I finally figured out how to get my wife’s cell phone to work. It is an MDA that allows us to receive our emails and view websites while we travel. It has a small screen and a slide-out keyboard with lowercase letters. So I need to use the stylus to make the actual input. Once we set up our various accounts, we can now view our messages and view the website. That’s because you need to scroll down the page to see it, rather than all at once. It also has a 1.3 megapixel camera, is Bluetooth enabled, and has a Word document feature for composing lyrics etc. It’s pretty compact for all those functions and probably bakes bread, takes out the trash, and washes the windows, too, once I catch up. Meanwhile, I have a 5 year old Motorola cell phone.
And what does it do? Nothing more than answering and sending calls. Period. Now my wife loves her phone and all the comforts. I admit it’s nice to be able to check emails, but it took me hours to learn a few basic functions. My phone doesn’t even come with a SIM card to store addresses and phone contacts. It has a speaker and it can vibrate and I consider it really advanced. Of course, for most of you, that’s SO ninety. But I guess when I’m forced to get a new one, there will be even more features available.
Apple’s new iPhone promises to go further. It will be more of a computer than a phone. Future phones will most likely be faxed and printed as well. So at what point do we drop the “phone” name and call it what it is? A device for communication, transmission, storage, entertainment. After all, you can also play MP3 melodies, eventually you will play movies and have access to television. So “phone” is more like yesterday, okay? They are also considering adding GPS capabilities for travel and tracking and using virtual keyboards that work on the rays of light you see and touch, without being real. There is nothing more technological than that. Except when they reduce everything to the size of a clock.
So what is the best cell phone in the world? I can describe it in one word: simple. How simple? Well, it only does one thing; make calls. It has a pushbutton keyboard, a loudspeaker and a receiver. Ideally, it would have a dial tone, but I know that is not possible on a cell phone. However, this phone would be practically unbreakable when dropped and it would be small enough to fit in purses and pockets. And it would be a real phone, not a camera, computer, music player, or PDA. The perfect phone would plug into any outlet for charging without a special cable or adapter. It comes in one color, black, and only has a standard ringtone or vibrate option.
Sure, people love options, but not this one. That’s because it is also free. What did I just say? Well, do you remember the old days when people got free phones with their AT&T Bell service? They make enough on cell service charges, so they should throw this basic phone at us for free. This phone is the exact opposite of where we are headed and perhaps deserves consideration for that reason. At the very least, give us this option. Make a phone that’s just a phone, please. So T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and Alltel: Are you listening? can you hear me now