Cell Phone Mania Must Stop Now!
By John C. Dvorak
I've had it with cell phones—all of them. I'm sick of reading about new phones. I'm sick of news about the iPhone, how cool it is or that it lacks a removable battery, and gosh we need to discuss this important flaw incessantly. Who cares? It's a friggin' phone, for God's sake. And now I'm sick of hearing about Google's Android phones. The gPhone, the G1, the Android, or whatever you want to call it. Who cares?
Exactly why is so much time spent talking about these devices? Are we that bored?
"But it's open source, and golly, you can get the apps from anywhere! You don't have to go to the evil Apple store; you can even change the code in it."
"Oh, did you hear that a kill switch is built into the software?"
"Yes I did. That's bad, but Apple's is worse."
"My goodness, yes, it's surely worse with the Apple phone. Oh, my."
When someone gets hold of a new phone, the next thing you know they are all over the Net reviewing it in minute detail—as if it were a great piece of literature to be deconstructed. Everyone who doesn't have the new phone is immediately jealous. "Oh, I want one of those so badly!"
This phone thing began a few years back. You'd go to a restaurant and all the phones would come out, everyone oohing and ahhing over the various models. It's completely ridiculous. "Wow, nice phone. What is it?" "Oh, it's my new Nokia X-9000. Look, it has a built-in laser pointer!" "Wow! I want one!" Gee, could we be any more decadent?
And then there were the lines around the block for the iPhone. It looked like a 1933 soup line. Why did people stand in line to get a phone? They already had one, but there they were, standing in line to pay full price and sign up with a carrier that nobody likes. Historians of the future will look at this sort of thing and equate it with pole-sitting in the 1920s. "Look, a guy's sitting on a pole!" "Wow, great! Hey, everybody, over here!"
To make things sillier, now we have word that Motorola is going to add a social-networking component to its version of the Google phone. All the BS surrounding the phone isn't bad enough, so we have to add this other dimension.
Since the invention of Friendster and LinkedIn and the sudden emergence of the buzz phrase social networking, there has been a thematic concept lurking in every high-tech cubicle: "Let's make social networking a component of our product." "Great idea!"
Isn't a phone by its very existence already a social-networking device? Why create phony initiatives just to throw in an investor-friendly term? Exactly how did this so-called component become so utterly important to everything? That's the real question. And what's so special about social networking anyway? Creating a computer database of people you really don't know and just pretend to be friends with so you can say hi once in a while? These networks are pretty flimsy, let's face it. On a phone this is called the address book.
When I hear about the need to add a social-networking component to anything, the first thing that comes to my mind is SCAM. I'm not sure how it's a scam, I just know that it is one on some level. I want a word processor so I can write columns and books, not to meet new friends.
But my complaints are meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Everyone will be jabbering about the new phones, and then they'll be jabbering about the variations of the device, and then jabbering about the cool apps they're so proud of because they got them for free. "I didn't pay for my apps" is a cool mantra to be expressed constantly—until you ultimately take yourself out of the game. "Oh, YOU bought an app? Tsk, tsk. Poor fellow. I'm so sorry for you!"
I guess the social-networking component might be a good thing after all—for people who cannot talk about anything other than phones. It will give us more people with whom we can discuss phones. And this time, we can do it on the phone, without ever getting off the phone. Only in America.
Oh your gawd, THANK YOU JOHN.
Fuck your phones. My phone is vastly superior to all of your phones. Regardless of model or specifications.
My phone is just a phone.
It makes telephone calls. Little else. 5 years from now, while your touch screen, battery draining, kill switch bricked PDA's that happen to make phone calls will be pushing up digital daisies. My phone will still be making telephone calls(thanks to it's absurd titanium exterior and exceptional battery life).
It cost me 100 euros and that is still 3 times more than I should have been willing to pay, for a telephone!
It has no GPS.
No digital camera.
No FM tuner.
No flip out keyboard.
No MP3 player.
No voice recorder.
No biult in suite of office products.
Basically no Java.
No polyphonic ringtones
But lets be honest. Most, if not all of the phones that have those things suck. Whens the last time you saw some one frame a cellphone camera shot?
Fuck your phones and the 500+ Euro price tags attached to them.
My phone is vastly inferior in terms of feature set.
But vastly superior at being a telephone.
Did I mention fuck your phones?