I was reading some random blogs today, and I came across one that offered a review of a new cell phone. The writer, someone probably in his mid-20’s said:
“It has all the basic everyday useful actions a normal phone has, camera, mp3 player, internal storage and Internet.
It also has many extras…”
Now, I try really hard not to be a cretin about such things, but I recall when the “normal” thing for a phone to do was … MAKE TELEPHONE CALLS!
This “phone” that was being reviewed has two cameras, one with nearly as many megapixels as my Nikon, the same storage as my MP3 player, and slides back and forth, up and down, opening keyboards, surfs the web, etc, etc, etc.
GeezerMan wants a telephone that consistently makes calls without dropping them. Sending a text message is also a nice feature, and I’ve gotten pretty dependent on that. A basic communications device. The phone I have, which I don’t hate but would exchange in a heartbeat, has a camera, which is bad. Bad picture quality, and difficult to send the pictures to anyone. I can count on both hands the number of times I’ve used the camera on the phone. It will access the Internet, but why? AT&T wants confiscatory rates to access the Internet via the phone, it’s slow, and cumbersome. If the phone would make a call every time I opened it up … ala Captain Kirk … I’d be happier. For some reason, though, the call quality is not great and my calls often get dropped. I don’t know if it’s the Razr or AT&T. I do know it was better when it was just Cingular.
Now, GeezerMan is geezerly enough to remember when nobody … NOBODY … had phone attached to their belt or purse 24/7. A telephone was in the house, attached by a wire that disappeared into the wall and a Ma Bell repairman came to your house and fixed it when it was broken. I was probably about the age of the writer of the blog I linked to when I got my first cell phone. It had a transmitter in a bag about the size of a big purse. It plugged into the cigarette lighter, had a handset like a normal phone, and a wired antenna that hid in the bag or attached magnetically to the roof of the car. Minutes were outrageously expensive, but it made great phone calls. It got stolen in a “smash and grab” when my wife was parked near Buzzards Point when she worked at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC. They also took my electric grinder, which was covered in pretty toxic boat bottom paint.
I don’t want that phone back. I’ve literally watched cell phone technology go from that, to the point where “normal” is considered an MP3 playing-picture taking-Internet surfing-text messaging-oh-I-make-calls-too communications device.
It’s days like today that make me feel pretty geezerly, as you can probably tell.
I don’t have any desire for a
crack blackberry. I’ve had PDA’s and should try that again. But Andie had one that was also her phone, and when the LCD screen went south less than 30 days after buying it, Cingular refused to repair or replace it.
I understand the desire to combine a bunch of these functions into one device. Really, I do. And I think it’s pretty cool. But they’re sort of like the printer-copier-fax machines that are supposed to free up so much space in your home office. They do a lot of things, just none of them particularly well, or at least to my standards. I like my camera that’s a camera and takes great pictures. My MP3 player is perfectly adequate, and if I’m really going to need to access the Internet, I’ll take my laptop, which is fast and as secure as a Windows machine can be. One day, there will be a device that will do most of those things up to a standard I’ll accept. Except for the camera. Until that time, GeezerMan won’t accept inferior performance just to have the latest and “greatest” device. I’ll let someone else spend too much money as an early adopter. I’ll get one when they’re cheaper … and better.