Smartphones are the buzz these days – those super-phones that allow you install a gazillion native applications and let you run scores of them simultaneously. Devices running one of Blackberry, Symbian, Android, OS X, and Windows Mobile are being pushed at consumers from all sides. The pitch, more or less, is that you can do more on your phone.
While I appreciate the value of capable smartphones, it is still my position that unless you need the capabilities they offer, you do not need one.
I once read the interview of the CEO of a large ICT form in Nigeria on the pages of a technology magazine. He was the proud owner of a Nokia 9500 Symbian smartphone at the time. When asked what activities he carried out on the mobile beast, he listed – wait for it – phone calls and text messaging. When prodded further if he did anything else beyond those, he added that he takes pictures of his kids once in a while.
For the benefits of those who do not know what the 9500 is capable of (I still have my old unit), I ran both my personal and office mail on mine, accessed web server accounts on the built-in web browser when out of reach of my PC, used Yahoo Messenger, edited Word and PowerPoint documents with it, read PDF files, took pictures, sent and recived faxes, downloaded files from the internet, beamed files via infrared and bluetooth, and studied the Bible, as well as preached from it.
Oh, yes; I must add that I made a few phone calls and managed SMS on the venerable 9500.
While I do not expect that everyone – even most people – would use a capable device like the 9500 as intensive as I did, if all someone does is voice calls, SMS and picture taking, he does not need a smartphone.
As a matter of fact, even if someone adds basic email management to that list, he does not need a smartphone. I have a low-end Nokia 1680 (costs about N10, 000) which handles basic POP/IMAP email and attachments over a GPRS/EDGE connection. And it handles it well. If he needs a touch of class to go with that, how about a Nokia 8800 Gold Arte instead?
Do you really need a smartphone? Perhaps what you need is a cameraphone, or a music phone? If you think you need a smartphone, what are the activities that you need one for?