Smartphones have gotten ridiculously expensive. In the last couple of years alone, premium handsets have nearly doubled in price to over $1000. It’s enough to make even the most loyal iPhone fans switch to better value Android phones or upgrade to older but cheaper models instead.
Two new smartphones released this summer are bucking the trend, however. My favorite is the $400 Google Pixel 3a (pictured right). Its camera is not only stunning, but the best of any price range (really!). It has a gorgeous OLED screen, a battery that lasts for days, and a headphone jack. My only quibble is it’s a tad tall and not waterproof.
If you want the fastest phone on the market with the nicest screen and an equally good 4k camera, the OnePlus 7 Pro (pictured left) is also fantastic. Although a little big for my pockets, it’s loaded with a nifty notchless screen and software features that outpace nicer Google or Samsung phones. In short, the OnePlus 7 Pro is basically $1000 phone for less than $700.
Granted, the pesky green text messages of both aren’t as reliable or as good as Apple’s best-in-class iMessage. But outside of that, both come highly recommended with unlimited free photo storage.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Constantly checking your wrist watch is less rude and less distracting than constantly checking your smartphone. It might even improve your life.
Or so says a report from Wired on why Apple chose to manufacture the forthcoming iWatch, which serves as a second, more accessible screen for your iPocket, I mean iPhone.
“Your phone is ruining your life,” writes David Pierce, who, like many others, ignorantly blames the object instead of the abuser. Rather than setting boundaries on his technology, Pierce and others like him egotistically search for reasons to be elsewhere in thought and suffer the consequence. Continue reading…
I don’t know if falling in love is more challenging today than it was before. But it can’t be easy with the constant allure, cover, and distraction of smartphones.
Case in point: I saw a guy macking on a girl recently—or at least trying to. He was obviously interested; his attention undivided. She was preoccupied with her phone, however. She occasionally rejoined his advances with peppered smiles and words, but she mostly focused her attention on the tarot card-sized device she cradled in hand and poked at with thumbs.
From a distance, I couldn’t tell if she was coping with embarrassment behind her phone, considering a counter-flirt, or not at all interested. If I had to guess, I’d bet on the latter because newly crushing or in love couples usually stay fixated on each other’s eyes. Of course, interested males are horrible at deciphering this universal truth — always have been, always will, with or without smartphones. But I know first-hand how complicating phones can be to loving relationships. Continue reading…
After six (sometimes) productive years, I abandoned the sinking ship that is BlackBerry last week. In it’s place, I upgraded to the “magical,” status-enhancing iPhone.
As early adopters discovered a few years ago, it’s more than a phone: it’s the greatest piece of personal technology ever invented. Phone, texter, navigator, iPod, mini TV, game console, digital assistant, e-reader, and tiny computer all in one. Not only did it serve as the inspiration for the more popular Android clone, the iPhone is the more organic and less painful version of touchscreen phones, i.e. not unlike what Macs often are to Windows machines.
Of course, like all smartphones, the iPhone can be a total drag on your analog life if you don’t set limits. (In my case, that means shunning a data plan, turning off all alerts except for voice calls, staying away from it as much as possible on nights and weekends, and only connecting to the internet when I need it, as opposed to the more common always-on, always wired, and always distracting “push” internet mode. More on that in my forthcoming book.)
But the iPhone gets a whole lot more right than it gets wrong. In fact, I count only three usability flaws on the device: Continue reading…
Using iOS is still less of a pain than using Android. That is, the form is still better.
But that doesn’t change the fact that the attached ad is incredibly effective in speaking to the majority of smartphone users who don’t appreciate, nor do they want to associate with, the millions of off-putting Apple fans parodied above.
In any case, wouldn’t it be great if phones could go back to being useful tools rather than modern day golden calves?
Assuming his biography well represents him, Steve Jobs was a jerk for much of his life. A work-a-holic with eating disorders, incredibly bratty, ruthless.
I’m sure a lot of devout followers will excuse his actions with “no one is perfect.” I prefer that justification, however, for people who are at least trying to improve their social skills with age, instead of sticking to their anti-social guns as Jobs did for much of his life.
Written by Chicken Little of the Digital Age
Technology is making us stupid.
Don’t believe me? Read this story about how Apple is now tracking the exact location of iPhone users and sharing it with advertisers.
Or this one documenting numerous Facebook security holes.
Or how have slowly made themselves more vulnerable while broadcasting there whereabouts on Twitter (NOTE TO BURGLARS: When I message that I’m away from home, don’t believe me).
Or the mother of all “You’re freakin’ crazy” behavior: The whole idea behind Foursquare (aka willingly telling the world your precise location so marketers and predators could potentially exploit you.)
I’m not saying the above mentioned technologies aren’t without their advantages. Or that we should shun the use of such technology.
But our intimate relationships with many (if not all) of these technologies have gone too far. As a result, our privacy has been compromised. In many ways, we’ve become our own oppressors. Obsessive sharing might even have consequences on our freedom.
The good news is that much of this can be reversed by hitting the power button or delete button. Of course, you need to know where you’ve posted personal information online, including photos. Delete the ones that no longer (or never did) have any utility.
But most of all, be wary of publishing anything online you wouldn’t broadcast on your front lawn (including your blog).
Now back to regularly scheduled TMI…
DISCLOSURE: This post was written by a protective husband and father. (D’oh! I did it again.)
Courtesy of Joey Reiman for Pink Magazine, published in 2005:
- Thou shalt not take the BlackBerry to any table with food on it or family around it. A BlackBerry is not a fruit, nor does it come from a tree.
- Thou shalt not use the BlackBerry as reading material in the event of insomnia. It will only worsen your situation.
- Thou shalt not BlackBerry in lieu of responding to a child’s request (e.g., “Wait a second, I’m reading something.”).
- Thou shalt not place the BlackBerry within distance of hearing its incessant beeps while at home. It is not a bird.
- Thou shalt not check BlackBerry as if it were your baby. It will not cry or stop breathing.
- Thou shalt not confuse number of e-mails with self-worth.
- Thou shalt do everything possible to misplace your BlackBerry on weekends.
- Thou shalt remember that a BlackBerry is not a body appendage. It is a device that belongs in your briefcase or on your desk, and not in social settings.
- Thou shalt refrain from bringing the BlackBerry to events involving family interaction. Extraneous dialogue with this contraption in lieu of real conversation suggests addiction.
- Thou shalt never, ever, ever bring the BlackBerry to bed.
Since canceling my data plan last year, I haven’t broken any of these. (Thanks, Josh)
I wrote on article on cell phone abuse, to be published on GigaOM, and was unable to use the following, which I thought was rather insightful:
“When cell phones were first introduced, they were expensive and obtrusive,” says Dr. Lisa Merlo, professor of psychology at the University of Florida. “As a result, the people who had them and used them did so for ‘important’ reasons. For example, physicians might have a cell phone while on-call. So, people excused the rudeness associated with talking on a cell phone because there was a legitimate reason for doing so. However, cell phones have become ubiquitous, and the rules have not changed to accommodate this.”
Unless they’ve fixed the faux keyboard, that is. Otherwise, 8GB + GPS + 3G + accelerometer + 2MP camera + iPod Video + iPhone + lengthy batter life for $199 with a two-year contract sounds really enticing.
In classic Apple form, the company seemingly wants you to exclusively buy their earbud headphones for use with their iPhone as opposed to any other headphones you may or may not want to use. Flickr user vrogy has the scoop and the pic:
“It’s very simple- the curvature and insetting of the iphone housing prevents anything but very small audio plugs… i.e. mac hardware. Classic hardware lock-in.”
In a statement to Smooth Harold, Apple CEO Steve Jobs rhetorically asked, “We’d be stupid not to exploit and cash in on our insanely loyal consumer base, right?”*
*Steve Jobs really didn’t say this, but I can’t imagine the thought process being much different.