Don't Buy a Smartphone

21 Oct 2011

Robert Seaton doesn’t like his phone:

I’m a geek – or a nerd or a technologist or what-have-you – and my life is fundamentally centered around interactions with computers, but here’s the thing: I don’t really a give a shit about my smartphone.

Then don’t get one.

This is my whole argument: if you do not find iOS or Android phones to be useful, don’t use them.

Robert’s problem–and it is entirely legitmate–is that he has no interest in the social aspects of a smartphone, but I am confused as to why he got one in the first place. A phone, especially a smartphone, is a social device and should be treated as such. It should not something you try to code on or do extensive web browsing on. It is not a MacBook and, more importantly, it is not trying to be.

I have an iPhone 4 and I love it, but I use it to tweet, tumblr, text, and take calls. I don’t write blog posts on it, though I may throw something into my “ideas” text file. I don’t extensively read on it, but I do skim feeds and put articles in my Instapaper queue. I don’t code on it and I know better than to try. The iPhone is an excellent social computer that happens to have some other functionally built into it.

Robert is correct that “the desktop and laptop markets, they’re going to go the way of the workstation (and the dodo)”, but he is mistaken on what is going to replace them. I have said this before: it is not the smartphone, but the tablet that will replace our laptops.

I don’t think that you wanted a smartphone, Robert. I think you wanted a tablet.