I have been using a smartphone everyday for the last 3-4 years now. I started out with the iPhone 3G, and then ‘graduated’ to the iPhone 3GS. Since then, I’ve practically used my smartphone every day for as long as I can recall. Only on 2 occasions have I actually been without my iPhone, and that didn’t last longer than a few hours (when I accidentally cracked the screen and rushed it to the ER).
I honestly cannot fully recall what life felt like before I started using my device. Don’t get me wrong, I also have a cheap ‘analog’ phone just in case of an emergency, but most times, I don’t even know where it is.
Recently, something weird happened that got me thinking… I asked myself, How long can I survive without my smartphone? As if the ‘universe’ was listening, I accidentally misplaced my phone at a friend’s place yesterday! It was torture! I got to work and suddenly, everyone around me was holding their Blackberries, HTC phones, Samsung devices, pretty Nokia phones and they were all smiling.
I was jealous! My hand started feeling a little numb, with tiny shakes here and there. I was instantly unable to concentrate on an idea for more than 5 minutes without unconsciously checking my pockets whether my device had finally ‘manifested’ and found its way home.
Suddenly, I heard the strange sound of a phone ringing near me, and I almost told the lady next to me that her phone was ringing until I noticed it was my ‘cheap’ emergency phone. Honestly, the phone saved my life. It turns out that the speakers are even louder than my iPhone’s, with possibly better reception.
Every call was crisp and clear and the battery seemed to never ‘die’. It even had this super-bright flashlight that helped me set a patient’s IV line in record time! Suddenly life seemed a bit easier, and cheaper. I wasn’t connected to the internet, and I felt like I was back in 2001 when I got my first Siemens C60…
Ok, I’m not going to deceive you. I struggled for most of the day without my device and ‘hugged’ my touchscreen sweetheart when I finally got her later in the day. But that doesn’t mean good old texting doesn’t cut it anymore.
It was bliss not hearing notification after notification of some friend request, or Twitter mention, or breaking news on my CNN app. I didn’t have to bother about plugging in to a light source, and nobody sent any IMs.
Besides the withdrawal symptoms, I was at peace. Sadly though, I couldn’t check my mail, my girlfriend was furious because I didn’t reply all her IMs, I couldn’t get my draft written in time, and I had 16 Wall Posts, 5 Mentions on Twitter, as well as 22 missed calls waiting for me later.
How long can you survive without your smartphone before you start having withdrawal symptoms? For me, I’d say 6 hours, and that’s pushing it. Seriously.