November 19, 2017 ... Central U.S. Time

“Smart phones” really aren’t — they’re more

Posted or updated 10.25.08 by Bill Lamb

A few years ago I was in the minority: I didn’t have a cell phone and really didn’t want one because, I felt, I didn’t need one. I made few calls, and few people actually called me — or even needed to.

But Hermie had expressed an interest in one, and since she often drove late at night I thought it a good idea. I got her a cell phone — a pretty nice one for the time — for Christmas one year.

Some time later I borrowed it for a couple of trips, mini-reunions with Rimbachers, as I recall. Not long after, I broke down and got a phone of my own, thinking it would be good for those types of trips since the cost was really low. I think I paid $49 for a cheap Sanyo flip-phone.

I used it, sparingly, for about three years. I still didn’t need it often, and few people called me. But it served the purpose I bought it for.

Then came the iPhone, and that changed everything.

It also caused me to reflect as to why, and the reason is surprisingly simple: it’s more than just a phone.

The iPhone and other so-called “smart phones,” no matter the make or operating system, really aren’t. They’re small, but powerful computers that perform many functions, telephony being just one.

Even now, probably less than 5 percent of my phone use is actually as a phone. The remainder of the time I’m sending e-mail, browsing the Web, reading news online, listening to music or finding my way with maps.

Obviously, my experience isn’t unusual. I’ve read reports about the growing popularity of smart phones and their increasing use, and it dawned on me that they’re likely something like the Internet itself, and indeed the first cell phones: a neat bit of technology that’s growing from ubiquitous to indispensable. Smart phones are game changers, to use an overworked political phrase.

About the only calls we receive on our home phone now are from automated machines with recordings urging us to buy something or vote for some yahoo seeking public office. I can’t hang up fast enough. We’re on every no-call list there is, but there are just too many loopholes, it seems. Lately, I’ve been unplugging blasted thing every afternoon.

There’s a growing number of folks in this nation who have dropped their land lines in favor of a cell-phone-only life. The phone companies hate that because land lines are still a significant hunk of revenue. We’re not ready to do that yet, but I see the trend continuing to grow, and “smart phones” will play a part in that.

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Glenn Miller

About Bill Lamb

Air Force veteran Bill Lamb served in Rimbach from January 1974 until December 1975. After a 25-year career in journalism, he now handles online communications for Paris Junior College in his hometown of Paris, Texas. He blogs about a little of everything.

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