On Smartphone Musings

A few days ago, while reading Slate, an thought popped in my head.

Why don’t I get a smartphone?

It was this article, on the MetroPCS Samsung Craft, which the writer for Slate called “the worst cell phone on Earth,” that made me think about it.

Maybe I should get a mobile phone.

I had a cell phone for several years. When I was a manager for EB Games, it was virtually a necessity. But then I left EB, and I left Raleigh, and I didn’t need a mobile anymore.

Naturally, I just assumed, invariably skint writer that I am, that a mobile phone would be out of my budget with plans and contracts. But then I realized that my car payment is done next month and I have tax refund money coming, giving me a little room to maneuver.

Reading the Slate article suggested something I hadn’t ever considered.

There are prepaid smartphone options that don’t require contacts.

I spent Saturday doing research; it was a mind-numbingly dreary day, I felt unwell, and there’s really nothing better to do at a time like that than to research mobile phones.

Here’s what I’m currently thinking, though I’ve not made any decision or spent any money, so I haven’t committed to anything yet.

I like Virgin Mobile‘s plans — twenty-five dollars a month for unlimited data and five hours of voice time, or forty dollars for the unlimited data and twenty hours of voice time. That’s a really nice price; five years ago, my voice/data plan with AT&T Wireless typically ran close to eighty dollars a month.

They offer two Android phones that have a feature set I find compelling — the LG Optimus V and the Samsung Intercept. The Optimus has a slightly slower processor, but it also runs Android 2.2 versus 2.1 on the Intercept. Both have similar camera functionality, both take the same MicroSD memory cards. The Intercept has a slide-out keyboard. The Optimus is a little cheaper. I’ve looked at reviews for both phones, and the Optimus seems to score out better as a phone and it seems, in spite of the slower processor, to run slightly faster.

I don’t know. I haven’t decided yet. I do like the idea of having something handy I can take digital photos with (no, I don’t have a digital camera), and these could double as portable mp3 players (no, I’ve never joined the iPod crowd), and a mobile would be a handy all-in-one device. That is a point of consideration. These phones have all the features I want, and, when it comes down to it, I really do need a mobile phone, especially in the event of a train wreck during the morning commute or an asteroid strike on the office building.

It’s weird, the thought of having a mobile phone has made me happy. In the back of my mind, I’m saying, “It’s just a thing. Why should a thing make me feel happy?” This thought, actually, has bothered me since Saturday, when I discovered that there are versions of NetHack, Angband, and Opera for the Android operating system. (But no FreeCiv yet.)

I went for a walk on my lunch break and, left along with my thoughts on a cold and blustery day, I came around to this idea — a mobile phone represents a part of my life that feel like I gave up four years ago, when it didn’t make sense to have a cell phone anymore. A smartphone wouldn’t be just a thing but a symbol of independence, and perhaps it’s that unconscious thought about what a mobile represents that made me happy.

Or, it could just be that, by doing research on Saturday, I was learning things I didn’t know, and that’s always good for happiness. 😉

No, there I go, trying to downplay my epiphany.

At the very least, I’m entertaining the idea of buying a smartphone. I’ve done nothing hasty as yet; we’ll see what the weekend brings.

Maybe, come Farpoint, I’ll have a gadget to play with. 🙂

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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