Smartphones are Not Equipped to Control our Lives

by Matt Klassen on May 27, 2015

With the growing interconnectedness of our digital existence the smartphone has become for many the thing we simply can’t live without. It’s a communications hub, an information centre, and the remote control of our lives; able to manage and operate everything from heating our homes to storing our financial information.

In fact, with its ever-expanding operability there will soon come a time when the smartphone will simply replace almost every gadget, device, or tool in our lives. As E-Commerce Times writer Jeff Kagan writes, “Today we don’t leave the house without our keys, our wallet and our smartphone, but tomorrow the phone is all we’ll have to remember.”

But there’s a problem with having smartphones hold the keys to the kingdom, they’re simply too delicate to live up to the responsibility. If we drop our wallet or our keys all we have to do is bend over and pick them up; drop our smartphone, however, and we have an instant—and not to mention expensive—crisis on our hand…and this is the device we have entrusted with all our most important information!? We must be insane.

Smartphones are breakable, bendable, and overall some of the flimsiest technology available. They break when they fall, they bend in our pockets; they basically curl up and die at the slightest bump. They’re devices designed to look nice, not to survive the day-to-day rigours of normal life.

In fact, smartphones are so breakable that mobile insurance has become a multi-billion dollar business across North America, vendors well aware that they can collect a little extra money up front for the promise that when, not if, your phone breaks you won’t have to shell out the full cost for a replacement. Not only that, but even if you coddle your phone like a newborn baby you still risk theft, loss, diminished battery life, or the fact that often times phones inexplicably just stop working. Smartphones are frustrating pieces of poorly made technology, strange for something now inexorable from most of our lives.

It’s a problem not only because of the replacement cost, but discarded mobile phones now pose a serious environmental threat as well.

So what’s the solution? For once the issue has nothing to do with wireless carriers and everything to do with smartphone manufacturers. It’s relatively simple actually, smartphone makers need to stop thinking about the cheapest way to make phones and think instead about the best way to make phones, designing mobile gadgets able to weather the storms of existence (heck, I’ll take a phone that’s able to weather a drop of rain water); as the saying goes, “to take a licking and keep on ticking.”

Companies like Samsung, Google, Apple and every one else in the market need to start thinking of ways to make our mobile tech shock resistant and water resistant, they need to give phones default tracking and wipe capabilities to enhance security, they need to design touchscreens that don’t break after, well, being touched. Simply put, we need a phone that operates like the integral tool it has become, but as it stands, the smartphone is not even close to being capable to handling such responsibility.

As Kagan writes, “Bottom line — smartphones and apps are the future. We can use them as a remote control for our lives. However, if we are actually to trust these devices with our important information, they have to live up to the challenge. Today, they don’t.”

Of course most of us are so in love with our mobile devices we aren’t even making such demands yet, we’re still swearing under our breath, paying the replacement fees, and falling in love with the next device, meaning it’ll likely be years before smartphone manufacturers actually start building the phones we need, instead of the phones they tell us we want.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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