Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Flip Phones

Whenever someone gives up on getting a smartphone, or goes back to an old fashioned flip phone, I have not been much help to them.   I have failed them. New smartphones are easier to use and no more expensive.

Worse, a month or two later,  when they come back with a smartphone anyway,  I am often perplexed at not having been able to do what I need to do. As I mentioned, comparative prices of phones and service are no longer a factor.

So what in fact is happening?    Not so long ago it was that way with iPads,  but that time is long gone.    Seniors lug these big iPads around wherever they go.    They LOVE them.

Clearly a revolution is happening so fast with smartphones that it takes a while to get used to it for seniors.   (That reminds me that you can phone easily with an iPad when near Wi-Fi.)

I think a smartphone may be wrongly regarded as a computer in a phone,  as it is sometimes described, as if it were Windows with all the Windows problems. No way!

Instead,  a smartphone is a highly developed communications device,  for which the modern technology was developed specifically by Bell labs, and only happened to be appropriated for computers.

Now,  with voice commands, just in the last months, it has become far easier to use than ever before.  Far easier than a flip phone.

Especially,  the smartphone overcomes the problems of older phones:  hard to use, small keys, intrusive,  burdened by telephone tag, indeed,  the many problems of “Model T” phones heretofore.

The big benefit of older phones,  the party line,  is also gone.   So you're unable to find out what the neighbors are doing.

I have nine landline or extension phones in my apartment so that I can get to them, and that is still not enough.     By the time I get there or get the cell phone out of my pocket,  the caller has given up.   

Calls come in when I am brushing my teeth,  taking a nap,  and so on.   When I call,  the line is busy.

So that type of communication  just doesn't work for a senior.

Instead, a text message or email is now easily generated on a smartphone by just saying you want to send one and  appears on my destination phone to access at my leisure.

Even better is the new technology of Alexa which enables me to phone from anywhere and hear calls wherever I am.     Now what will we need to do to get seniors convinced of using that new tech?

The smartphone is also there to get help without relying on needing to get through to a specific phone number.     Traffic warnings,  directions,  weather warnings, are invaluable.    

This morning I waited 20 minutes for a medical practice to answer my phone call.  This afternoon I made an appointment in minutes by smartphone while waiting at a RR crossing---I did not talk to anyone---I just checked off an open date and time.

So business and computers are not going to put up with the inefficiency of old tech that much longer. Consumer Reports points out that you need an app to summon an Uber car---and apps run only on smartphones. So what is more important to a senior than to be able to get transportation quickly?

Do yourself a favor and flip that flip phone into the trash, please!

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