Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cell Phone Revolution

Do you remember the days before cell phones? I sure do. It’s hard to fathom how we lived without them.
Rotary Phone
I recall wishing we had a portable phone back in my childhood. (Heck, I wanted one of those newfangled fancy ones with push buttons that wasn't permanently attached to a wall. Didn’t want much eh?) Dad would be working his one-man landscaping business and mom would be getting dinner on the table. She’d suddenly realize we were out of something. We’d get these crazy science fiction thoughts about how to get word to dad. It would have made life so much easier if we could have teleported a message to our hard working father. (“Hey Dad! Mom says we need milk….NOW!)

Or how about when we took long car trips and it decided to break down (which always seems to happen in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night, right)? How did we call AAA to come save us? By walking miles to find a pay phone, praying it wasn’t broken and that we had a dime left to put in it.
           Photo Credit:  Dean Terry's Photostream (Flickr)

Where was that cell phone then, huh? It was only in the land of make believe. James Bond had a cool phone in his car, didn’t he? And what about Maxwell Smart? It was in his shoe!

My prayers were answered in the 80’s when I discovered the first real life mobile phone. It was huge and came with a bag which I think carried some type of large battery. Unfortunately, its cost was also huge which prevented most of us from owning one. In the 90’s it shrunk from being the size of a 12 pound turkey to the size of Maxwell’s shoe. Still not small enough for a pocket but it could fit into my purse! And it was affordable! These phones were just that: phones. You could make calls on them. Period. Sure there were drawbacks. Remember the outrageous roaming fees, limited coverage, aggravating dropped calls? But those problems were a small price to pay to have a phone you could take anywhere. Finally, peace of mind and milk on the table.

It didn't stop there. Oh no. The evolution to today’s smart phones seems to have happened in a flash. Suddenly, in the new millennium, they got smaller, less expensive. Pocket sized. They flipped. They slid open. They could multi-task. It was like we could have our own pocket-size personal assistant. It could keep track of appointments, wake us up, take pictures, alert us to who was on the line by the sound of a ring tone. Pay by contract or by the minute. Service was so much better some ditched landline phones for these new and improved devices. Then there came apps! We could play games, calculate a tip, check our email.

Demo Cell Phones
Photo Credit: djwudi's photostream (Michael Hanscom - Flickr)

But wait! There’s more! Now how much would we pay?

Apparently, the sky is the limit! The biggest innovation had arrived: we could surf the web anywhere, anytime! Yes! Now we can check today’s weather, the latest news from around the world, map out a travel route, and know at a moment’s notice when Snooki had her baby…..Ah joy! Such happiness!

Of course I jumped on the smartphone wagon. Most of us did. Sadly, there are some poor souls among us who have dug their heels in the sand, refusing to step into the future and continue to use those prehistoric flip phones. How unfortunate! They’re missing out on so much fun! How can they live without knowing in an instant the latest sports score or political headline, or being out of the loop while the rest of us get our daily tweet about the latest Kardashian breakup?

Landlines are going the way of the dinosaur. Pay phones are all but extinct. Smart phones are here to stay and leading us into a whole new way to keep in touch. Who knows what will happen in the next decade? It's pretty exciting, tho, huh?

As for me, I'm trying to stay hip and up on the latest, greatest. I’ve got a Samsung Galaxy droid. The first version. The third was just released. Seems I didn’t get the phone not that long ago. 2 years ago, maybe? And already it’s outdated. Partially it’s my fault. I'm sure some of you know smart phones have operating systems, much like our personal computers. Unfortunately, I ignored the periodic messages from AT&T to download the updates. So now I have a phone where the apps don’t work properly, if at all. And to update the phone at this point, I would have to go back to school to get an engineering degree (or adopt a geeky teenager) to figure out how to do it. AT&T won’t help. I’ve asked.

So now I’m looking to upgrade. But to what? There are so many cool options. Some techies say the iPhone is the crème de la crème of cell phones. And I must confess that I get a little green with envy when I see someone using one. I don’t think it has much to do with the phone’s capabilities; it’s just I want something considered the best and I want what everyone else has. Don’t we all?

But the newest Galaxy version is quite impressive (most impressive!), according to the iPhone haters. It’s cheaper. Faster. Has a better camera with a nicer screen. Lots of apps. Hubby’s leaning toward upgrading to this one. I’m still on the fence. So this weekend, I think we’re going to take a ride over to AT&T to check out the newest array of technology. Time for a change. Droid or iPhone?

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi...... you're my only hope! (Need to engage my science fiction brain for this one!)

To be continued………………………………….


  1. The Droid wins, IMHO...

  2. I must have dug my heals in pretty good cause I still have a flip phone & yes, unfortunately.....I am totally out of the loop!

  3. oh karen! now how you going to keep up w/the world?? lol !! i think i'm addicted to my smart phone. is there a "cell phone anonymous"? ha ha!
    and Suzi, i'm thinking droid may win. We'll see!

  4. Ardi loves her iPhone!


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