That digital device you have in your pocket? you should call it a “mobile” (or “Handy” as the germans call it). But calling a “cellular phone” is ridiculous. Last month I spent 6 minutes of talking on the phone and 500mb of data, and I might be an extreme case but I assume I’m not the only one. Let me tell you why phones are obsolete.
First, they require an immediate response. Unlike texting of any form, to which you can reply whenever is convenient, phone call must be answered right now. Let’s say someone wants to give you an important message. you gotta answer that, otherwise you’ll miss it. True, you can have a voicemail box. but the original voice message is actually translate to a “you got mail” notification which will force you to actively connect to the voicemail service and listen to the message (hence, requiring one more step). True that with a simple data app we can reduce this step into a PTP (push-to-talk) voice message, but usually that’s not the case. and even so – it means harnessing new technology to support old infrastructure.
In that sense, text-messaging is great, as you can answer whenever you can or wish. No real pressure for immediate response. Plus, it’s much more easy and acceptable to reply while doing other things (like watching a movie) as listening is much more engaging than reading short texts).
Phones are spammer’s paradise. Unless you decide not to answer phones from undisclosed number- you’re bound to have annoying soliciting or harassing phone calls. Adding a caller ID was a necessary step to resolve that. First it just showed you the caller’s number and if you recognise it (because people back in the 80s used to remember and recognise 9 digits phone numbers, today why bother?) you could filter desired phone calls (but no real help with unidentified numbers). Of course, very quickly came the caller’s option to hide us number, giving the spammer the upper hand. Unidentified numbers issue can easily be resolved if instead of numbers the phone infrastructure would convert to meaningful string, like an email for example. and it would allow people to block calls from firstname.lastname@example.org
. but what about email@example.com
? should you answer a seemingly innocent yet completely random phone call? so it still seems we’re trying to keep a technology alive, while it really wants to die.
And lastly, phones encourage awkward smalltalk. It’s not a real face-to-face conversation to become a real small-talk but asking directly would be extremely unsociable. For example, let’s say you want to ask Berry from accounting if he plans to go to the company’s picnic (and if he does, whether he could give you a ride). so you can text him a single message: “Hey what’s up bro? are you going to the picnic? can I come with you?” and his answer would be a simple “sure thing!” and that would be the end of it. Text messages are far more concise. While if you go to Tim you would actually engage in a conversation when you’ll eventually get to ask “oh yeah, hey, are you going to the picnic?”. Phone calls are pretty similar, but much more annoying to handle as you don’t see the other person, whether he’s actually to busy or occupied to have this conversation with you right now.
I think that the interesting bit was that phone exists for merely 100 years and are you publicly only for about 50 years. cellular phones became popular only 20 years ago (that’s nothing compared the the length of time men has used pigeons to deliver news). Meaning to say, we managed for a very long period with the need to audio-only interaction, and I truly believe we outgrew to betters forms of communications (emojis and memes anyone?)
The decision of moving from cellular devices should come into affect with the packages the service providers should offer. Personally, I’d go with a package with little to no voice minutes but a large data plan. If need may be, I can always use skype or other voice-over-IP solution in order to have free conversation anyhow.
Less importantly it should with the hardware itself. not so much for its supported technologies rather than its branding – I would rather buy an Ipad with 4G capabilities than an iPhone – which are technically the same thing – but represents completely different mindsets.