My cell phone is on its last legs. I have to insert the phone very carefully into the charger now, or else it won’t charge up. For the nine (or so) years I’ve used a cell phone I haven’t upgraded as soon as my provider would allow me to.
I did feel a little bit of urgency to upgrade to some kind of smartphone (either an iPhone or an Android) when I heard that my carrier soon was going to do away with unlimited data packages. Had I ordered yesterday, I still could have gotten an unlimited data package for $30 per month. Now, I’m only offered capped data packages (although these packages by themselves are cheaper than $30/month). Many of the cooler phones require some kind of data package.
After thinking things through, and bouncing ideas off my wife, I decided that I wouldn’t get a phone (smartphone or otherwise) that required a data plan. I’ll probably get one that makes texting easier, but that’s it. The capped plans weren’t the real reasons:
- A smartphone would be an expensive toy that I couldn’t use all the time. My place of work doesn’t allow camera phones, so there goes about a third of my time that I can’t even use the thing. But let’s say I forget about this, since this will be true of almost any phone I get. There’s the purchase of the phone ($99 and up) plus the data package (at least $15/month) plus the cost of any apps I decide to get. It’s immensely expensive.
- I can live without one now, but if I get one, I won’t be able to live without it. I managed to get by for a long time — almost until I was married — without a cell phone. The only times it would have been useful to have one prior to that, I just waited until an officer stopped by to help me call a tow truck. It was only after I got married that I got one (on the insistence of my wife, mostly for safety reasons). But now, I really do need the stupid thing; because I’ve gone for such a long time with it, I’d find it very hard to give it up voluntarily. I’m confident the same thing would happen if I got a smartphone. I’d come to rely on it, and then it’s all downhill from there.
- The real cost of a smartphone lies in the time spent fiddling with it. I will admit, I’d love to have a smartphone. It would be really cool. It would be so cool, I’d spend a whole lot of time playing with it. The time I’d spend with it would encroach on other things, and I doubt that I could recover the time lost playing with the phone in increased productivity. I can see myself, frankly, downloading a bunch of games. Basically, the phone would be a giant time sink. There are far more profitable things to do with my time.
That’s my smartphone story, and for now, I’m sticking to it.