UPDATED Can one live a modern life, without a smartphone?
My smartphone journey began with a brand new iPhone 3G in 2008, then on to a Nexus One in 2010, which I currently still sling. It has come time to upgrade, but I find myself using a smartphone and all its connectivity less and less. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a highly technical guy. My career is in Computer Animation, where I build scripts and rigs, fix broken props and characters, build render pipelines, and composite. I've got a beast of a custom PC at home, I am constantly reading and learning about the latest advancements in scientific research, mobile technology, and the like. Maybe it’s because of the amount of time I spend immersed in technology, that I find I need to step away from it.
Regardless of how you use your phone, I have slowly began to use mine differently. In my progression from smartphone infancy, to powerhouse supercomputer in my hands, I've come hate the current technological status quo. The apps, the widgets, the notifications, the emails, the instant messages, the updates, and constant charging, night after night have become irritating. To counter this, I've trimmed the fat from my phone to make it more minimal. I don’t have endless screens of icons and widgets, I have a single screen, with vital information only. This however, still feels like too much.
When it comes to data connectivity, I hate being instantly connected to my email, bugged to update my apps, and honestly, paying for mobile data has turned into just a regular cost to me.. but at $65 a month (not including voice, voicemail, call ID, and text messaging) it’s a chunk of change I’d like to get back. Could I just turn off mobile data on my Nexus One, cancel my data service, and live with essentially the worlds most advanced dumb phone? I guess I could. However, I would like to take it one step further. Could a Blackberry be the quintessential phone, for people like me? I've grown out of love with touch screens, I don’t need a high powered CPU and high res display to drain my battery, and surely, I couldn’t care if I had access to my email on the go, nor do I have Facebook, and I’ll check Twitter when I'm bored at home, on a damn computer.
So, perhaps I may downgrade myself to a phone without data, without endless screens of apps, or constant updates, or battery drain. To a phone that I can easily text message on, but if need be, use WIFI on the go to check goddamn email. I can imagine the lot of you are salivating to comment on such an article. You’ll counter my arguments with "you probably hate smartphones because yours is 2 years old," or "your iPhone experience was tainted by using the 3G and early iOS," or "Blackberry sux, lulz." I welcome these comments, as well as insightful counter-arguments, so please tell me what you think.
SO, here’s the verdict:
Last night I pulled the plug on my data plan, and on my current provider. I ditched my $88 /month data/voice plan with Telus, and for $35 /month, I went with Koodo. I grabbed their voice only plan, which includes 150 mins of Canada-wide calling, unlimited evenings/weekends after 5pm, unlimited text, and call display/voicemail.
I’m keeping my Nexus One, with which I can still access my email and Twitter over a WIFI connection either at work, or home. I figure – like Carl and others suggested – I’m never far from an internet connected computer, and having instant access to email on the go doesn’t concern me anymore.
So there you have it. I did it, and I’m saving more than $50 a month by ditching data. Thoughts?