My Phone Is Too Complicated, But I Love It

from the is-this-thing-on? dept

It’s been interesting watching the Luddite reponse to mobile phones evolve. When cell phones were first becoming popular, it was “why would I want that?” But as they’ve become more pervasive, even the Luddites have bought in — but now say they want “just a phone”, and not handsets with additional features like cameras and color screens and MP3 players. A new study would appear to validate these feelings, saying most people don’t use these features. But another writeup of the same survey emphasizes that
despite this, people are more satisfied with their phones than they were a year ago. The two positions might seem to be at odds, though some manufacturers have made a point of improving the usability of their handsets to make them simpler to operate, while some operators have introduced stripped-down models typically aimed at elderly users. But, like earlier data that could appear to indicate customers getting happier with the service they receive from their carrier, it’s hard to know if devices have gotten better and more usable, or if people are simply learning to adapt.


Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “My Phone Is Too Complicated, But I Love It”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
44 Comments
William C Bonner (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: cameraphone

The reason I want a cameraphone is that I carry my phone with me everywhere, and I only carry the camera some of the time. The substandard camera that I have is a million times better than the camera that I have at home.

I transfer the pictures from my phone to my PC via bluetooth when I have time to power up my laptop.

I just got my first camera phone in January of this year, and I agree that the phone is much less useful than I had hoped, primarily because of it’s low quality and slow ability to snap a picture. (I got the RAZR)

I still like having the feature. Are we on generation 2 of cameraphones yet? If so, what generation is it going to be before they are acceptable?

KL says:

Re: Re: Paying extra monthly charge for camera pho

I think he/she is talking about a plan so that you can email pictures, etc. I have a camera phone & it takes pretty good pictures best I can tell looking at them on the phone. (my phone is a LG VX6100 model I got in February ’06)

I just got a data USB cable today & thought I could download the pictures off my phone to my PC so I’ll have more storage space on the phone but haven’t figured out yet how to do it.

Read somewhere that a phone has to be “unlocked”. Anybody know about this?

Dezzie_boy says:

Phones

People do not need these features… living on todays capitalist world, everyone who wants to listen to music buys an mp3 player better than any phone can offer, and anyone who wants to take pictures buys a digital camera with millions more pixels and more room, in essence, a phone needs to do two things, send calls and recieve calls. That is it, unless you count text messaging. The only reason people buy all of these new phones with innumberable gadgets is to show off and to have a phone which can take pictures etc, not that it will be used. It is a waste of money and is fuelling the consumer society we live in today.

NovaScotian says:

As one of the “elderly” referred to (at 69), I’ll testify that while I’m far from a Luddite (I have a dual-core G5 Mac, and a Thinkpad PC and know how to use both, write software for the Mac), I nonetheless want no more than a cell phone with very good reception over the broadest range of countries with a really useful and usable phonebook. Nothing more. I own a mini digital camera, and prefer to listen to iTunes on a good set of speakers on my Mac. I prefer to use my laptop for email and browsing, not the micro screen on a phone and if I did want to do a lot of text messaging I’d buy a Blackberry. All combo devices compromise the performance of most of the features to get them all in. I prefer devices that focus on one thing and do it really well.

KLL says:

Re: multi-tasking devices

I agree with you totally on using different devices for what they were meant to be used for but it is nice to have the camera feature on the phone in case an unexpected “Kodak” moment should happen. Because, if you are like me, you do have your cell phone on you all the time but not the camera.

I don’t carry the plan to be able to email pictures nor do I pay extra for text messaging. My eyes will not let me see the screen well enough to read the messages nor will my fat fingers navigate those tiny keys on the phone (hard enough to program in the names & phone numbers for my contact list!!).

Now if I can just figure out how to get those darn pictures off my camera & onto my PC!

Jamie says:

Pleased with my phone

I am by no means a Luddite. I work as a programmer, have an MP3 player, a digital camera, and several computers at home. But my phone is used for just its primary purpose. A phone. Sure it has all kinds of “cool” features, but the truth is I don’t use any of them. All of my other devices can do those things better than the phone, and I really only want my phone to be a phone.

That said, my current phone is a lot nicer and easier to use than the previous phone I had. The interface emphasizes the main features I use, the phonebook and the telephone service. So while I really don’t want a lot of extra features, I am more satisfied with my current phone than I was with the last one. The only thing i would like is for it to be smaller.

Justin (user link) says:

Crazy people

I have the LG 9800 (aka The V) I use everything from the Bluetooth to the QWERTY. I have it read my text messages and e-mails to me while on the road, I surf the web to make sure my flight is on time or to check up on the Tigers/Pistons/Wings/Lions scores. I’m a big fan on not having to carry my laptop everywhere just to check up on little things.

Soon I’ll figure out how to let my iQue M5 get it’s internet connection through the 9800 so I can Remote Desktop into my servers and fix them without having to boot into my laptop while on the road.

One small-ish device…. that’s all I want.

Kevin says:

Girls Love It

Who thought to put a little tiny lo-res camera on a phone? They got every girls attention when they did. It was a good money-making move. As personal communcation devices go, this is an understandably implemented feature; with more to come. Eventually phones will control your TV, vehicle, and wallet. I’ll let them perfect them first. Until then, I’ll use my RFID sub-dermal implants. Do you think they’ll make a sub-dermal version of these all-in-one devices in 2025? And how much longer will we be dialing numbers?

Alpharocker (user link) says:

Sony Ericsson s710a

Agreed, I dont own a digital camera. I have a film camera, and a “flatbed” (hp scanjet 4670) scanner. I also have a Sony Ericsson s710a which has a 1.3 MP camera, and an mp3 player. A note system, as well as a phonebook and games.

I use the camera quite often, and it is very nice to have the convenience of always having a camera close at hand, not having to carry my SLR everywhere I go. If I want a great picture, Im certainly not going to use one of those P.O.S. point and shoot compact digital cameras. If I want a picture of my dog swimming in the pond, I use my cameraphone.

I use public transportation, so having a note system and some games to play at my convenience are helpful, if for some reason I have to wait an hour for a train. One could certainly argue I should be carrying a notepad, or PDA and a DS with me everywhere I go, but I’d much rather have my compact and relatively inexpensive device (compared to the combined price of all the listed devices).

So Dezzie_boy, you can see, clearly, people do use those features and your broad generalization is now proven to be ridiculous. You also fail to explain why the “consumer society we live in today” is something that is problematic.

Alpharocker (user link) says:

Sony Ericsson s710a

Agreed, I dont own a digital camera. I have a film camera, and a “flatbed” (hp scanjet 4670) scanner. I also have a Sony Ericsson s710a which has a 1.3 MP camera, and an mp3 player. A note system, as well as a phonebook and games.

I use the camera quite often, and it is very nice to have the convenience of always having a camera close at hand, not having to carry my SLR everywhere I go. If I want a great picture, Im certainly not going to use one of those P.O.S. point and shoot compact digital cameras. If I want a picture of my dog swimming in the pond, I use my cameraphone.

I use public transportation, so having a note system and some games to play at my convenience are helpful, if for some reason I have to wait an hour for a train. One could certainly argue I should be carrying a notepad, or PDA and a DS with me everywhere I go, but I’d much rather have my compact and relatively inexpensive device (compared to the combined price of all the listed devices).

So Dezzie_boy, you can see, clearly, people do use those features and your broad generalization is now proven to be ridiculous. You also fail to explain why the “consumer society we live in today” is something that is problematic.

confused says:

as a consumer

The phone industry in America is doing a good job of confusing people with choices that are not good enough for anything.

I want a 5 megapixel camera phone that has a 6 gig flash memory with mp3 player and a standard 3.5mm audio jack. what do we get? 1.3mega pixel camera with transflash slot. and no im not moving to asia or europe for a phone. bring that stuff here YESTERDAY.

Tyshaun says:

Re: as a consumer

The phone industry in America is doing a good job of confusing people with choices that are not good enough for anything.

I want a 5 megapixel camera phone that has a 6 gig flash memory with mp3 player and a standard 3.5mm audio jack. what do we get? 1.3mega pixel camera with transflash slot. and no im not moving to asia or europe for a phone. bring that stuff here YESTERDAY.

I agree. I have a cameraphone,which I never use, primarily because the quality of the pictures is horrible. It really wouldn’t take much to make the phones truly useful in the ways mentioned above. My personal pet peeve is that with a lot of phones you have to buy special equipment to interact with your computer.

Hong says:

WM smartphone

I have a Windows Mobile Smartphone and love it. I use it for all my PDA functions and it works really well. What I really don’t need is a full blown PDA. All I use it for is to sync Contact information, appointments, and the occasional task. My phone works great for this. Plus it has the ability to play the occassional mp3 (as my iPods were stolen, this has held me over for the time being) and ebook.

No I may not

    need

these things, but I certainly do use them.

Camera phones ROCK says:

My camera phone saved me tons of cash

I was recently involved in a car accident with a few other drivers. After the accident, the driver technically at fault began to spout accusations and threatened law suits. I quickly took out my cell phone and instead of calling the police (or a lawyer) I began snapping photos of the resting places and damage of each car. Those photos were used in court and ended up saving me points on my license and a butt load of money. Cell phones shouldnt BE your life, but with the right tools on them they just might make it a bit better

Tim (profile) says:

My cellphone has full PDA functionality. I sync my outlook calendar with the phone so when I have a new meeting or appointment from a call I just add the details in my phone and then sych to my machine. Life is easier.

I get to quickly check the emails I have online and even download my voicemails to wav file (ok that is a functionality from my provider as opposed to the phone itself) and I can listen to them again quite easily without having to press 2 2 2 2 to repeat it 5 times if the message isn’t clear.

I also use the browser to check online and book cinema tickets quickly and easily and to top it all off I sync my cellphone to my laptop via BT and then use the 3G features to get a semi decentish broadbandish connection when I’m on the go and I would like to be on the internet proper.

Like other people have said I don’t carry my dSLR around with me all the time and it’s a simple point and click situation to take a couple of quick and memorable snapshots.

Like someone else said about using public transportation a lot, I do too and being able to listen to my music and play some games on it means I don’t need to have my mp3 player and PSP/DS on me. Instead I carry one phone and my laptop.

So to Dezzie_boy and Joe Snuffy, are any of those features useful or do they help me keep in contact with people? I’d say yes. What’s really funny is you use the term “capitalist world” in what I would say to be a negative manner and then suggest that we go out and spend even more money. S’great.

|33173|3|_||3 says:

PRoblems with camera phones

I know of one Aus. Government organization where they had to buy extra, old phones so they could get ones which did not have cameras in them, or other “features” which could not be brought onto thier sites.

Nokia, I think, had a primitive, B&W phone with no camera or anything like that that sold very well, but once it was withdrawn from sale because it was “obsolete”, one distributor started selling second-hand nad liquidated phones of that type because t was his most popular type. (this was in a New Scientist Feedback item, I will look for the date and a link later)

Nate says:

I hate the damn camera on my Sony Ericsson flip phone. There’s a button on the outside that activates it and I’m always opening it up to find that my phone turned into a camera. Then I have to hit various buttons to turn the damn thing back into a phone so I can make a call.

There’s also a button on the outside of the phone that sends a call to voice mail. I can’t begin to tell you how many calls I’ve missed by accidentally hitting that button when reaching for the phone.

The numerous other Motorola, Siemens and Nokia phones I had were just as bad.

I’m no Luddite. My phone has to have Bluetooth, GPRS/EDGE, be quad-band, include Java, etc. But it also has to be usable as an f-ing phone and very few phones I’ve owned are really good at that core function.

So I understand why consumers are fed up with all the features. Nobody dislikes features; what they hate is the bad user interface that results from cramming the kitchen sink into a phone.

Moneyguy says:

Toys

It’s interesting to read the comments and I’m amazed at the devotion some people have for their toys, er …phones.

Let’s face it. Very few of us would die if we didn’t have our phone/camera/pda/blackberry, etc. around. A cell phone is a convenience and nothing more. A camera phone is a convenience on top of another convenience.
(This is coming from a guy who actually added a phone to Laslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to justify buying a cool phone. Water, food, shelter, transportation and communication. The transportation was my justification for buying a Lexus … and I’m only half-joking.)

I use my phone constantly but it wouldn’t hurt my income stream if I had to give up my cell phone. I’d just have to spend more time at the office. It’s a convenience. Don’t get me wrong, I like having a cell phone. It makes my life easier to call while I’m in the car (hands free of course), but I never use a tenth of the stuff my phone has.

I have a new LG phone with a camera – it was the free one I got when I renegotiated my contract. I hate the phone because some genius at LG decided the camera needed to be easier to access than the phone book and I can’t reprogram it. I had the latest and greatest from two years ago, but I lost it. Let’s face it – when you lose your phone you’re a little upset at losing the phone but you’re really P.O.’d at losing all your numbers.

I’ve been steadily climbing back down the cool factor ladder. And amazingly enough, my life is actually less stressful. I just want a phone that has good reception, an easy to use phone book (are you listening Motorola?), and a long battery life. The extra cool stuff? Never used it.

One of these days they’re going to have phones built for you like Dell builds your computer. I wonder how many people will choose all the extra crap?

Matthew says:

You use your phone for what?

Firstly, if you use you cell phone’s camera as your primary digital camera, you’re an idiot. Secondly, the survey indicated people were more satisfied with their phones. Most of the morons in this world would equate that with the reliability of their service. Most people’s dissatisfaction with their phones derives from disconnected calls or a lack of service. Had the phone I was carrying not crapped out immediately after Katrina destroyed (or incapacitated) all the cell towers in my area, I would still be using it today. Polyphonic tones, monochromatic screen, and all…

Andrew Pollack (profile) says:

A phone must be a phone.

I’m a true alpha geek. I build my own electronics, write my own software, have my own phone system via asterisk on linux. An alpha geek.

I’m also a firefighter.

The combination makes for a problem. All the “cool” phones with PDA’s and so on don’t fare well at all when you skitter them across the concrete floor of the bay where my Engine sits as I swap street shoes for boots and bunker pants.

I’ve learned to pick a good phone by picking one that is a good PHONE. The Motorola E815 gets great reception and sounds good to people you talk to and they to you. I can do email with a pop3 client add on, and it even does bluetooth (esp. once you hack the firmware and uncripple it).

I paid $50 for it, and someone shoot me if I ever PAY for wallpaper or a f’**** ring tone!

btw: taking pictures or playing mp3’s doesn’t use airtime because it has a transflash card. 1/2 gig of data on a card the size of my thumbnail and it works like a usb drive. Sweet.

MelvinSchlubman says:

phones are crappy cameras

I routinely use my cell phone for only about 100 minutes a month (and it also serves in place of a land line). I carry it when I go out, but typically not on my person — left at my desk at work and left in the car when around town. I carry my 5mp Canon camera everywhere. I don’t want to phone that tries to be 5 other things and be mediocre at all of them (but hopefully not at making calls). If the MP were substantially better then I’d carry it in some circumstances instead of the pocket size Canon. I definitely don’t use the puny screens and keybords for using organizer functions and such. It’s not an age/eyesite/dexterity thing. They’re just awkwardly small. If they could create a much bigger screen (like some recent cameras) and make use of that screen for both input and output then it may be a viable option for non-phone features.

Topher3105 (profile) says:

not a luddite

But I still don’t see the point of a whiz bang phone that does everything under the sun except offer good quality voice calling.

Its not to say that there can’t be devices that do it all, but why is it that the only phones you can buy these days have a useless camera option?

I have an iPod, so what do I want with a phone that can play video and music?

I have a good quality digital camera that takes amazing pictures, why do I need a poor quality camera on my phone?

We are entering an era of technological redundancy. You already own 12 devices that do the following, play video, play digital music, take pictures, display pictures, do text messaging, make phone calls, store video, play games, schedule your life and browses the internet. Does your phone need to do all this TOO?

The problem is, once you start getting phones that do little more then just voice communications, maybe a text page or something, then they are cheap plastic Fisher Price looking models.

Why people are satisfied with their all-in-wonder phone is because typically the flagship phones from Motorola, Nokia, et al. are thin and highly stylized devices. They are status icons. Sure, you will never watch television or take video with the thing, nor will you bother to download games, music, or other data content on it, nor are you heavy into text messaging or wireless internet access, but damn, that phone looks hot!

I double Motorola will ever cater a Razor to people that only want a cell phone to make phone calls.

It would be nice if we can truly create an all in one device for voice, text, games, video, music, photos, etc, but the simple fact is, I have a PSP, I have a DS, I have an iPod, I have a notebook, I have a desktop, I have a PVR, I have a digital camera, I have countless other devices that have all the SAME FEATURES. So, I don’t NEED these features in a Cell phone.

Make me the worlds thinnest cell phone out of metal that looks good, has weeks of battery life, that only makes GOOD QUALITY phone calls, and I will buy it. Just don’t give me those thick plastic garish looking bricks for $0 with 4 years service as a basic featureless phone.

Josh says:

I’m as far from a Luddite as possible, between work, gaming, entertainment, etc, I spend 10-16 hours a day in front of a computer. I work doing tech support. I own an awesome digital camera. I listen to my iPod daily. I’m only 26, but I agree with the “elderly” who want simpler phones but for an entirely different reason. Quite simply, the more useless bloat that’s put on a phone, the more things that can go wrong and cause the entire device to stop working. The camera part of the phone breaks – dead phone. Something happens to the mp3 decoder chip – phone doesn’t boot. I think its insane you need to actually have a multi-use OS to boot a phone in the first place. And just one more little thing – whether you’re using the mp3 player or camera on your phone or not, anyone with even basic electronic knowledge knows that those extra chips on the board require power – using more of your battery than would be necessary without ’em. I don’t want or need bloat. Same with everything else – I don’t need Microsoft Word or OpenOffice – Notepad and WordPad are plenty for me. I’d rather carry around 4 devices that work excellently all the time than 1 device that does 4 things “acceptably” part of the time. Other people want a multi-use device – fine with me – but give the rest of us the option.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m agreeing Josh on this one. People are hooked on the notion of having the coolest, hippest, and latest technology that they dont even realize they are making there own lives too complicated. I dont want want a mediocore cell phone that can barely hold 64mb of music (thats usually more hassel than its worth to put on the phone) and have to take the damn thing apart to get to the memory stick if you need to change it. I dont want a mediocore cell phone that takes a low quality picture that you have to pay an extra monthy fee just to use. I dont want a mediocore cell phone that can hold 44444x(10^6) contacts, has fancy (but usually ugly) backgrounds, and a calculator that can answer that riddle about the trains leaving NY and California at 50mph and 60mph. I just want a phone that has good reception. Why is that providers are improving everything about cell phones except coverage area and signal strength?

Status Symbol Seeker says:

#34, The LG V, is probably the best all in one phone to come to the states. You have rather high quality images from the camera, the memory stick easily pops out the side of the phone. Keypad lock automatically goes on so you don’t have to worry about cameras being turned on or people being dialed accidentally. I can watch the Daily Show on my ride home from work. Check my email on my ride home, as well as have crystal clear conversations. Bluetooth, i mean really the features are endless, and I use just about every one of them. All while still making phone calls. Its just a personality thing, some people like the ability to multi task on the road, others prefer simplicity.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...