Friday, November 25, 2011


Now that cellphones, and most especially smartphones, have become so common that they seem like a clumsy, halfhearted Borg assimilation plot, the full force of their resulting cultural shift is beginning to crash on the shores of the general public.

The marker that everyone points to is the generation of children, now old enough to understand the mechanisms that drive their world, who cannot grasp how a society might function without each person having constant access to worldwide communication. In time, however, I think you'll find that the more difficult concept to explain is this: there was a time, kids, when purchasing a new phone wasn't a gigantic ordeal.

Three major operating systems, several carriers, and hundreds of phones that range in price from zero dollars on-contract to "we priced it this much so that you'd never think of buying a phone not-on-contract" dollars. And the whole ecosystem is underlined by the (when you stop to think about it) super weird contract phenomenon itself: something like getting to purchase a car for 1/3 the price if you agree to only buy gas from one company for two years.*

So not only is the decision itself difficult, but there's a real sense that you'd better not screw it up-because otherwise you'll spend those two years kicking yourself and watching the great upgrade clock count down once again. Someday we'll mark time by our phone contracts, noting our distance from a big life event by what device we remember checking facebook on while it was happening.

*Don't tell anyone I said that, it might become real.

1 comment:

Potamy said...

Yeahhh in this respect, Japan is way ahead of us.