Monday, May 15, 2006

The Devolution of 'Cell Phones'

I accidentally deleted a very important voicemail tonight. I was deleting one completely redundant voicemail (don't get me started on redundant unnecessary 'call me back' messages,) and pressed '7' one too many times, and deleted a message I never got to listen to. It was from an important recruiter.

I called Cingular and asked them whether they had a service for 'presshappy' people like myself to 'undelete' a voicemail in case of an emergency, and was brutally told that once a message is erased it's irretrievable. I kindly asked him to escalate my suggestion of having this capability so that Cingular would separate itself from the boys.

Needless to say, this incident was entirely my fault. But it brought up another issue I've been wrestling with for the last few months and I thought to share:

Today's cell phone technology seems to take away from the fundamental functions and add resource-hog features we don't use on a daily basis. These features drain the battery life dry and qualifies the 'cell phone' to an entity equivalent to a high maintenance girlfriend. How about making a cell phone that retains its battery life as long as possible, can store perhaps 50 phone numbers, has the best signal that that kind of a phone can provide, has a super-fast snappy interface, can easily slip in and out from my pocket jeans without me having to stand up, and still works despite all the abuse a device gets from being carried around with you all day? How about a cell phone you can tap on thrice with the tip of your finger while it's in your pocket to shut it up while sitting in a lecture? Maybe I haven't done my research, but if you find something that fits all that, let me know. I will buy you a beer. I will then buy you another beer. I'm talking Guinness.

My behemoth of a Motorola cell phone can pull these these cute numbers:

  • play mp3s
  • interface via bluetooth with other devices
  • play movies
  • download ringtones, like green days' latest song
  • take 640*480 pictures, high quality vga pictures and send them to others
  • provide me capability to play poker with other people on some proprietary network, along with being able to download other j2me games.

Why did I get such a phone? Amazon gave me $160 cash money (ok it was a rebate) and a free activation plan. Websites like phonescoop and cnet also gave it a rating of 8/10 or better. Maybe I didn't check the right websites. Maybe I didn't spend the extra 6 hours looking for a practical phone.

When are these Telcos going to get it? Or is some potential startup company sitting on a gold mine?

One day, here's hoping that I will have a cell phone that doesn't decide to change its ring style to silent while it sits in my pocket, here's hoping one day we don't have to listen to 40 second prevoicemail messages before leaving a voicemail. Here's hoping we will be able to buy a practical 'cell phone,' and this middle-of-the-road phase will indeed phase away like a bad fart.


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