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.
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 …
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.
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!
"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?
@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.
"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.
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.
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.
@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.
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.
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!
@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.
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.
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".
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.
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
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.
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
"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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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!
I think you'll find that there is a long tradition of journals paying contributors to keep sad, lifeless, annonymous coward readers like yourself, who have nothing to actually contribute, reading said journals.
If anything, ElReg should be paying me for keeping you hooked, little cowardly fishy.
 c.f. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, Herb Caen et alia.
Ericsson GH198 ... pulled GSM signal from 30 miles distance with ease.
That's quite a neat trick as the range of GSM transmissions is generally limited to 35km (~21miles) by timing considerations. It's possible to double that, but it requires special equipment.
I wouldn't be that bothered if my phone (S4) couldn't make calls.
It's a camera, a satnav, music player, ebook reader, web browser, video recorder, calculator, email client, metronome, (instrument) tuner, compass, notepad, diary, address book, IM client, torch, magnifier, games console, video player, bike computer, barometer etc. Almost all of these features are ones I use daily and if not, at least weekly. All of this easily fits in my pocket.
Life is possible without a smartphone. Modern life is not.
c'mon Simon, you're not trying. 2G (GSM) data rate is 9600 baud (yes, I *do* remember dialling in to get my mail using a Nokia 6110 and a cable or IR port). IIRC, GPRS (2.5G) only does up to 100kbit or so, so your 200+kbit is most likely EDGE ("2.75G")
Real men use a Tandy 102 with an acoustic coupler and a pay phone (300bps on a good day)
I come from a time when a person could walk out the door and no one knew where you were, or could 'contact' you. Yes, it meant some emergencies were not handled as fast as they could have been, but it also meant you were your own boss, striding the world in unfettered freedom to do what you wanted to.
I spend too much time online already, don't want any fetters on me when I go out, thanks. Don't carry a phone, never have, never will. Color me a throwback and loving it.
Stay thrown back as long as you can. I''ve just come back from a camping trip where one of the husbands drove 86km round trip every morning and evening to get a signal so he could 'just check in with the office'
His wife was well steamed by about day 2 (well 1 Tbh).
I can happily report that when I got back my mobile was still on the kitchen bench where I'd left it.
"Plus if you get into trouble the SAR guys can concentrate on people who came prepared for emergencies and merit the help more"
So you missed the bit that said how "one of the husbands drove 86km round trip every morning and evening to get a signal" - where they were having a mobile phone on him would have been pointless as there was zero reception
Yes, the SAR guys can concentrate on the poor bloke who fell of a cliff and will be able to call for help as soon as he manages to drag himself 40+km on his elbows to where he can get a mobile signal.
Always assuming his phone didn't break in the fall and he hasn't broken his elbow, of course.
This is Australia. When I go camping, I carry flares and a 2 way radio. I'd rather be snug inside my vehicle/tent waiting for rescue than dragging myself many kilometres through a bush where 90% of the wildlife wants you dead and the other 10% want to watch (and pick up the bits the actual killer didn't want)
But nobody at work has my number... hell I don't even have a work cell phone. When I walk out the door it's up to me to check my mail if anything needs my attention. And frankly that's the way I like it.
But if I were switching phones anytime soon I'd prob go with a plain feature phone - or just pull one out of the drawer and use it.
But the important thing about any such device... you are the person deciding how you will be using it. For me I don't give a crap if the battery dies etc... I hardly touch it most of the time. Stuff like setting volume and such is relegated to automation. Just need to remember to disable the alarm on holidays and vacations.
You're *still* trying to use a smartphone, just a really crappy one. Without a smartphone means you use your phone for voice and text messages.
No email. No browsing. No social media. No synching, although a one-off transfer of contact phone numbers onto the phone is allowable.
Of course you still need a laptop or computer for doing all of that, the point of not using a smartphone isn't that you don't use the internet, it's that you don't use your *phone* for doing so.
Agreed. It's like somebody trying to prove they don't need a car by swapping a BMW 5 series for an old Fiesta.
All the author has done is he >does< need a smartphone after all: he 'needs' email, data, calendars and a no doubt large list of contacts. All of the above are regarded as 'lifelines'. He should have realised he needed a smartphone the moment he decided a Nokia 101 or Samsung E1205 were unsuitable because 'they couldn't even sync [his] calendar, a loss I felt would be crippling'.
So what's the point of this exercise?
Life is the art of tradeoffs. Looks like you really need usable email/web (and apps?) on your phone, that is tough with dumb- or featurephones. On the other hand, after a few years with a smartphone I keep thinking of pulling my old Nokia (still have 6310 and 6230, unless I mix up the model numbers) out of the bottom drawer, since apps are not an issue and email/web are nice-to-have only. Wins would include size, weight, battery life, a much better integrated calendar (today to create a reminder to call John Smith at work I use a 3rd party application, and the reminder does not show up in the calendar, which the calendar has no integration with contacts - Nokia had it right), quick profile switching.
I don't recall any problems syncing or importing VCFs into contacts - have things changed to the worse? And I always liked T9 - its predictive quality was awesome (at least in 3 languages I used reasonably often). While probably not quite on a par with a 4" smartphone's on-screen keyboard it was quite usable for texting, searching for contacts, and even short memos.
Of course it is.
I only upgraded to a Sony Experia last week from my £10 Samsung phone after I discovered a good reason for having a camera phone when I had a car crash earlier in January. What was most amusing was the Insurance Company's phone operator was baffled that I my phone couldn't take photos, she just didn't understand that there ARE phones that don't take photos haha!
The article reads more like suggesting a monastery as solution to some worldly problem while learning some self-restrain and impulse control might be all one needs. Just admit first to the addictive element of "checking" or the lure of playing with the ever-ready toy in your pocket -- just get in control over the energy you spend on the thing. But it doesn't seem to be worth all the added frustration of trying to do online work on some pseudo-online half-assed device. It's like hiding cigarettes on a hard to reach place. In the end you're going to get them, it won't help the fixation one bit!
I remember pre-smartphone life.
If I went anywhere that might be scenic, I would take my point-and-shoot camera. It was inconvenient to carry and inconvenient to keep charged. If I was going on a long drive, I would burn podcasts to CD-RWs in advance, which took a while and was prone to media failure. If I was going to drive to somewhere I wasn't familiar with, I would print out (or write down) directions in advance, and hope I didn't get lost along the way. If I was going to stay somewhere overnight, I would bring my ~6 pound laptop in case somebody called me with a work emergency and I needed to do some emailing.
Not eager to go back to that state of affairs.
Yes to all of your comments except the camera, phone cameras are pretty horrendous, especially in low light, I always carry a compact camera when I travel, and that is my backup for my SLR.
Once I can get the same shot I can with an SLR with a 250mm lens on a smart phone, then I will concede a proper camera is not needed...
As a proud owner of a Nokia 110 (in fact it's my third, the first two got destroyed by small children) I can confidently say you can leave the charger at home. I only have to charge my phone every 6 or so days and use it regularly for talk and text.
Ditch the FB/Twitter/Browser apps, they are rubbish. Enjoy the freedom of a phone that isn't constantly in need of charging, that you can drop without having a heart attack, that you can put in the same pocket as your keys without stressing about scratches, and that you can touch type an SMS on without looking at the screen.
Where I live, if I want 2.5G/3G/4G reception I have to go out of the house and walk some distance; even then I need to hold the phone at an odd angle or it drops out.
Hence I've never bothered to upgrade from my ancient monochrome-screen Nokia. At home we still use a landline, and have VHF walkie-talkies [on the same net as the local horse-trainers/farmers/vets/forestry-types] for ad-hoc local comms.
All this is within an hour's drive of London.
I don't want a smartphone.
I've never understood the vocal minority of commentards on El Reg who think that not having a smartphone provides some kind of tech moral superiority, and the ability to look down on other people.
Still use a 14 year old Nokia? Good, I'm sooo glad for you. What a titan of IT you are; your tech virility on display for all mere iPhone users to behold and wonder. We tremble before your green and black screen greatness, and marvel at your 4 day battery life. Women want to be with you, and men want to be you (or at least have the honour of charging your spare battery).
Could I junk my smart phone for my old feature phone? Of course, but I don't see why I should, and I don't see why my life would be better / easier because of that.
I was just going to post something similar. Having the right tool for *your* use-case is not a sign of superiority (unless you count being able to assess what tools you need as a some sort of superiority). If you can manage without a smart-phone, fine - but for me the correct tool for me is my Galaxy Note. It has no social media apps on it, but it does have an ebook reader, and a flashlight app, and access to Dropbox for those times a work computer won't read a USB stick. It also has a really good alarm - better than anything I've seen anywhere else. The always-on aspect means that sometimes when I *choose* to connect to my email (no push for me - data and wifi switched off until I want them) it is more convenient than waiting for the laptop to boot. And then there is the most used function - note-taking with the stylus. However, I keep some dumb-phones in the car because they do pull in a better signal, and I want that if I, or Mrs IP, get into a situation where comms become important.
So, again - choosing the correct tool is not a sign of superiority. Feature-phones work for some, but I'd rather lose a finger than go back to one for day to day use.
The other thing about this vocal minority (don't they just sound so smug as well as ignorant of what smartphones are about) is their general lack of consideration for other people in their lives.
Do they still use voice mail, i.e. annoy the person they are phoning by asking them to listen to some drivel of a voice message before calling them back instead of sending an email or a text message written in English not 1990s text-speak?
Do they telephone people at inconvenient times and expect the recipient to drop what they are doing to answer the phone?
Ask people to send them directions because they can't be bothered to use Nokia drive or whatever.
I gave an elderly relative an £80 Windows phone and she spends all of £3/month on her PAYG data and phone calls and its made a noticeable improvement to her quality of life.
Re: Moral superiority of having 'more' tech There, fixed it for you.
"I've never understood the vocal minority of commentards on El Reg who think that not having a smartphone provides some kind of tech moral superiority, and the ability to look down on other people."
Funny you should write that, as I was just thinking the exact opposite, that prats like yourself get all sarky and look down your nose at people who are happy to use older technology as it suffices for their uses.
I have toyed with the idea of a smart phone, not because I need one, but because I like the idea of some of the apps, none of them social media apps.
I don't need to be able to get emails from work. I wouldn't bother reading them even if someone sent them so I don't need email access. I also don't need access to emails more than once a day, if that. If someone wants me urgently, they can call and they may even strike lucky and I answer my phone
I still retain and use a Nokia 6310. Great little phone. Makes phone calls and the occasional text. I can make notes and reminders for myself on the calendar, and rarely and painfully have used Opera Mini when trying to locate a moved business. I use the camera and radio/MP3 player when I feel like it as well. I don't bother with podcasts, so no problem with loading them either.
I'm rather glad that I have recently retired as this demand by companies, (or probably specific micro controlling managers) demand you be available 24/7 to my mind is verging on a form of slavery. Paid slavery admittedly, but still that.
So sorry, I have a life outside of work. I believe I signed a contract with you for 40 odd hours a week, and that's ALL you get as of right. Any extras are with my agreement and on my terms. When I was on call for a week at a time, I was available as expected. Other times you took your luck on contacting me.
I can't understand how companies have been able to get away with this. No employee is so important that they need to be contactable any hour of the day or night. If they are then they are compensated for it a hell of a lot more than I am/was.
Enjoy your life of drudgery, slaves!
P.S. I still prefer Win XP GUI over Win 7. The latter may well be a better OS, but I hate the "new, improved" interface. So there!
I'm being sarky not because of the old phone, but because some people think that using an old phone conveys some kind of moral tech superiority - 'look at me, I use an old Nokia, bow before my greatness'.
I didn't say that because I have a smartphone I think myself to be superior.
Non smartphone ownership doesn't have any bearing on whether or not I think myself to be above you - I am superior to all you peasants for other, non-phone related reasons. Mainly my enormous intelligence and humble nature.
PS - Some of us manage to use this thing called 'willpower' to receive work emails on smart phones and not look at them if we don't want to - strange huh?
My sincere apologies. I'm sorry if I misconstrued your comments.
Your humour did not manifest itself in your first post. I just took you as being fucking obnoxious and replied in kind.
Perhaps your "enormous intelligence and humble nature" might allow you to confer a modicum of intelligence to those, about whom you know absolutely nothing, who happen to voice an opinion which disagrees with your world view. I think that you are assuming a great deal when you state that "some people" think that using an old phone confers some sort of moral superiority. That's just being rather silly on your part.
Debate is good. Opinions are just that - opinions. Doesn't make them correct.
Enjoy the rest of your life
So the 30 or 40 somethings who never owned a PC prior to getting an iphone in the last 3 years have led inferior lives?
A smartphone is a pocket computer connected to the internet. No need to get obnoxious with those who can wait until they get home to take advantage of the internet.
In the old days, owning a computer and connecting to a bulletin board to download Applications wasn't something you admitted to your footballing mates down the pub.
I've been using Sony Ericsson Elms for a few years. When one broke down had to buy a replacement on ebay as they are no longer available officially. Hope they will still be being sold on ebay when the current one breaks as I have no desire of changing it to anything else.
It's a good phone. It has buttons. It does not have touch screen. I can VPN to the office email server and I can send "wait until I get back to the office" emails when necessary. It has GPS which I never use. It has an audio player which is convenient as it will cut off when a call comes in. It has a camera which is no DSLR but is decent enough for taking an occasional picture if something interesting is happening nearby. I use the browser with pictures disabled when I'm bored or just to see what's happening on m.theregister or bbc when I travel - what else would I want from a phone?
For doing any kind of work I would use a laptop or a desktop in a hotel business centre - I would never even think of using a touchscreen pad or a phone for it.
I can imagine for some a smartphone with a bigger screen and a touchscreen may be a good idea (if you rely on specialised programs showing you specialised data/controls when you are on the move) - kind of like an industrial Psion replacement, but for most people, I suspect, they are just glorified and overspecced Facepuke interfaces.
I could get by using a 1974 Austin Allegro rather than my 2012 Porsche Boxster. Both are cars, both would get me from A to B. But why? In every way the Boxster is a wholly superior machine, just as my HTC One is wholly superior device to a £20 Nokia candybar (OK, battery life to one side).
And before anyone asks, no I don't have Facebook, Twitter, Angry Birds or Temple Run installed on my One.
" In every way the Boxster is a wholly superior machine, just as my HTC One is wholly superior device to a £20 Nokia candybar (OK, battery life to one side)."
Stupid comparison. Car comparisons with gadgets *never* work, please give them up
. I would insert an old Caterham in place of the Allegro just to annoy you. Everything the Boxster wanted to be, only cheaper to buy, cheaper to run, lighter, easy maintenance, faster, more fun and will get more positive attention from onlookers.
Hell, an old racing Kart would have made your Porsche look like an Allegro on a race track, for a tenth of the price using un-exotic materials, less powerful engine and very basic design.
Although you can buy candy bar phones that weigh almost nothing these days and feel better in the pocket but they're no good for selfies are they?
So it has a web browser, an email client, a calendar that can sync (even if not very well), an address book that can sync (not very well), an mp3 player, facebook and twitter clients, and onboard data storage. Back in the old days, before the iPhone was invented, that *was* a smart phone.
Of course modern life is possible without a smart phone. Have one / don't have one, it really doesn't matter. If you find one useful, or just want to be down with the cool kids then have one, if you don't, don't. I don't have one, and don't care less. If you want to write an interesting article, how about waiting 10 years and asking if it's possible to be without an internet connection - be it to a smart phone, tablet, laptop or what ever else comes along. With Government rolling out more and more services which will only be available on-line, the question is, "How easy will it be to live a disconnected life in a connected world?"
The simple answer is no.
I for one have always avoided using 'voice'.
When txt came out, I thought that was great.
Out and about, take picture of potholes, rubbish, failed street lights, e-mail immediately and get a case number from the Council.
(compared to go home or find a payphone, phone the council, wait in a Q for ages, wait to get through to the right deptartment - which is what you had to do).
start your local transport program, select a bus stop, get realtime information about your regular, or more importantly, less regularly used bus service. receive real-time updates to delays at bus-stops which don't have scroll-boards.
(compared to, go to town, find the rack with the timetables, take the timetables you think you might need, if there are any left, try and work out where your stop is, between the main stops, forget to take them with you and also hope the bus is not late).
Going to a strange town? look up destination with post code. drive/follow instructions, arrive. use google to find a nice restaurant that does the type of food you like.
(compared to, write to the AA and receive a turn-by-turn instruction book). Try and buy or find a local guide book. eg The Good Food guide. Hope the restaurant you fancied has not shut down!)
I like living in a joined-up, connected world. your smartphone is your local lifeline when in a strange place. Using facebook and twitter its now easier to connect groups of friends and meet up to socialise. Not to mention, keeping up with your friends in Australia, Mongolia, USA or the other side of town. Any tool is only as useful as you make it - and some people like to play games. good for them.
I feel like I've just walked in to a Flat Earth Society Convention!
I am the proud owner of a nice new shiny iPhone 5S and I can truthfully say that it is rarely more than a couple of feet away from me at any point during a 24 hour period. I am on it more or less constantly during my waking hours and when I am asleep it is sitting by the side of my bed as my alarm clock.
I use it as a music player/newspaper/library on my commute, I buy my train tickets and car parking on it, I check the weather and whether the trains/tubes are running okay before I leave. I run my business, file my expenses, track my fitness program, plan my daily nutrition on it. I do my grocery shopping on it and spend far too long adding and removing items from my Amazon basket.
I really could go on but i fear I've made my point, my iPhone has truly enhanced my quality of life by making things that were previously a drag, so bloody easy and convenient. A smartphone is an essential ingredient to modern life, without one, it's still a life, but not a modern one.
So, what I would say to all the flat earther's is "Get over yourselves!"
Another self important show off.
Could you possibly stop and consider that some very intelligent people have made life choices in not running their own business, in avoiding commuting at all costs, in choosing working hours such they don't need an alarm clock, are naturally fit and well nourished, have always done their expenses and online shopping since the year dot via an iMac or Macbook Air tucked neatly in the living room.
If you want to force those people to become unhappy, then sure, force an iphone on them to help them survive.
"A smartphone is an essential ingredient to modern life"
Throughout the history, there have always been 'essential ingredients'. For the better or worse. Borderline example - in the court of the Peter I of Russia, 'modern' people were obliged to drink coffee and smoke tobacco.
Judging by the tone here, maybe it is time that the chaps at XKCD rewrote
to 'how I feel about not having a smartphone'.
I personally love mine, don't get lost in strange towns like I used to, don't get as bored sitting by the luggage rack on an overoccupied train back like I would otherwise, get to access information I need when I am out, get to see if I am being ripped off in a shop that says '50% off'.
But yes, if the only thing that makes you feel that you are better than others is because they have a smartphone and you don't, knock yourself out!
Is modern life possible without a smartphone?
Stupid question. Of course it's possible. Loads of people live their modern lives every day without a smartphone. Of course it depends what you mean by "modern life". If you mean obsessive compulsive access to the internet in general and social media in particular then the answer would probably be no. But that's not modern life it's something bordering on mental illness.
Modern life does not require a permanent high speed connection to the internet. Indeed living your life properly almost precludes internet access. When I was surfing this weekend I didn't see anybody checking their phone, largely because there was no signal. But to be fair nor did I hear anybody bemoaning the lack of signal, because people had something much more interesting to do than check email or facebook. Sure internet access is useful for modern life, that's how I booked the tickets after all, but it isn't essential all (or even most) of the time.
When I'm out and about doing something real I don't need internet access, if I need it I'll track it down. And that should be how you tell if you really NEED access to the internet; are you willing to go and look for it? If not, you don't need it.
I have friends who reckon they live their lives more efficiently because of their smartphones. They are clearly wrong. Why? With their smartphones they spend time planning their life, researching it, organizing it and worst of all discussing it at great length on social media. Without their smartphones they wouldn't be able to waste time doing all that so they would be living it instead.
I have one teenage daughter with an HTC smartphone. Here social life is run by the phone, she doesn't need to go out much, and her life is completely organised. Any question you ask, the answer is at her fingertips.
I have another teenage daughter without a smartphone. She uses text a lot to stay in touch, goes out regularly to see friends in person, I get to watch her dancing in London shows and she talks sensibly to adults.
Only one (accidental) experiment but I look at al the people wandering along the street using their smartphones, ignoring beautiful sunrises and the sights of London, and I always want to point out to them where real life is.
Of course, if you can control the smartphone, then they are brilliant and gain you lots of family time. Can anyone truthfully say they have done that?
Surely it depends on what kind of "modern life" you have? My next door neighbour is 70, her daughter recently bought her a very simple "dumb" mobile in case of emergencies and she doesn't even have internet access in her house but she seems to survive very well. If you work in a service industry chances are you aren't even allowed to carry a mobile during work hours (think shop assistants, bus drivers).
In the case of the author of this article, the requirements of his job have developed around having the latest technology available at all times; as a tech author that's right & proper. But for someone who isn't in that kind of a job, or in a support role, the tech isn't necessary. Yes it can be more convenient, but for the majority of people it isn't a necessity as such.
Good Luck with your endeavor! I’ve never been one to use a mobile phone by preference, I can never align that little ittsy bittsy speaker to my normal sized human ear. Everybody sounds like they are talking into their beard or on speaker phone.
My Nokia C1 with a prepaid account doesn’t do internet, so I can safely say it is not so smart.
I asked the local (Australian) telco to set up data and calling plans for my new smartphone then transferred the SIM card from my ancient Nokia. I got a bill for $1,300 (about £585) thanks to automatic update and the plans not being set up correctly. When my hands stopped shaking, I moved the SIM card back. It took three months with many phone calls, emails and visits to their shop to get them to cancel the charge. The SIM card is still in my Nokia.
The article which would accompany such a title is a joke, right?
I, as well as most people, can 'make a leap': That's the reason I didn't waste my time reading the "article''.
Running out of serious material, El Reg?
Hey! I've got a REAL blockbuster for you: "Is Modern Life Possible Without Mark Shuttleworth?"
Go with it!
First of all why would you want to go backwards in time? I'm almost 66 years old and I got my first cellphone 22 years ago. Cost a 1000 bucks back then, but it was big and heavy and only did one thing... allow me to make calls while out on my catamaran in Hawai'i. Which I actually did, once. As soon as smartphones were available I got one, who wouldn't if they could afford the money cost? I have been a software engineer since the age of 12, or 1960. I don't think smartphones are a 'necessity', exactly, but now I'm a C-level person for a global giant and I need to be able to reach my teams no matter where in the world they are. The smartphone lets me do that. I track my daily 4-6 mile walks on it (yes, I'm a 'self-tracker'), keep up with emails from my relatives some of whom are in their 90s and who, while they don't have smartphones, they do email me a lot and since they have kindles they also share my kindle books, more than 850 (but of course I've long since taught them how to read those books on their big-screen monitor through kindle apps. I can check the weather, get audible mapping guidance while driving without having to look down at printed map directions, easily read or listen to my books (I have two smartphones, my current Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and my 4 year old droidx). I put cyanogenmod on the droidx and it is the one I listen to my audible books on (non-fiction only, who cares about fairytaleland when reality is so much more interesting). I have different ringsets for different groups of people, and for different actions on the phone. Frankly, my two VoIP home phones still have better audio quality for phone conversations, we haven't necessarily progressed all THAT much. As for iPhone, ha ha ha, I wouldn't have an apple ANYTHING anymore. Remember apple? THEY were the computers that had the tape with the label "if you break this tape you void your warranty". Yeah, open source? SURE. NOT. As for their swype feature, it does not come NEAR to the quality of the Samsung android swype which is true swype. The last great computer Apple had was their LISA. I made 65 bucks an hour on that machine, when it had an external hard drive of 10 MEGAbytes and, fabuloso!, a 2 MEGAbyte RAM. I did graphic design work on that tiny b/w monitor until finally the graphics software started putting new versions out on the PC's FIRST then buhBYE Lisa. As for iPAD, my Motorola Xoom notepad was 4G ONE FULL YEAR before iPad. What on EARTH would make ANYONE buy an apple phone, or for that matter, a WINDOWS phone? For security calls with certain of my govt clients, I still use my Blackberry, but it is a newer model. I don't know why you'd go to a cheaper, much slower phone when obviously you still need to view the internet on it, and emails, etc. etc. What is the benefit of leaving your iphone behind (i.e., not replacing it with a better android phone)? Nothing but a chance to write a worthless article and hear yourself talking, kinda like what I just wasted 2 minutes doing, here. :)
My simple problem is the service providers don't support the tethering of 2.5G and EDGE phones as MODEMs, so I can't use them to connect my laptop for full screen access. , WAP is effectivey useless and the screen too small for other than texting. My 7020 also has a Radio so I mainly listed to R4 on the AV. Really all I want is a soft dockable phone that will allow me to use a real keyboard and screen that my older eyes can read without finishing off my finger joints - or looking intensely sad like the desperately internalised people on the train. You are born, you grow up, have kids and die. Enjoy the time. If anyone knows a way around the tethering problem , please tell me ... Oh, and Check out OVIVO, its effectively a free monthly contract after the first £20 with quite a useful free allowance - if you are not so sad you stream tiny content to a screen when the world is there to watch. IMOLOLSWALK
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