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8 Sep 2009 / Julie

smart phones: one year and dead

my new old phone

i’ve had a cell phone since around 1999 or 2000. Mom wouldn’t send me away to college without one. since then the “always connected / always available” bug has slowly infiltrated my being.

in 2007 (July 20th, to be exact) i took them plunge into smartphonedom buying a Palm Treo. i had a lot more going on in my life and i wanted one place to from which i could control/keep track of it all. it took me weeks to stop being enthralled with my new toy, perhaps i never really got over it. it could do so much!

but then the honeymoon ended. tech problems started. i couldn’t sync my work email with the phone. the calendar only went one way. the contacts didn’t go both ways. turns out there was a typo in the file name of the OS and all the upgrades and downloads that would have fixed my sync problems wouldn’t ever work because the system didn’t recognize the OS i was on. because of a one character typo.

so about a year from buying it, i got a new one. and my service provider (Verizon) gave me a new one (replacement) and didn’t even charge me the activation fee. how nice of them.

but about a year after that, every time i went into the memos area, the phone restarted. and then this weekend i had the  battery out for 2 days so i’d be forced to stop looking at the damn thing. (i had since gotten sucked into the “always connected” world so much it consumed me). when i put the battery back in, the phone did the reboot loop dance. “access powered… palm OS splash screen. access powered… palm OS splash screen”. rinse. repeat. back to the VZ store. yep, dead. data gone. it’s very zen, really.

“Have you seen a treo do this before?”
“Nope. But after about a year, they all start to go.”

one year. even with semi-proper care, one year is the best i can hope for? with a life line such as what the treo turned into for me whether i wanted it to or not, you’d think it would have a longer lifespan.

most people i know, including myself, are horrible at backing up their data. especially with their phones. even though it does “everything” it’s still just a phone and “wtf do i have to back that up for?” Verizon caught on to this and now will gladly charge you $ to automatically back up your information. My old old phone backed itself up, but only #s. but really, in that phone the #s were the only real thing of value it could manage to keep track of.

my gripe is this: my 1972 stereo is in primo condition. my 16 year old camera is doing just fine. my 4 year old computer is hanging in there alright. and my 3-5 year old clamshell phone has bailed me out yet again.

how is it that something so … simple?… and so important in a lot of people’s lives is so unreliable and worthless (and yet so pricey?) i’m not one for keeping old tech until it dies, i usually want the newest thing just cause… but i expect that i will want to change BEFORE something dies on me. i don’t appreciate things dying on me that are less than a few years old.

but, i’ve taken this newest death as my opportunity to get out. get out of the smartphone business and get back to basics. i’ve found that since my phone wouldn’t beep periodically when i had to pay attention to it, i was checking it incessantly making sure i didn’t miss anything. and then, of course, once it’s in your hands, you check everything. twitter. email. both of them. etc. smart phones suck your life. at least, they sucked mine.

so i’m back with one of my first loves, my old motorola clamshell.  strangely formatted text messages. no mobile web. no twitter app. no access to my google calendar. it’s a strange world, but one i think i’m going to like again.

hell, i might even start connecting with people f2f or over the *gasp* phone now that i can’t email, twitter, or facebook, them right from the palm of my hand. the only problem i can forsee is work email access when i’m out of the office. but i figure, if it’s an emergency, they’ll call.

and until the day i can control my devices instead of them controlling me, one little clamshell will be more than enough mobile technology for this girl.

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