Why bother with a smartphone?

This post is respectfully dedicated to a friend of mine who passed away a few weeks ago. I had a lot in common with J. From music and instruments, to satellite TV, to electronics and sports… J will be sorely missed among our community, where he was extremely well known, and his passing left shockwaves not only in our little village, but also in various circles.

This week I decided to turn my musings elsewhere than music or bikes. I feel it is nonetheless a subject interesting enough to warrant a little discussion.

My main topic will be smartphones. Yes. That little device carried (with pride) everywhere we go, pretty much as indispensable as the wristwatch was, a very few short years ago. Remember wristwatches? Those little things you would wear on your … umm… wrist?

Except that while you could buy a wristwatch for a small amount of money and still have it give you the time accurately, decent smartphones today are anything but cheap. The smartphone, today, has become a personal icon.

The latest models and operating systems of smartphones are nothing if not astounding, and it is only fair to refer to them simply as miniature computers that also happen to have calling capabilities. Do not be misled by the ‘miniature’ description. Quad-Core processors and High-Def screens definitely fall into the ‘powerful’ side of computing power.

What I would like to ask is, however, very simple. We have smartphones. BUT! Do we have smartpeople? You know, the ones who use their phone beyond the simple act of calling, texting, and using Facebook?

Over two months I have asked fifty users why they have a smartphone, and more importantly, WHAT do they use it for? The users were split 50-50, guys and dolls, and something amazing, but hardly surprising, at least to me, is that out of these 25 girls, only one (yes 1!!!), answered that she used the phone for more than Texting, Facebook and YouTube… Twenty girls did not even know what the PlayStore or Appstore was. In this category, the favourite activities apart from the above, were picture taking (again, mostly not even set-up properly!), and listening to the radio (android users). Female iPhone users did not even know there were apps designed for internet-radio! Rather they grumbled about the iphone not having fm radio. FM… soon to die-out FM…

On the other hand, out of the 25 guys I asked, practically everyone uses his phone for a number of other reasons. Most popular of these were for music, videos, sports (Endomondo sprang up quite a bit), dropbox, blogging, note-taking, internet radio, and a host of other activities.

I am only asking this for a simple reason….WHY do girls buy smartphones?

The most popular answer? ‘It looks nice.’ …..

It. Looks. Nice… that is the reason why the greater majority of females bought a Samsung S3 or S4. The fact that it is a fully-fledged computer with keyboard and mouse input capabilities, and HDTV output did not even cross their mind. Six hundred Euros for texting and sending smudged pics to friends on Facebook warrants that expenditure, because it looks nice. I get it… or not.

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