I want my phone back…

Posted on : 21-09-2010 | By : jo.rose | In : General News

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Technology progress is a wonderful thing.  Indeed, it is what has kept me happily employed since the late 80’s and the rate of change is both startling and exciting.  I have lived through early(ish) mainframe days when computing had a “physicality” that made you feel like an engineer ( although I only used punch cards for scrap paper ! ), through distributed computing, the internet etc etc.. to today’s all pervasive connected world.  Each step change in technology has brought new challenges and extended the capabilities as IT for business and social enablement.

However, one event on Wednesday last week worried me.  In San Francisco Intel’s Chief Technology Officer, Justin Rattner, put sensors in his socks and discussed the future of devices that can sense what you are doing, how you live and even how you feel.  The applications of these “context-aware computing” devices is numerous from Ultra-Smart phones that react to your mood to televisions that can sense who is watching from the way that the remote is being held.  Rattner asked “How can we change the relationship so we think of these devices as assistants or even companions?”.

This is all great stuff and I’m starting to think that I was right and George Lucas actually was a visionary back in 1977.  But here’s my issue – I want my phone back…

 I never thought I would say that ( and I’m sure it’s not an age thing… ), it’s just that in recent years the usability, and more importantly quality, of a mobile phone as a verbal means of communication has suffered.

Unless you were a trader, it is likely that your first mobile phone wasn’t one of the first “shoulder” ones in 1985.  More likely you received your first mobile in the early 90’s, sometime on or around the launch of GSM.  I remember getting a Nokia around 1993 ( I think the 2110 ) which was very robust, had “soft keys” and a scroll and select UI.  Everything was also very intuitive. 

Like many others I was enticed by the 8110 “banana” phone after The Matrix, WAP phones, the Communicator etc… as technology developed.  However, there was one thing that they all had in common…they actually worked as a phone !

Now I have a Blackberry.  It’s brilliant as a work device for email and information access but falls well short on the phone side.  I know many others with iPhones ( not even the iPhone 4 ) and they say the same thing.

I’m all for convergence, but I hope that it won’t be at the sacrifice of quality.  The spoken word, whether in person or at distance, is still a much more efficient way of communication than email, text or instant messaging.

I must have a rummage through my “woman drawer” for that Nokia 2110…