Avoiding the rise of smart phones
February 24, 2015
Happiness, life, love and addiction. These four words are usually used to describe people’s relationship with their smartphone. According to Dazeinfo, a website that keeps up with the latest information on technology and the media, 2 billion mobile users are using smartphones this year.
Although 2 billion mobile users out of 4.77 billion mobile users have smartphones, 2.77 billion are using normal cell phones such as flip phones, sliding phones, or “brick” phones, according to the Dazeinfo report.
Among the 2.77 billion non-smartphone users is William Reyna, social science and technology teacher. “I have an AT&T LG flip phone,” he said. “In the year and a half that I’ve had this phone, I’ve approximately used it 15 times and have recharged it only three times.”
Reyna said that his current flip phone is actually the first and only cell phone he’s had in his entire life. He used to depend on pay phones when he would go out, or would use his home phone if he needed to give someone a call. He found enjoyment in bragging that he was “the only adult in the United States that didn’t have a cell phone,” until an emergency took place. “I was at the airport one day and I had to make an emergency call to my wife who was in Vegas at the time,” he said. “I looked up and couldn’t find a payphone anywhere, so I searched and searched until I finally found one. I had realized that I finally needed to get a cell phone.”
Sophomore Bhavin Shah is also a non-smartphone user. “I’m content with my phone,” he said. “Because everything that you can do on a smartphone can be done on a computer.”Shah believes that cell phones should mainly be used for calling, and that texting isn’t really a feature he engages in. “I don’t really find myself texting that much,” he said. “I pretty much only use my phone for calling.” Although he doesn’t own a smartphone at the moment, he plans to purchase one later for productive and reasonable reasons. “Maybe in the future when I get a job, smartphones would be useful, but for now, I don’t really need it. I’m fine with my phone and a computer,” Shah said.
Because everything that you can do on a smartphone can be done on a computer.
— Bhavin Shah
In fact, smartphones do have features of a computer, especially the availability to search the web, a feature that many owners find useful. According to Dazefino, the holders of smartphones use 83% of Internet usage around the world. The ability of accessing the Internet through a mobile phone makes up the number one reason why people invest in such a device, many say. That is why senior Alina Sargsian recently became a smartphone user. “My first phone was a brick and I felt like it did nothing,” she said. “I hated it, and even got made fun of by close friends because it wasn’t in the best condition.”
Sargsian told her father that she wanted another phone, preferably one of the iPhones, but only upgraded to a flip phone. “He gave me one of those prepaid phones in middle school,” she said. “It was in better condition than my first one. I mean it flipped and it had a bigger keyboard, but I still didn’t get to do anything on it.”
Sargsian only got to limitedly text and call on the phone, when she was hoping to have Internet access or even download some games or apps that she would enjoy. “My dad finally bought me the iPhone 4 when it first came out, and I remember downloading all the apps I saw my friends had,” she said. “I love it, and it lasted me up ‘til now, almost like four years.”
According to Sargsian, her first smartphone made an impact on her social life. “I liked that I was up to date with the newest phone, and even though I’m not up to date with the new ones right now, I’m still pretty happy,” she said. “With smartphones, you can download apps and games that your friends have and connect with them more. With the regular phones, you’d have to settle with boring, basic games and texting is almost impossible.”
Sargsian, who has no current plans of upgrading her iPhone 4, would consider going back to using a non-smartphone if it was necessary. “If I needed to go back to using those old phones because mine suddenly didn’t work anymore, or because of payment issues, I would,” she said. “But I do prefer smartphones over any other phones since you can do much more things on it than the non-smartphones.”
Reyna, on the other hand, isn’t so concerned with all the features of a smartphone, even with the simple, basic features of his flip phone. “I know my phone has a camera on it, which I don’t know how to work,” he said. “I know that I can text on it, which I don’t know how.” He said that he’s surprised that students don’t have carpal tunnel from all the texting he sees them do.
“I remember I took a cell phone away from a girl about six months ago and she said that I ruined her life,” he said. “She was missing her cell phone for two hours until she was able to get it at the end of the day.”
He also doesn’t know his own cell phone number, because he said that he doesn’t generally need to give his number out to anyone. If needed, however, he would press his contacts button on his keypad or screen, and his number would be displayed there. “Over the years I didn’t have many people call me, or I didn’t need to call many people,” he said. “I prefer to deal with people face to face.”
Reyna’s wife, however, is a smartphone user. “She doesn’t have the latest phone, but she has the iPhone 5,” he said. “What’s probably going to happen though, is that she’s going to upgrade and then I’ll probably get the 5. She’s the one that does the technology and the computer work.” Reyna didn’t express much excitement about the possibility of obtaining a smartphone because he says he will then have to learn more about how to use such a phone. “Getting a phone isn’t as exciting for me than it is for teenagers.”
Reyna doesn’t view a cell phone as importantly as others. “I see people have their whole lives in their cell phones,” he said. “People would bank on it, use the Internet, text, and I don’t do any of that.” In fact, he questioned what would happen if someone were to hack into such phones and access all the personal data.
“I try not to base my life on my cell phone,” he said. ”I just want it for emergencies and to call someone if I really have to. That’s just me.”