Monday, January 27, 2014

Life without a smart phone

Yes, I am one of the rare software engineers in the world that does not have a smart phone. But I just had a thought. What is the single most common place where wifi internet access is not generally available to me? In other words, where would I use the mobile broadband capabilities of a smart phone that I'm too cheap to pay for? I have wifi at home and wifi at work. But not in between. It's in my car, which if you think about it is really a big part of why we all got cell phones in the first place. At least those of us who weren't begging to be able to call our buddies and chat at any second of the day - we wanted to be able to make a phone call if our car broke down or we got lost or crashed or something. For many of us, the demand for a cell phone was primarily driven by a desire for safety. And yet, studies are now showing that the use of phones, especially smart phones, in vehicles has the exact opposite effect. They actually add distraction and reduce safety. So here's my logic:

1. I originally got a phone for car-related safety reasons.
2. Smart phones are (at least potentially) detrimental to car-related safety.
3. The car is the primary place I would need to use a smart phone.
Conclusion: Even if smart phones were free, they would still have a potentially detrimental effect on my safety in the primary place I would use them. So why would I get one?

I can see the argument for people who travel a lot to get a smart phone. But I don't. My primary travel is to work and then to home. And I can live without internet access for an hour a day.

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