Home > Uncategorized > Why do we still call them phones? Redux

Why do we still call them phones? Redux

Here’s a probably incomplete list of the things I’ve done with my new smartphone since I got it two weeks ago:

  • Browsed websites
  • Looked things up on Wikipedia, IMDb, and elsewhere, by both typing and voice entry
  • Posted to Facebook/checked status
  • Checked mail regularly
  • Received a couple of texts from the wireless carrier
  • Taken a few photos
  • E-mailed a photo to my laptop
  • Recorded a test video
  • Listened to portions of my complete Star Trek: TOS soundtrack collection while out on walks (and this morning used it to drown out that annoying Whitney Houston song my neighbor blares every so often)
  • Used the voice recorder to dictate writing notes to myself
  • Checked the weather regularly
  • Entered upcoming appointments and events in my calendar
  • Used GPS navigation to direct me from the movie theater to the grocery store
  • Used the calculator to compute my gas mileage
  • Used the astonishingly bright built-in flashlight
  • Downloaded a magnifying-glass app
  • Downloaded and played a chess game and a bubble-zapper game
  • Used the front-facing camera as a shaving mirror (or tried to — might work better if I magnified the image)
  • Used the memo pad to remind me how much I spent at Taste of Cincinnati
  • Checked the bus schedule online after Taste of Cincinnati
  • Watched a couple of short YouTube videos

Here is some of what I have not yet done with my smartphone as of this writing:

  • Made a phone call
  • Received a phone call

Admittedly, I’m not the most social person around, so going two weeks without making a phone call isn’t unusual for me. I’m sure I’ll get to try out that function soon, since I’m planning to visit family in Detroit later this month. But I still find it amusing that we still refer to these powerful computer/data interface/multimedia devices in our pockets as “phones” when that’s become such a small part of their function.

Indeed, that’s one reason I decided it was time to upgrade to a smartphone, even though it meant spending more money. Sticking with the cell phone I had was a false economy, since the only thing it did that wouldn’t incur an extra data fee was making phone calls, which I hardly used it for anyway, so I was basically spending nearly 50 bucks a month for something I only really used to dictate notes to myself. (Its music player tended to glitch and freeze up the phone, apparently a systemic problem with that model, so I couldn’t use it for that either.) Now I’m spending a certain amount more per month, but I’m getting immensely more value out of it. (Unfortunately it has unlimited talk and text but a finite data limit per month — I wish it were the other way around, since I don’t need the talk and text that much.)

I also haven’t yet figured out how to get it to sync files (i.e. audio, video, photos) with my laptop when it’s hooked up, since the software I downloaded isn’t working the way it’s supposed to. There’s a number I can call where they can fix that, but I haven’t gotten around to that yet. In the meantime, I’ve purchased a MicroSD card with 16 gigabytes to replace the 2GB one I’ve been using, so that I’ll be able to copy and save all my music CDs to it. (Now if only I had a way to do that with my old LPs and cassette tapes.)

I’m particularly glad to have a working portable music player at last. I haven’t had a reliable one of those since the days of the Walkman. (The portable CD player I had didn’t have any kind of strap or carrying case, which was awkward unless I had my backpack with me, and it didn’t handle being jostled well.)

One drawback of the smartphone is that it uses a lot of power. I have to recharge it daily, much more often than my old phone. But then, I’m using it so much more. I guess it’s the same as it was with the fee — I didn’t expend as much before, but much more of what I did expend was wasted.

Although it will help if I remember to turn the flashlight off when I’m done with it…

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  1. June 2, 2014 at 4:06 am

    I bought a second battery for my phone. It’s quite useful! 🙂

    • June 2, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      For Christmas last year, my cousin-in-law got me a battery pack that plugs into the phone’s microUSB port, so I’ve got that covered.

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