I enjoy technology. I try to keep up with new trends and what’s coming out. While I rarely know the minute details, I stay informed about larger ideas, upgrades, or upcoming products.
So, as my cell phone is now approaching 4 years in age, has several broken/scratched/non-functioning parts, and is long-past contract end-date, you’d think I would be moderately prepared for finding a new phone…
It’s not that there’s too much out there. It’s not that phones don’t offer the functionality I’d like. In fact, it’s an issue of too much functionality.
You see, I’d like my phone to reflect a simpler time. When a cell phone was a wireless device used for calling people. When it wasn’t a camera/mp3 player/calendar/IM device/video game console/etc. Just a phone. No moving, sliding, flipping, switching, or any other -inging.
I just want a phone. Candy bar style (no -ings). All 10 digits (no qwerty boards). For calling (not taking pictures, sending messages, or any other thing). If I want to do those other things, I’ll use the need-specific technologies that have been designed specifically for them.
The problem is one of jack of all trades. People love that phrase. “I’m a jack of all trades,” they say. Or “This thing is a jack of all trades – it can do it all!”
What they miss is the second bit of that phrase: jack of all trades, ace of none.
It’s like the phrase “United we stand” – uber-patriotic people love to throw that one around. But they fail to mention the second bit: “divided we fall.”
In fact, with both jack of all trades and united we stands, the users who lack the second part tend to be the guiltiest culprits of misses the meaning of the phrases. The united we stands tend to use that as a dividing force – those who agree with them are united and capable of keeping everyone standing; those who disagree make everything crumble. Those jacks of all trades are terrific at being mediocre at lots of little things, but they fail to do one or two big things exceptionally well.
Which brings me back to my phone desires. All these phone options – Blackberries, iPhones, Palms, etc. – with their wide arrays of gadgets just ignore the focus that really matters: making a phone that just works really well for calling.
Sure, the iPhone has great apps and beautiful design. Sure, the Blackberry is a business powerhouse for its security options and managing of information capabilities. Sure, the Palm is good for… well, until the Pre comes out, I’m not sure what… but you get the point.
These phones each have their ups and downs. Pros and cons. Perks and disadvantages.
But NONE of them are singularly capable of receiving excellent signal EVERYWHERE. Which, ultimately, is the reason for having a portable phone.
If I want to take pictures, I use a camera that has more memory, better capabilities, and more options. If I want a calendar, I’ll try different options, select one I like the best (Google calendar right now). If I want a word processor, a place to check the internet, and a way to send messages to people… I’ll use my laptop and a variety of programs, each specially designed to do their purpose better than any of its competitors.
For none of these reasons would I buy a phone.
Which is my problem now. Going to have to replace the current phone, but with all the options out there, I am left with no options. The phones, united in standing up to be many things, ultimately fall, divided amongst competitions that don’t matter… aceless as a group.