The Unreasonable Stance: Only Luddites Don't Have Smartphones

It’s Smartphones Now week here at CrunchGear, and as you can tell there’s a lot to know and a lot to gain from them. In fact, you could say with some conviction that anyone who is not using a smartphone at this point is either cheap, foolish, or a completely technophobic luddite. I kind of admire the stand you’re taking, guys, but it’s time to acknowledge that you’re fighting the future, and not the way Mulder and Scully did in the X-Files movie. This is a statement of fact: Everybody needs a smartphone, and if you don’t, you’re doing something wrong.

Smartphones are like custom Nikes in a world of 10-peso tourist-shop flip-flops. I can’t think of a reason to pick the flip-flops unless you’re going swimming, and that doesn’t even make sense for the purposes of this metaphor. The point is that smartphones do everything regular phones do, but better, faster, and harder. And entirely separate from that fact, they also do things regular phones don’t even dream of. But Let’s at least be fair and look at the reasons why you might not have a smartphone.

Can’t afford it? Well, you pay $60/mo. for your 1000 minutes and unlimited texts, and you probably paid $50-100 for a relatively nice phone, a RAZR or something no doubt. Well, if you check out our Smartphones Now features, you’ll find you can get a Palm Centro for $100 and a plan with Sprint for about $80.

An extra $20 a month is not going to break the bank, fools. Admit it, you’re being cheap. Next time you take a girl out on a date, cook her dinner instead – there, you saved that $20, plus she thinks you’re the man. Ladies, that works for you too. The cost is negligible, and I won’t accept it as an excuse.

You say you don’t need it? Please, I think I know what you need. What does your phone do, call people? Send messages that you have to type out with the number keys? Wow, welcome to the year 2002! Seriously, let’s take a look at what’s on offer here:

Service Your phone Smartphone
Calls people Yes Yes
Sends messages Using number keys Using QWERTY
Web Browser None, or crippled Full HTML, native or Opera
Cool 3rd party apps Not likely Tons
GPS No chance Free and built-in
Media Player Cheesy, crippled if even present Full-on
Use as laptop modem Please Costs an extra $15 but yeah
Other stuff There is no other stuff List goes on forever

It’s almost 2008, and when your phone can have most of the useful capabilities of a laptop and for a fraction of the price, to choose not to use a smartphone would be most illogical.

brick.jpgBuying a regular phone is like investing in brontosaurus futures. You might as well get a rotary phone for all the use you’re going to get out of a standard flip-phone. My phone can practically run Crysis, and they’re still trying to get Tetris working properly on yours. You could be carrying Wikipedia, Google Maps, 20 games, Myspace, your work and home email, and so on around with you, in a package just a little bigger than your current phone. My list of apps is probably longer than your actual phone. And why not? None of these features are extraneous, none are unnecessary – all are essential for everyday use anywhere other than the farm. Furthermore, the almost excessively usable UIs in such mobile OSes as Windows Mobile 5 and Symbian make navigating all this rich content as easy as taking candy from a sleeping baby. If you don’t have a smartphone, or don’t at the very least want one by now, the only explanation is that you’re an anachronism, a luddite grubbing around at the bottom of the technological latter for fear of being too awesome.

asus-mercedes-benz-p526-models.JPGThe whole world is moving to smartphones. They’re not just for business guys any more – there’s far more to them than just checking your office email. In Japan they’re already on a next-gen network, doing two-way video chat and buying pop with their mobiles – and this comes standard. Of course, we don’t have that functionality in the USA or too many other places yet – and why do you think that is? Because of people like you, pouring money into an archaic system that’s nothing more than a telecom scam to keep their old network in place. So not only is it cost-effective and practical to get a smartphone, it’s also a moral imperative.

It’s been shown that people using smartphones are rated as more attractive by the opposite sex and more intimidating by rivals. This comes as no surprise, since a smartphone is a statement of competence and capability. Once merely the sign of a pompous showoff trying to impress everyone else in the Starbucks line, now they are a necessity and a gift to humanity. So I say this to you: get a smartphone, or at least make a show of trying, or risk being rightly labeled as a bumbling technophobe and social failure.

Unreasonable Stance is a column in which one CrunchGear writer tries to argue for the other, not usually accepted, side. Sometimes it’s satire, sometimes it’s trolling, sometimes it’s gibberish. Most importantly, however, it is an attempt to see a technical issue or product from another perspective, something we rarely do in our compartmentalized, partisan world.