You see it everywhere – people on larger than normal smartphones, typing, talking and texting their way through the day. What once was took “bag phones,” faxes and America Online (AOL) now can be executed by a unified, single source – the handheld phone. The computer got miniaturized, the flip phone got slightly bigger, and the land line, well it’s gone for the most part.
The single device, more powerful than most of the spaceships that circled the globe throughout early space exploration, is now the one place for everything. Maybe the smartphone should change its name to the genius phone?
According to Wired magazine, “We’re at the point where anyone armed with a current model smartphone or tablet is able to handle almost all of their at-home – and even at-work –tasks without needing anything else.”
Furthermore, according to the Wired writer, “Thanks to increased processing power, better battery life, vastly improved networking speeds, and larger screen sizes on mobile devices, the shift away from the desktop is accelerating.”
But not everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. The website How-to Geek says, “Smartphones aren’t going to kill laptops or desktops any time soon. But they do appear to be taking a chunk out of tablet sales.” While numbers were strong initially, it appears the tablet is being supplanted by large-screen smartphones.
Of course, the smartphone has revolutionized media coverage, reporting and photography. Those cellphone pictures are really looking better all the time, and the video capture is getting citizen journalists airtime on the 6 p.m. news.
The dramatic impact of digital via the digits is no more apparent than at the dinner table or restaurant. In August 2015, Time magazine published results from a Pew Research Center study that showed “88 percent of respondents believe it’s generally not OK to use a cellphone during dinner. An even larger percentage, 94 percent, say cellphone use is inappropriate during meetings, while 95 percent say they shouldn’t be used at theaters and 96 percent say they shouldn’t be used during religious services.”
But while we say we’re put off by inappropriate cellphone use, many of us violate the rules every day. I believe, based upon my informal survey (meaning stopped at traffic lights), that 100 percent of people are texting while driving. I find this instant communication gratification need fascinating but also dangerous.
I am pleased to report, however, that the education of young people may be working. My 17-year-old daughter refuses to pick up the phone in the car. I better text her now to see how she’s doing.