How A Phone Changed My Life


to include link to Clive Thompson’s article in Wired on the death of the phone call.

This morning I downloaded the new Arcade Fire album, that I had pre ordered over the weekend (initial review – the sound of the autumn, you need this in your life), then checked my Twitter feed before heading off to the station. On the train, I began to write the post you’re now reading. I have a couple of photos of the cats that I took, cropped, post-processed and will drop onto Flickr at some point this morning.

I did all this on one device. You know the one I’m talking about. The one that was in all the papers a month ago. The one that was irreparably broken and was to be recalled at a cost of billions.

That didn’t happen, although my device is now snug and secure in a free case the manufacturers were good enough to offer to anyone that was having problems with phone reception.

That was not my experience. It has not been the experience of hundreds of thousands of users worldwide. This phone is rock solid. Although I can’t talk on behalf of the worldwide user base for this device, I want to go on record, and state that it is the best phone I’ve ever owned. It grabs and holds onto signal without a problem, and 3G reception is a dream. The only point at which it drops a call is on the train, in the signal-free zone somewhere in Southall which kills a conversation with every phone.

But I didn’t really buy the device to be a phone. Along with the general trend of mobile users, I would much rather text than phone anyway, and the software keyboard on this phone is a joy. I’m up to about 30 wpm on it, both thumbs a blur on the surface.

I bought this device primarily as a street computer, and in that aspect it succeeds admirably. It’s an excellent music and video player, a more than adequate word processor, and an amazing camera. With a couple of application downloads it becomes a powerful image capture hub that does significantly more than the camera I dropped £200 on a few years ago. If I felt the urge, I could even edit video on it. In fact, people already have.

This sounds like a gush from someone blinking in the full glare of the Reality Distortion Field. Yes, I know there are plenty of devices out there that do all this and more, that are not proprietary and locked to one platform. Yes, fine, it was expensive. Yes, fine, I queued for almost six hours to get my mitts on one.

You know what? Don’t care. Completely worth it. If I need to check my email, look up something on Wikipedia, while away a dull ten minutes with a game, then this is the device I reach for. My Blackbook is currently on loan to a greater cause (more on that later) and with this and my little Linux netbook, I’ve hardly missed it. It gets used every day. It will get used every day. It’s the most 21st century thing I own. Until the next one.

Please, feel free to hit me up in the comments and tell me why your phone is better than mine. I’d love to know what I’ve been doing wrong!


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Writer. Film-maker. Cartoonist. Cook. Lover.

6 thoughts on “How A Phone Changed My Life”

  1. Good morning 🙂

    1. As a phone and for fast and easy and efficient email, I believe my Blackberry is better than an iPhone. It can get signals where iPhones can’t reach.

    2. For everything else, there can be no competition – the iPhone wins hands down because it’s just… cool.

    Now I find to find some wifi at lunch to download the Arcade Fire album on to my super iPod Touch, which I would not be without and has a stonking 64 Gig of memory to fill with wonders.

  2. 😀

    I’m not going to say that my phone is better. After trying out the husband’s phone this summer (the kind you have) I know that your phones can do a lot of amazing things. I still haven’t figured out if I can do them on my (a lot smaller, but similar) phone, but I do know one thing: What your kind of phone is less good at is simply being a phone. Everything else is world class. But then, if you (which you clearly didn’t) buy it just to have a phone, then you could get away a lot cheaper with just about any other phone. 😉

    1. Anna:

      Good point. I think as the sort of person that doesn’t like phones at all, this one suits me perfectly. Great for texts, and the voicemail service lets me screen and respond to calls in my own time. In short, it’s not great as a telephone. And that’s fine.

      Grammatically, I think we’re forging our own path today!

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