Love to hate smartphones

This isn’t a new subject for me as I’ve written several times on both sides of the debate. I’m now, after switching to my cheap Lumia (Windows 10 Mobile) and then switching back to my equally cheap Galaxy Express (Android 6), at the point of ditching smartphones all together. These devices, with their screens bathing our peepers in blue light, are taking over every aspect of our lives to where we are actually crippled when we don’t have use of them even for a few hours. A pervasive piece of technology that has invaded, without our knowledge, and conquered our lives right under our noses without us even giving up a fight. In many ways, you can take any classic alien movie, replace the aliens with smartphones, and the story would most likely hold up. I’d watch the movie titled “Invasion of the Brain Snatchers” that chronicled our plight against the invading smartphone intelligence trying to take over the world.

Here is the debate raging in my head right now regarding the next smart phone I’m considering to purchase sometime early next year, which will be an unlocked version regardless of my decision, if I buy one at all.

Apple (iOS)

As if, these devices are electronic versions of Hell. They’re locked down, impossible to tinker with and Siri will speak to you in a condescending tone if you attempt to make any changes. I’m not an Apple fan, never have been, never will be. They’re expensive and once you’re in that ecosystem, it’s extremely hard to get back out of it. I’ve helped more friends than I can recall get away from Apple in favor of Android. In one case, I had to literally burn all their music to CDR’s, then rip them back to a non-protected, non-Apple, MP3 format. A total waste of time, but at least he has a sleeve of 50 CDR’s as a backup.

Android

This has potential, but Google has completely fubar’d the ecosystem so far. One of the most fragmented systems known to man in terms of the number of versions still being used and extremely vulnerable. A lot of the features from Marshmallow and soon, Nougat, will go unused because Android developers need to make apps available that are backward compatible. There are 10 versions of Android that currently make the graphic below from Froyo (2.2) to Marshmallow (6.0).

shareofandroidversions

SOURCE: Statista

The fact that malware is actively targeting all version of Android older than 6.0 means that 81% of all Android phones are at risk or already infected. How can you call a phone that runs Android a smart phone with those kinds of issues? If Google can rope in all these fragmented OS versions and exercise some control over their ecosystem, I think they have a chance of actually continuing their success.

Blackberry (Android)

I’m not discounting these guys out just yet. They just announced a huge deal with TCL China, a phone manufacturer, to continue building devices with the Blackberry name and running a secure version of Android. They already had marginal success with the Priv, and are announcing unlocked phones that will be sold worldwide in early 2017. I would certainly snag myself an Android Blackberry with a physical keyboard if the price was right. They have certainly kept up with regular updates on the Priv and there is a possibility that these phones will get Nougat as well.

Microsoft (Windows 10 Mobile)

This is a real disappointment. They had a really good phone OS that started with 7.x that was different from all other mobile phone systems and just worked. The apps were a real pain but there were some really good developers that created third-party apps that often worked better than the native apps for iOS and Android. The first mistake was forcing everyone on 7.x to purchase new hardware to be able and run 8.x. Again, they had a really good phone OS that got better, and with a decent selection of hardware, Microsoft was on a good track to get some traction, then, then, nothing. Windows 10 Mobile was announced and once the upgrade phone list came out, a lot of top end hardware was left behind. What few die-hard fans were left just got the shaft, again, and essentially wrote off the entire thing. I was with them from 7.x, got a new phone to get 8.x, and was left with hardware that wasn’t getting Windows 10 Mobile. See ya Microsoft, I’m out. Chances are slim that I would purchase another, unless the rumors of a mobile phone being released that can run desktop applications actually comes true. Then I have a mobile phone replacement for my laptop.

Decisions…

To be honest, the whole idea of a smart phone has been lost on me. It’s a necessary evil at this time that is a constant distraction for me and everyone around me. My wife is utterly addicted and will often be glued to the screen and barely answer “Uh huh” or “Ok” when consumed by the screens content. She often complains of having trouble going to sleep, except on the nights that she doesn’t use the phone before bed. I’d agree with her if the observations didn’t tell me otherwise, case in point “Q&A: Why Is Blue Light before Bedtime Bad for Sleep?”

I may just say f**k it and get a flip phone to keep the people who need to get in touch with me (in case of that elusive emergency) happy. We’ve lived on this planet much longer without smartphones than we have lived with them, how quickly we forget…..

#android, #apple, #smartphones, #technology, #windows

“My phone is better than yours!”

I really miss you!

Ok, I’ll admit it.  I got really burned up at the debate I had over lunch today.  I’ve had a smartphone since before they were called smartphones.  My first was a Palm Treo 650 (a brilliant device, but that’s another story) and it was considered a personal digital assistant that also doubled as a communication device.  At that time I purchased it, people were kickin with flip phones and super slim phones, all just regular phones.

I digress, anyway, I got into a sort of debate about my Windows Phone 7.5 smartphone, my co-workers iPhone 4 smartphone, and another co-workers Android smartphone.  Almost immediately they were both ganging up on me as they saw my phone as the inferior device.  I attempted to explain to them that my phone was experience-centric and not app-centric as their device were.  Where the whole “There’s an app for that” tagline that Apple has sued other companies over….

At no point did I dis their devices.  My focus on the debate was to demonstrate the point that neither of them had ever used a WP7.5 device and weren’t in a position to make a conclusion based on their own personal experiences.  I, on the other hand, have spent several hours each with an iPhone and various Android devices, and consider myself well informed and back my opinions and conclusions with fact.

What it turned into was more of a scene reminiscent of high school where it was “That’s stupid because I said so” and the “geek” was chastised for actually being smart….  It was all too close to home and I quietly removed myself from the situation.  I ended back at my desk, having taken a shorter lunch than normal, and seething inside at the shear immaturity of the entire conversation only moments before.

It really makes me mad when someone forms an opinion on something without taking the time to inform themselves of the facts or how something works.  My experience is larger than just smartphones.  I hear at least once a week “oh I don’t like that because of blah blah blah”….  where blah blah blah is what so-and-so said or they “heard” from some source.  When pressed they often don’t know the “source” they used to form their opinion.  Really?

My personal view on this, and I’ve written about this before.  Take the TIME to decide for YOURSELF what you like and don’t like about a smartphone (keeping it focused on that) before forming your opinions.  Don’t get a smartphone for ONLY one of the below reasons:

  1. You saw it advertised on television
  2. A friend purchased/told/described it to you and you HAD to get one too
  3. You spent 5 minutes with it and the in-store salesmen said “you really want that!”

Most of us have the Internet and access to the on-line reviews, consumer reviews, PCWorld, CNET, PCMag, etc. etc.  Your final decision should be based on everything you’ve read and experienced, not just because you’re friend got one too.

#smartphones, #technology, #uninformed-opinions, #windows-phone, #windows-phone-7-5-2