The Overestimated Value of Cellphones

cell phone badIt would not be an exaggeration to state that the most popular device in the modern world is a touchscreen smartphone. No matter whether they are associated with the Android operating system, iOS, or a no-name Chinese brand, the main goal of these appliances, except communication, is to assist their owners in business and entertainment. However, are smartphones really that necessary and indispensable?

I can remember my first (and the last) Android-based touchscreen smartphone. When I took it in my hands for the first time, I anticipated all the wonderful possibilities that this device could provide me. After using it for nearly a year, I sold it to my friend, bought myself a common push-button cellphone, and decided not to deal with smartphones anymore. I believe that I used my smartphone rather effectively. I read books, edited documents, browsed the Internet, watched movies, took photos (two of them even won in a photo-contest). I was sincerely surprised by people who used their devices simply for texting and playing Angry Birds. But one day (it was literally one day – my opinion about smartphones changed fast) I understood that I did not need my appliance; even more, I realized that smartphones’ value is to a large degree overestimated.

So what were my reasons for getting rid of my smartphone? The first and foremost reason was that no multipurpose device is as effective as specialized devices. No matter how many mega-pixels your phone camera has, it will never match even a budgetary DSLR camera. No matter how many inches your display diagonal counts, an electronic reader using e-ink technology is still much more comfortable for reading. Movies are viewed best at home or at the cinema. Creating and editing documents is what a laptop is more suitable for. An all-in-one device may seem like a reasonable choice if your need in particular functions is superficial, but for serious activities, one is advised to choose specialized appliances.

The next reason why I think that smartphones are of no use to people is that these devices are a great distraction. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, more and more drivers get distracted by their smartphones on the road; around 20% of the crashes and accidents on the road in 2012 were caused by drivers using their smartphones (FoxNews). According to the latest surveys held in 2013, about 46% of respondents tend to spend two or more hours a day using their smartphones, mostly for browsing Facebook and Twitter (Highlights). Mostly, users consume entertaining visual information: photos, pictures, video clips. When an electronic appliance does almost everything our own brain is supposed to do, it is no surprise that distraction results into the inability to solve real life problems.

Smartphones are extremely expensive; both the price of the device itself and monthly expenses. Prices for the iPhone 5 in the United States start from $199 in the AppStore; various Android-based “flagship” smartphones often oscillates between $400-500. Besides, competition forces leading companies to develop and manufacture new models of their devices, so common consumers who are craving for the latest technologies have no other choice but regularly spending significant sums of money on new gadgets.

When I sold my smartphone and bought a common cellphone, I discovered that I lost nothing crucial. Social media can function properly without you, and your friends do not vanish when you are offline. Emails do not come as often as you check your mailbox. People can live without your new photo of your dinner on Instagram. Your productivity actually increases as you pay more attention to your work, and not to your phone. Besides, there are much more exciting ways to entertain oneself than scrolling through updates and commenting on pictures. To my mind, a phone must call and receive SMS; everything else should be left for specialized devices.

References

“Smartphones Distract Drivers? Then We Need More Smartphones, IOnRoad Says.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 09 Jan. 2012. Web. 17 June 2013. <http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/01/09/smartphones-distract-drivers-then-need-more-smartphones-ionroad-says/>.

Park, Kevin. “Smartphones Don’t Make Us Smart, but Distracted | BeverlyHighlights.” BeverlyHighlights. N.p., 21 May 2013. Web. 17 June 2013. <http://beverlyhighlights.com/2013/05/21/smartphones-dont-make-us-smart-but-distracted/>.

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