Should I ditch my smart phone?

I have a shiny phone with more computing power than the first computer I ever owned.  I also have a shiny brick, because the phone isn't working now, and when I took it back to where I bought it they gave me a phone number to call to fix it.  (I call it my BrickBerry.  It's so bricked, it doesn't even play Brickout.) There's nothing worse than talking on the phone, trying to fix your phone.

Get in touch, free of charge: Just dial 611 from your T-Mobile phone or call 1-877-453-1304. Customer Care representatives are available from 3 a.m. to 10p.m. PT, daily. Automated account help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You can either call Toll Free # 1-800-937-8997 or we here in Technical Care web chat can assist you.

I am tempted to go back to the worst possible phone that could possibly work.  I had an old, old Nokia candybar-style phone, which at one point I called my "WAP phone" because I had to wap on the side of it to get it to work.  Yet it did work, and it made lots of phone calls, and it seemed cheap at the time.  And it was cheap – it had a monochrome screen, only the most rudimentary games, no camera, nothing.  Cheap but reliable.  

JVM Error 517

An unrecoverable error on the phone.

T-mobile policy for this error is to ship a replacement phone.

An inconsistency has been detected in the VM persistent object store.

Smart phones aren't cheap, but increasingly they don't seem all that smart either.  Shiny, yes; futuristic and wonderful, sure.  But smart, not so much.  Does your phone remind you of what you need to do, when and where you need to do it, but not so naggingly that you turn it off?  Probably not.  Does that smart phone make you look smarter when you're walking down the street punching buttons on it?  Not so sure. Twittering from the bus to let the planet know which bus has squeaky brakes?  Uh huh.

The trap, perhaps, is confusing "smart phone" with "smart person".  Does a smart phone make you smart?

One possibility is to ditch phones with contracts entirely and go to a prepaid plan, which means that every call would cost something and I've have to be smart about how to use my phone.  That turns out to be easier now that I have Google Voice, which gives me more tools than ever to not answer my phone but still get a message to me.  Google Voice lets me direct any call to any phone, and thus the cell phone simply becomes another selectable destination to originate or terminate calls on the same number.

Other people's take on this:

My monthly bill says buying a dumb phone would have been smarter.

4 thoughts on “Should I ditch my smart phone?

  1. Britta Gustafson

    Seeing who can get a piece of information from the web faster, my sister’s new BlackBerry generally loses to my inexpensive years-old Sanyo S1 not-very-smart phone. And her BlackBerry sometimes crashes in the process. I try not to be *too* smug about this, but I’m not sure it’s working.

  2. Edward

    My replacement phone arrived in the mail today, so I’m setting the BlackBerry up again. The strategy this time is to be as minimal as I possibly can with application installations – essentially just the Google apps and nothing else.

  3. Edward

    Phone is up and working. I’m using the minimum set of apps, to the point where when Foursquare prompted me to install a new Blackberry app to run it I got kind of wondering whether I wanted to deal with anything that expected a new app to work instead of just working in a browser.
    For the first time in a long time I had enough of a working phone to return calls promptly, and to do that while walking into town. That suggests a new and very productive time slice of a 30-45 minute commute that is also telephone time. I hope my plan has enough minutes.
    The next challenge is to get photos off the phone onto the net with some measure of control to the process.

  4. Edward

    The experience of walking with a “smart” phone:
    1. ooh shiny glowing phone!
    2. forget to look at the moon
    3. download apps while walking, hope you don’t trip
    4. phone crash! spend an inordinate amount of time rebooting
    5. half wishing that you could brick the phone on command 75 days into the 90 day extended warranty
    forgetting to look at the moon is the worst of this.


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