Not Just a Phone

I remember my first cell phone, a small Nokia candy bar phone. It had a small screen and bland ringtones. Back then, a cell phone was just a phone. It made calls – that was its sole purpose. But now, a relatively short time later, my phone is no longer just a phone. It is a device, making calls is just one minor task in its array of talents. My current phone reminds me of important dates, serves as my internet browser, my inbox for three personal emails, it can pinpoint itself anywhere on earth within a few meters, can give me directions, points out places of interests nearby and keeps me connected to anyone I choose. My iPod just sits in a pocket in my commuting bag most of the time because it is so much easier to get my podcasts wirelessly as I charge my phone each night. I bypass my computer and iTunes completely. Each morning, as I walk to the train, I scroll through my new listening options. When I don’t want to listen to a podcast, there is streaming public radio updated each hour or any mix of songs I can think of available free through Pandora. I also don’t need to bring a camera with me anywhere – when I want a picture, I snap a decent photo with my phone and can upload or email it to any number of sites within seconds, available for consumption. We take all of this for granted today, but these are fundamental changes compared to just a few years ago.

To be honest (and not to sound addicted), but I don’t know what I would do without my phone. At home, it usually sits on the fireplace mantle, but it is always there when I need it. The way I interact with others and access information has vitally changed due to Internet, smartphones and the thousands of apps available wirelessly. It is a tremendous shift from even five years ago. So I ask again, what would I do without my phone? I currently have no idea, although much of my life was lived without one. But it’s clear that a phone will never be just a phone again.

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