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. 🙂

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