Fancy-phones! Who and why?

Though I’ve considered it once or twice as a topic for discussion, I now have to include it in a paper so I might as well ask properly.

People with Smartphones/iPhones, whatever: Why do you own these devices? What got you to buy them to begin with?

When newer devices come out, do you get excited for an upgrade? Why?

I got mine from work. We’re on call once a month on the weekends to monitor some data processes so work provides free iPhones and the service to support our on call time. (We don’t get paid extra for being on call; we’re all salaried employees. So the free phones and service kind of help make up for giving up part of one weekend a month.)

Since I didn’t choose to get the phone myself and I don’t really care one way or the other about it, I don’t get excited about new versions coming out. I also haven’t downloaded an apps, I don’t have my personal email set up on it, and I don’t really use it for much other than work email and general phone calls.

I’m always a little confused by this question when it’s asked about smartphones. People own smartphones for the same reasons they own computers.

I got a G1 after using those old Nokia bricks for years. I was happy with them, and they were essentially too dumb to ever break, but I eventually decided that I was gonna need to upgrade to a smartphone after that one died. When it did die (in a toilet at a party) I went out and got the G1 the next day.

I’m not one to be obsessed with getting the newest and best gadgets, so I’ve generally been happy with it, but it is essentially very first Android phone, and I’ll definitely look forward to upgrading when my two years are up.

I own a smartphone because I like to be able to check my email and look stuff up on the Internet anywhere. The GPS also comes in very handy sometimes. Also, I use the calender and alarm and to do list features. Oh, and notes, I put grocery lists and stuff on there. I used to have a Razr and it had some of those features, but I never ended up using most of them because it didn’t work as well and it wasn’t worth it. I really like having a qwerty keyboard for those things and for texting.

No, I don’t get excited for upgrades. I wouldn’t pay hundreds of dollars for a newer model. I got my phone free with the service plan.

I don’t know about that. My wife just got a smart phone, and so did my best friend, and neither one of them really needs them or uses the extra features. In my wife’s case, it was because the phone “was cute” and in my friend’s case, it was because he buys pretty much every electronic gadget the moment he can just to be ahead of the curve. He will show it off for about a week, then throw it in a drawer somewhere and forget about it. I have another friend that’s planning on getting a Blackberry soon just so she can have a better phone than my wife. (She competes at everything and certainly does look forward to the new versions of everything.)

From my completely scientific survey of a comprehensive cross-section of society, I conclude that good marketing and oneupmanship contributes to a lot of smartphone purchases.

Is their computer use comparable? If all you do on a desktop computer is check your email once a day, you won’t be using smartphone features much. But if you’re like me, and you’re on an RSS reader, Twitter, Facebook, message boards all day, along with checking email, running a website, and interacting with people via text, IM, and various direct messaging services , then you’re going to be pushing the limits of any smartphone (specifically the battery life).

I got an iphone in July 2008 (I upgraded from the cheapest Verizon phone I could get - 3 years before that).

I love having a single device - it takes pictures, video, holds all my music. I love the way it handles texts (like little conversations). I love apps and games and having the internet in my pocket (and iphone-friendly apps for IMDB and wikipedia!) It’s fun to update Facebook on the go with a mobile upload photo or a status update. It’s great for travel - I can play games, watch movies, I read books. I don’t have a GPS in my car and pulling over to use Google Maps has been a real lifesaver on several occasions.

And - importantly for me, it’s a very easy phone to use, even with all the cool stuff it can do.

I upgraded my iphone this summer with the 3GS came out. I wanted more capacity (my old 16G was getting crammed). I ended up not paying a dime for my new 32G phone. I bought the new one and put my old 16G white 3G for sale on Craigslist. Within 20 minutes, I had 10 offers. The first person flaked (typical Craigslist), but I sold my phone to the second person for exactly the amount I had paid for the new 3GS. I plan to do the same thing this summer if there’s another upgrade!

It is my first cell phone, blackberry, got it this last February, so I figured I might as well get one with all the bells and whistles.

I don’t use most of the extra stuff but I do use it as my walkman when I’m out walking and as my camera because I usually forget to bring my camera to birthdays and Christmas and other get togethers.

I also use the voice commands for calling people and a few other things and that makes me feel all futurey and cool.

Happy to answer questions, but you might want to ask something more specific.

I have an iPhone. I waited for the second generation line to come out (3G). I got it for a number of reasons: Primarily, I just coveted a sweet piece of technology. Secondarily, I was tired of carrying both a phone and an ipod, and this did both (and much, much more). There was a lot that I thought I’d be using it for that I still do - the map application alone pays for itself*. Integrating both personal and work e-mail is a tremendous asset to have at my fingertips. I use the web browser constantly. I also never had a phone with a camera in it, and I’ve found it to be fantastic for the purposes I need a camera for. There are aspects of it that I don’t really utilize to their fullest, specifically the calendar and other planner apps that I could get.

I don’t chase technology, and don’t have much desire to upgrade to the 3GS.

*My bill is $89, includes 450 anytime minutes, 5000 night & weekend minutes (starting at 9pm), 1500 text messages and rolls my anytime minutes over.

I don’t get what you mean by that Troy McClure. I own a computer because it’s what typewriters look like now.

Xavier, thank you so much. That’s what I’m looking for. The paper I’m writing (admittedly half-assedly) is about persuasion and current and future trends. As I can’t wrap my mind around why people get these contraptions to begin with, I need some input.

What’s exceptional about their marketing (and I just figure a smartphone and iphone were essentially the same thing)? Why are people pressured for that “oneupsmanship”?

Glory - fun and capacity. Got it.

I totally want one.

I’m so used to being able to look things up online, and it would be great to have a little computer that travels with me. A couple of weeks my best friend called me asking “are you anywhere near a computer?” I wasn’t. She needed to make a plane or something and needed some information. I don’t even know what, because I just handed the phone off to another friend with an iPhone who looked up what she needed in a couple of seconds.

It would also be nice to be able to customize the phone a little bit. It irks me that my phone doesn’t have any kind of a stopwatch function. I could really use that.

Unfortunately, I have other budgetary priorities at the moment, so I won’t be getting one any time soon. But I certainly look forward to the day when I can have one.

I don’t even know what they cost! Anyone know a ballpark figure for what a typical phone and service might cost?

I doubt that. By posting in this thread, you are doing something that no typewriter in history was ever able to accomplish. So, I know for a fact that you own a computer for more than just typing papers.

I would say they both use their desktops / laptops regularly. My iPhone friend is on his computer nonstop for games, web-browsing, office use, e-mails, and everything else. I would expect him to use his phone for more Internet-related features, such as IMing and e-mail. But he doesn’t. He occasionally uses it for gimmicky things like that auto-tune feature (I forget the name of the musician attached to it), but otherwise, he puts his phone aside and just uses his computer. In fact, whenever he comes to my apartment, he usually asks if he can use my computer to check things online!

My wife is very much into social networking online almost all day, especially Facebook and e-mail. She has, on occasion, used her phone for these things. But she still mainly just uses the computer instead. I suspect that if she was more often away from a computer and had no alternative, then she’d use the phone features more often - but she’s hardly ever far from a computer, and so she doesn’t.

Though, I should be fair and acknowledge that my mother-in-law’s boyfriend has an iPhone, and he uses it constantly for communicating with his clients and browsing the Internet. I’m not opposed to people owning fancy phones, it’s just that from my (limited) viewpoint, there’s a significant number of people who don’t have good reasons to.

I’m not all that familiar with the pricing of other smartphones, but an 8gb 3G iPhone will run you $99 with an $89/month service plan.

Don’t you use your computer for more than a word processor?
I was a late adopter to the cell phone and smart phone. Partly because I don’t get good coverage.

I use it for –


Calendar, keeping appointments


Phone/Contact/personal information


Camera in a pinch

Memo pad/lists/notes for myself – starting to keep recipes on it.

Modem for my netbook if wifi is unavailable

Quick web searches. Though if I’m looking for a business, I’ll just use the GPS. For instance, traveling through the Midwest in the middle of the night and look up a certain type of hotel on our route and make a reservation.

All in a package about the size of a pack of cards. Not much to not like about it.

Well, many of the rest of us spend portions of day writing emails, commenting on SDMB threads, watching porn, editing & uploading photos, passing along the newest Muppet videos on Youtube, composing & editing websites, researching travel plans, keeping up with news, aimlessly wandering Wikipedia, following sports that we can’t listen to or watch, figuring out how to get places, buying funny t-shirts, and yes, word processing on a desktop or notebook computer and no one blinks.

Smartphones do all that. Usually not as well as a full computer, but still pretty damn good for being on the bus. So the answer to “why do you have a smartphone?” is essentially “why do you have a computer?” and, it being 2009, I’m not really sure how to go about answering that question.

Another benefit of smartphones is that you can be logged in to all your accounts, and have them handy. You can always use someone else’s computer, but that usually entails logging the owner out, logging yourself in, then logging yourself back out, which is annoying for both parties.

nice username/post combo

Ok. I do not want an argument. I’m only looking for info into something I don’t know anything about.

Am I using the Internet rigt now from my desktop? Obviously. But it’s not the sole or most important reason I own it. It can do all these other things too, but if all it did was type and print, that would be fine with me for the most part. No computers are that simple anymore, I don’t think, so the point is probably moot.

My phone is just a phone. I got the cheapest little thing the company would give me because all I need is a communication device. It’s a phone. I don’t need it to be a computer because I have a computer for that. Nor do I need my car to be a hovercraft or my refrigerator to bake bread. They do what they’re made to do and I’m perfectly content with that.

Your saying, Troy, that it’s 2009 sound like I’m just hopelessly out of date and behind the curve. That’s entirely possible - people have said it of me for years. Again, I’m fine with that - I’m just trying to get a grip on this so I can mention it in a paper as if I know what the heck is going on out there.

This. While a smartphone isn’t a computer replacement, it lets me do most of the important things (email, internet) that I use a computer for.

This is my first smartphone, a few months old, and I don’t intend to upgrade it any time soon, although I do intend to replace it with another such phone eventually (probably either when my current contract runs out (might as well get the discount) or when my phone breaks).

Gorgon, but, why do you have a cell phone when you can use a landline? Sure, you can use a computer when you want to do computery things, but only if you have one with you. I always have one with me (well, except today, because I forgot it at home).