I have had a number of cell phones since the mid 1990's, from a large "bag phone" issued by my employer for on call therapists to the compact little phone on the left in the picture. I bought this last phone in 2002 and lately the battery would only hold a charge for one call. When, I went to my contract provider to get a new battery, the very young man who waited on me stared at me in disbelief.
"They don't even make batteries for phones this old," he told me.
"Why would you want to get a new battery when you could have any phone here for *free*?"
He pointed to a number of small, flashy gadgets. I told him I was not interested in a camera phone but was told that they only sold camera phones. I then asked him just to pick out the best quality phone for me and to renew my contract. I walked out of the store with a flip phone/camera/camcorder/web browser the size of my palm. When I got home, I asked my daughter to read the manual and then teach me how to make a call and retrieve my voice mail messages.
"Mom! You got a razor!"
"No, I bought a phone, not a razor."
"Mooommm! Haven't you seen the commercials? A RAZR!"
In a few minutes she had snapped a number of photos and had little thumbnail prints beside each person in my address book. My background now is a picture of our dog. Each person who calls me has a distinctive ring, and I have a movie clip to watch. She and her sister tried out all the programmed songs and were dancing around to the music. And the instruction book remained sealed in a plastic bag.
This *phone* is definitely too cool for me.
I mentioned before that I was reading The World is Flat... by Thomas L. Friedman. He describes the future of cell phones in the chapter, Flattener #10.
"So young people in their business life use PCs in the office, but in their private time they base their lifestyles on a mobile phone. There is a growing movement to allow payment by mobile phone...Next to the cash register there will be a reader...and you just scan your phone and it becomes your credit card too.
We believe that the mobile phone will become the essential controller of a person's life...You will not be able to lead a life without a mobile phone and it will control things at home too."
Technology changes at an astounding rate. This cool phone will be obsolete very soon and they will stop making batteries for it as well. My five year old laptop computer is too slow to charge an iPod and is a dinosaur by today's standards.
I still don't know how to retrieve my voice mail from my new phone so I will have to read the manual. I received a number of calls today and was startled by the boisterous music coming out of my pocket. I answered the phone upside down on the first two calls.
Being cool is going to take some practice!