flip cover for my phone that had a nice flip out keyboard built in, unfortunately the ones i've seen are so bulky it makes the phone too big!

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Holmes

@MrXavia - "The one thing I hate that Apple made popular is the soft-keyboard,

I really would love a flip cover for my phone that had a nice flip out keyboard built in, unfortunately the ones i've seen are so bulky it makes the phone too big!"

===============

Agreed. I decided during the time I owned my Blackberry that I simply couldn't ever be terribly productive without a physical keyboard. My first experiences with an iPad and an Android tablet really confirmed that for me. My Android phone has a slide-out physical keyboard, and I almost never use the soft keyboard - much more productive for me.

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Smartphones

Finally bought one after years as a Luddite. Smartphones can be amusing and help to pass the time in hotels, for example, Personally I still go for a newspaper if one is available. Really useful ? Only for calls/SMS. Everything else they do - the "smart" bits, a PC or dedicated device does better. He who uses the smartphone for everything is condemned to a UXP just as poor as the chap who eats curry with a Swiss army knife.

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Pathetic

How pathetic do people think humans are that they think a Smart Phone is borderline being a human right?

I'm no luddite or anything. My family of 4, including myself, have "feature phones", pretty much only used for voice and very seldom used for texting.

I do have 2 smart phones which Google sent me for testing some software I wrote for them, but they are not used on a day to day basis.

It is surely only the dumbest people that think a smartphone is a ncessity. To repurpose the comment made about Steven Fry:

"A smart phone is a stupid person's idea of what smart technology should be".

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Real techies don't use Smart Phones

Well I had an interesting experience yesterday...

Four developers (real developers: Linux kernel, electronics designers etc - not just web content "developers") in the office when someone needed to test our website by accessing it from outside our local network,

Although we all had phones, they were all candy-bar feature phones. None were smart phones.

Had to go find a marketing mupet....

I asked people my and they backed up my impressions. When I'm in the office, I have a PC. When I am at home and walking about, I want to be left alone. The phone is there just to make contact etc.

The real techies have gone full circle long ago. Since real techies are often early adopters, we might see a trend back to a smartphone-less society when facebook updates can wait until you're at home.

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Re: Real techies don't use Smart Phones

I see it differently, i think a 'real techie' can use a smartphone to do nearly any task he could on a PC.

So by carrying one I save time when there is an issue that needs fixing, there is little I can't fix using it. I have SSH and with that plus a browser I can pretty much do all I need to do without wasting time to boot a PC

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FAIL

Pah! You're doing it wrong.

The phone you bought has apps and internet, therefore it is a smartphone. The only thing it doesn't have is a touchscreen, but the definition of a smartphone is the "smart" part not the screen part. Your new phone has smarts: apps and internet!

To do this properly you need a PHONE. I recommend the Nokia 3210.

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Re: Pah! You're doing it wrong.

> I recommend the Nokia 3210.

Seconded. Do this right.

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Thumb Up

Re: Pah! You're doing it wrong.

If Jeremy Clarkson is still using one so can you (Although actually now come to think of it the phone on last nights Top Gear was an older model than a 3210)

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Top Gear phone

had an external aerial, so could have been a 3110 or more likely a 2110i - I guess they were trying to keep the 80s vibe going (although those phones are from the 90s).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pah! You're doing it wrong.

The phone you bought has apps and internet, therefore it is a smartphone

Was thinking the same thing as I read the article, he's* basically just got a smaller screen and slower phone. He's given up nothing but ease of use - I assume he's still using laptop / PC / tablet and or smart TV. -1 for the entire pointless article**.

* he / she

** and yes, I know, responding to a pointless article is in itself a pointless task

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Top Gear phone

5110, I believe. Still have one in a drawer somewhere...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pah! You're doing it wrong.

"responding to a pointless article is in itself a pointless task"

I think of it as democracy in action.

Unless it's the illusion of democracy in action, in which case it's pointless. I thought I was an accomplished cynic, but poss. I need to go back to school. Unless I'm already there...

Another coffee is called for.

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Yes, of course it is.

Some jobs, however, are simply easier with a smart phone. I don't have one but there are definitely times when having one would save me time or allow me to leave my laptop behind.

That is where smart phones shine and reveal their value - providing convenience and saving time. If a smart phone enables you to travel lighter or to complete a task in one minute that would otherwise take five minutes and three phone calls, then that device has made your life better and is worthwhile.

If, on the other hand, you end up wasting your time posting pictures of your lunch online then it's probably going to work out better for you if you give it a miss.

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That's what I've found to be my main draw to a smartphone: information on the go. I do not use my smartphone for social apps of any kind, but whenever I'm shopping around and come across something, I find it reassuring to be able to whip it out and pull up some quick but useful information on something. More than once, it's been able to help me shy away from something that looked good at the time but upon second opinion wasn't worth the trouble.

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Or vice-versa - seeing something and not knowing if it is a good deal or not only to go home, check it and then miss out because it gets sold out!

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Anonymous Coward

This is the way I see it. It is possible that the majority of Reg reader Smartphone users _do_ use them for useful purposes, but that the whole thing feeds the desperation - which is long documented - to always be 'up to date' or 'in the loop'. I remember the days of the Microsoft Newsgroups - a decade ago - when people would post that this or that popular anti-malware or security hardening offering had a definition update or - a specific example - that there was a new Hosts file update. A certain sub-set of posters would post their thanks, and basically competed with each other to be the first to post about the next update. A decade later some of them still do it; have blogs containing little else ffs! At a push one would describe these folks as IT literate. Some of us also did this in the beginning, but realised that actually it is obsessive behaviour and dropped it like the name of 'Metro'. And I see those days as a microcosm of today but with Smartphones, with those of us who stopped doing it early on as the IT literate, and those who were sucked into obsessive behaviour as the general public, only with the proportions reversed.

There was this chick I fancied a while back. Until I saw her Twitter feed. Which given that she tweets when having a coffee break at work (and at every other conceivable opportunity) is obviously doing it from her phone. She's a nice person and apart from one or two attributes seems average enough, but her Twitter feed is absolute bilge, mindless fucking drivel.

Anyone remember Andy Botwin's encounter with the phenomenon? Think that was artistic license?

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Potty time dilema

Smart phone

Book

Magazine

Newspaper (remember those?)

Crossword/Sudoku

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@Winkypop (was: Re: Potty time dilema)

Easier answer: Go potty when necessary, then get on with life.

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MJI
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Re: Potty time dilema

Book, good time for reading!

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Re: Potty time dilema

My Kindle is my potty time companion. Although I get looks in the office now when they see me walking toward the duns with a Kindle in my hand.

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Re: Potty time dilema

My winner at home is New Scientist.

Articles of every length from all lentil diet to intensive session and you might learn something (vanishingly unlikely given it's pop science all the way, but entertainingly so).

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Re: Potty time dilema

If you have time for any of those you may want to increase your fibre intake before colon cancer sets in.

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Re: Potty time dilema

Funny how the mind plays tricks - I read "pop science" as "poop science" there for a split second.

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Re: Potty time dilema

Yep, same here. I am usually 2-3 weeks behind. Have a huge stack of them next to the throne that I need to clear out.

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Re: Potty time dilema

Goodness! If you're 2-3 weeks behind I should imagine you'll need to KEEP the stack!

Oh, wait, no.

;)

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Nokia 2730 Classic

App? Calendar? I was just looking for something which if I got in an emergency on the highway, I could call for help on. The existing ringtone is annoying, but the idea of _paying_ to change it is not what I am looking for. Apps? If I want an application I will sit down and write one in Perl, C++, FORTRAN or whatever. Oh. my phone won't take applications in FORTRAN? That I wrote myself? Why would I want applications that someone else wrote, if I can't use applications I wrote?

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Paris Hilton

Re: Nokia 2730 Classic

Laziness?

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Old Nokia

I got an old Nokia 8210 which I occasionally use. 79 gram and tiny, tiny. Doesn't notice I wear it. Like it very much.

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The browser

I suggest you check if Opera Mini works on it. It is available for all sorts of low-end phones, and if it does on yours, the browsing experience improves greatly.

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Re: The browser

I thought Opera Mini still required the use of a touchscreen, on that sort of resolution screen I doubt it can make browsing any better.

Edit: I stand corrected, the Ovi store seems to not hide it when the Nokia 110 is selected so it must work.

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Re: The browser

Opera mini definately works fine on a feature phone. Posting this on a 7 year old Nokia 6600 fold.

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Re: The browser

The Opera Mini does smart reflowing of pages, and also compresses them (Opera runs a proxy that does this). Small-screen devices actually are the ones where Opera Mini makes most sense. Touchscreen is not needed. (I used to browse a lot with Opera Mini before getting a Lumia).

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Re: The browser

My last phone before I went Android was the N95 8GB. No touchscreen. It navigates pages and links Lynx-style using the D-pad, with a couple menus to help shortcut to the address bar and so on. Actually, for a while, it was still sturdy enough to handle the more-robust Opera Mobile.

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Sometimes, a telephone is just a telephone.

I want my phone to make and receive calls.

I want my phone to have a strong transmitter and a sensitive receiver. I mean, the primary use of a phone is to make phone calls, right? That's ALL I want. The rest is fluff that is better handled by other equipment.

That's why I carry a near 14 year old Nokia 5185. It is unaffected by Napa and Sonoma Countys notorious so-called "dead zones". Can't ask for more than that out of a telephone :-)

Hell, I once carried on a conversation up the Oakville Grade (Napa County, CA), down Trinity to Cavedale, and Cavedale to 12 (Sonoma County, CA) without once losing the connection ... Try THAT with your so-called "smart" phone!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sometimes, a telephone is just a telephone. @jake

Since you're using The Reg to publish your memoirs, I hope you're paying them.

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