As everyone stands in line for their new iPhones this week, a quick reminder of a John Scalzi post from 2005, Being Poor.
Here at Rowhouse Livin' I've been using a BlackBerry Curve for a few years now, and I was a late upgrader to a smartphone at that. Why haven't I moved to a snazzier smartphone? The primary question, though, is why am I using a smartphone at all?
I use a smartphone because the law firm's clients need their e-mails answered whether I'm at my desk or not. And I can't be tied to my desk all day, because I have to see other clients, I have to run errands, and I have childcare needs, ranging from mid-day emergencies to after-school sports games I want to see. I was fine with a regular cell phone until I was browsing DiBruno Bros. one afternoon for a birthday gift, and a client phoned me. She had e-mailed me a document for review and advice on before she signed it. A deadline was pending. And I had to tell her, "Oh, sorry, I won't be back at my desk for another 45 minutes." Long story short, the client thankfully didn't fire me right then and there and find another lawyer -- and I ordered my first smartphone that afternoon. My only smartphone, so far.
If I weren't a lawyer, or in some other work where I need to have access to my e-mail while out of the office, I'd seriously think twice about upgrading to a smartphone. To me it seemed that I didn't have much choice, if I wanted to keep current clients and win new ones. And the increased monthly cost would likely be offset by increased professional revenue. So I jumped in.
To save money, I got the device that was free with a contract with the carrier I'd been using for years and was perfectly happy with. The BlackBerry Curve has a lousy web browser, but the phone does what I need it to do: phone calls, text messaging, and e-mail. Reasonable handling of small PDFs and office suite documents. Google just changed its mapping functionality with the BlackBerry web browser, but that's what god invented atlases for.
Other than my monthly plan's bill, my phone is cost-free now, and I intend to keep it that way until the device gives up the ghost. I don't need further functionality -- think: do you need the bells and whistles on your phone? Really, the only thing I'd gain by upgrading my smartphone now, other than a higher monthly bill, would be a little less teasing from the wacky friends who get on my case for using an antique device.
So. Are you reading this while in line for a new iPhone? Feel free to leave a comment while I run a data backup on my antique.