Me and my mobile

29th July 2003, Comments 0 comments

It's not just a phone, it's a lifestyle. Kevin Lowe writes.

My mobile phone is ringing again, but there is nobody on the other end.

It is my voice mailbox, calling me to tell me I have a message.

Sometimes, in the middle of a call, the phone will emit a strange beep to let me know that, drat, someone was trying to reach me but, alas, had to leave a message.

There have been a few times when I call to collect the message, during which time another message comes in, forcing the cycle to repeat.

My mobile phone wants more out of our relationship.

Who, I’d like to know, decided that mobile phones were not just communication devices, but “tools” to help us in our daily lives? My latest apparatus comes with a 100-page instruction manual and a CD-ROM of software I can load.

Frankly, I just want it to work. I want it to ring when somebody calls and to dial when I want to reach somebody. Network coverage for more than 30 seconds at a time would be nice, too.

But somewhere along the line, the folks at Microsoft, KPN, Nokia and their ilk decided that I did not require a phone; what I needed was a personal communication device which would run WAP, 3G services and manage my appointments, among other things.

The final gate to paradise would open, they promised, when I could watch television on my telephone while simultaneously ordering airline tickets.

But I watch television on my television.

This type of logic is lost on the big thinkers, and if you ask me, the whole “irrational exuberance” of the latter half of the last decade was all about building stuff nobody wanted and nobody needed.

Take broadband – please. Just like TV, but the picture sucks and there’s nothing on. Hmmm, there must have been some genius in that, because the whole of Amsterdam was dug up to lay cables. And HDTV: just like normal TV, but much more expensive.

I don’t blame these companies, because they have to come up with new products to keep their profits rising, and once in a while they come up with something really cool and useful, like the Walkman. But when you get right down to it, when I pick up a telephone, I’d just like to make a call.

But I’m dreading the day when I’ll get that final message from my mobile phone. My network coverage will be permanently unavailable and my SIM card will no longer register.

It’s not you, it’s me.

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