But it wasn’t about the money. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking this guy is insane because he will do anything to get a deal – yet getting rid of his smartphone wasn’t about the money? Well… it wasn’t.
I’ve been a fan of technology for as long as I can remember. When I was in college, I used to read Engadget incessantly. Like, always. I wanted to know what new tech was coming out, and I wanted to try every single iteration of the newest gadgets. The funny thing was, I did all this ogling of the iPod Touch on my MacBook before purchasing one. Then, I browsed Engadget on my iPod Touch… to look at the new MacBooks to be released.
I liked the time when the promise of future technology was greater than the current wares. That has shifted, though, as now nearly everyone has an iPhone. No one is excited for the next great Nokia N-Series phone with a Carl Zeiss lens; no one is eagerly awaiting the next Sony Ericsson phone with the PS3-like UI that plays MP3s (wow!) and lots of them; no one is on the edge of their seats for the next thinsation from Motorola.
Everyone just wants the next iPhone. It sickens me. It’s almost like Apple has completely undone the magic they worked with their 1984 ad. The progress they made with changing the technology industry. Now everyone sits subserviently until the next shiny iPhone hits the digital shelves.
So why am I quitting it?
I don’t own an iPhone. I’ve never owned an iPhone. I’ve only owned two Android smartphones – the very first one to exist, the HTC G1 – and it’s successor, the G2. It was only a month or two ago that I discovered it was taking over my life.
When I was out on the town with my wife, with friends, or family, I couldn’t help but constantly check my phone. Did I miss a great Slick Deal? Had someone mentioned me on Twitter? Did I get – *gasp* – an email? If I timed it, it would probably be just about every seven minutes that I had to look at the 3.7″ glowing orb of information.
When I woke up, I would instinctively grab for my smartphone. Time to delete all the unwanted messages and read the wanted ones. What if those people needed replies to urgent requests? I needed to check it the instant I woke up. Sometimes I would constantly press the “refresh” button in my email app, even though I got notifications at each new message. Addicted.
I was addicted to data, quite literally. It was available everywhere, and I felt like I was wasting it if I wasn’t using it. So use it, I did. I didn’t save any whales, make a living, or accomplish insane amounts of productivity from it, but I browsed the internet and checked my email like a pro. I would “google” things when a difficult question was posed.
The worst of it was that even sitting with my best friend, my lover, my wife, I would constantly be sucked back into the glow of the 3.7″ ticker. Any new messages? Tweets? Updates on my favorite sites? I didn’t stop paying attention to my wife, but I definitely wasn’t giving her all of my attention. That started to bother me in a way that I can’t quite describe, except that it was enough for me to completely get rid of mobile technology.
The follow through
So I listed my iPod Touch 4G (32GB) and my HTC G2 on craigslist. The only device I would use to connect to the internet and check my email would be my hoss of a 17″ MacBook Pro. It was definitely up to the task, and still is. I bought a lovely “cosmic blue” Motorola KRZR from Amazon, and popped my SIM card in. It was like a whole new world.
It’s funny that I show off the KRZR like it’s the hottest new technology, and until my friends give me blank stares, I forget that it’s a five year old phone. It still looks great, though, and you know what else it does well? Makes phone calls. The call quality is excellent. I block my account from sending/receiving text messages, so the only thing this phone will be doing is calling. And the battery lasts almost 5 days.
I feel like I’ve gotten a huge hunk of time allotted to me for whatever I like. When I would have been nose deep in my smartphone, I’m now reading books, coding, or talking with my wife. We go on walks now! Imagine that! It has seriously opened up not only my schedule, but my ability to be creative. I feel like I can do anything now, create anything, be anything.
A lot of people have asked, “Why don’t you just use it less?” I think that’s sort of like asking a crack addict, “Why don’t you just put the crack in the closet and do less blow?” I don’t even want the option of using a smartphone, because if I have one, I will check it obsessively. It’s a simple fact.
Disclaimer, a bit late
I don’t begrudge anyone who chooses to use a smartphone, so please don’t take offense from what I’ve written here. If you get great productivity from your smartphone, more power to you. If you are unproductive with it, but still love it – keep up the fun times! I wrote this mainly for people who are seeking a less connected life. For people who want to focus on human connection, conversation, and interaction more than interaction with a screen. So don’t be upset if this isn’t for you. If it is, though, welcome to the show!