Looking for Mr. Right on my cell phone

Posted: October 29, 2010 in Business, Value for Value
Tags: , , , ,

Don’t you hate it when people rant about the good old days? I know I do.

“You young whippersnappers may not remember this, but in the good old days, Ma Bell ran the phones and you could hear a pin drop on the other end of the line. At least, that’s what the teleeevision commercials said.”

Well, I was talking with a friend yesterday and he pulled out his Droid and fumbled with the touch screen, trying to find the phone, and the vitriol that dripped from his voice as he said how much he hated that phone was the kind usually reserved for villains who stole your bible and shot your dog.

It got me thinking about cell phones. I use a Voyager, an aging pre-smart phone that browses the internet and gets emails, but not all that well. Its best feature is the real keypad, which for me is critical. But the fact is, the sound quality sucks.

It’s not the network. I’m on Verizon, and after using MCI, Sprint and AT&T, I can tell you that at least in my experience, Verizon delivers the best quality in the tri-state area.

No, the fact is that the sound quality on most mobile phones sucks these days. 5 years ago, on a basic LG flip phone, the sound quality was fine.

But today?

Think about how many calls you get from people on cell phones where you can barely make out what they’re saying, even if they’re not on the streets of NY but in their own home.

And what if you’re receiving the call on your own cell phone? The problems are magnified beyond measure.

We all make excuses for our phones. We overlook the problems: the abysmal quality, the crashes, the dropped calls, the lost contacts, the notepad messages that can’t be transferred, the calendars and text inboxes that seem to have smaller capacities for storing data than a 5 1/2″ floppy and the battery life that runs out quicker than you can say “Honey, where’d I leave my charger?”

We move from phone relationship to phone relationship, hoping upon hope that the next one will be “the one.”

In other words, we are serial enablers.

I’m in the process of looking for my own “Mr. Right.” (Yes, my phone is a he. It’s not a ship, or a car, or an airplane. It’s a phone, and to me it’s a he. Lucky for me. If it were a she, she would have dumped my sorry, abusive self years ago.)

I’m probably going to get a Droid 2, because I need the keypad, and it’s better than the Droid’s, and I want a bigger screen and I want a tricked-out phone that runs Flash  and has apps and synchs with my Google Calendar. Plus, I want to stay with Verizon, which means the Samsung Epic 4G is out.

So I’ll suffer through unfathomable interfaces and lousy call quality because I want all the technological bells and whistles. I want to be able to run Tweetdeck on my phone and connect to Facebook with a click and visit sites that use Flash and type with real keys instead of pounding my non-conductive fingertips against the touch screen until I’m red in the face and ready to stroke out.

But can someone please explain to me when it not only became acceptable to tolerate lower quality in return for “better” technology, but required?

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  1. Josef Katz says:

    Seems like you have a bunch of friends with Droids. I enjoy the X even if I hang up on you from time to time. I promise I won’t shoot any dogs because of my phone.

    Sorry I don’t have a direct answer to your question but FWIW- I don’t think this lower quality problem is only with technology. We seems to be suffering with lower quality in many areas.

    • jlsimons says:

      I agree. Don’t even get me started on the state of typography since the advent of desktop publishing. Or spelling since everyone started texting. Thanks for the comment, Joseph.

  2. A Fan says:

    …and here I am with my old LG, a plain old cell phone with basic functions and old-fashioned technology that I don’t wrack my brain to use. Sometimes the changes move too quickly, leaving the timid among us in the dust, though I do understand the need to keep up with the latest developments. So choose wisely and good luck with your latest upgrade, whatever it turns out to be. I’ll wave as you speed on by.

    • jlsimons says:

      Great comment, A Fan. Technology in general, and phones in particular, can change pretty quickly. Rotary phones lasted about a century, push buttons land lines for decades, but now the pace of change is dizzying. I’ve had flip phones, stick phones, slide phones… That friend I was talking to with the Droid was fondly remembering his StarTAC, a cell phone from the mid 90’s. It was the first phone that looked like a communicator in Star Trek and flipped open, and man was that cool.

      Don’t worry though. As I speed by, I’ll video you waving on my smart phone and upload it to YouTube before you’re out of site, then text you the link. After all, I wouldn’t want you to miss out just because you’re lo-tek and your vision is obscured by all that dust.

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