Mobile Phones: Remember when we used them to make phone calls …

Kindle Fire HD 7 inch

You could call me old-fashioned, but I’m not. I’m also not stupid, out of touch, nor a technophobe. I love technology. If I had more money, I’d have even more computers than I do and arguably, I already have too many.

It’s just that I think we’ve lost track of why we have telephones.

I have 3 personal computers: a desktop with a big HD monitor, a 15″ laptop more powerful than my desktop, and a notebook mini that I use in the bedroom and lives on my night table. I also have 2 Kindles, including the new Fire which is a media center, though some consider it a computer (I don’t). For mobile communications, I have a Blackberry Torch .

Blackberry Torch

It’s very good at 3 things — all of which scream “communications” to me: Email, telephone calls, and maintaining a shared calendar with my husband so we don’t double schedule stuff. It would text just fine, but as it happens, I hate texting. My 10-inch notebook has as small a keyboard as I’m willing to use for typing anything beyond a couple of words. I type with 10 fingers. My thumb, opposable and all, is excellent for picking things up and holding a pen, even for playing the piano. They are not designed for typing. That must be a genetic adaptation that occurred in the last 30 years. My thumbs are not pointy or fast-moving. They are thumbs that perform thumb-appropriate tasks.

In a never-ending attempt to make a single device that can do everything, mobile phones now do just about everything except make quality phone calls. Most of them have terrible audio quality on the phone. They may have decent reproduction for music and games, but you can’t hear a voice on the other end of a call. Crackle, white noise and low amplitude makes real phone calls torture. My husband and I each bought a Blackberry because we wanted to be able to make phone calls and hear each other and sometime, other people, on the telephone. Shocking concept? Are you appalled that we use our phones primarily as portable communications devices?

iPhone 5

While we were in the phone store, we tried out all the different phones including the iPhone and the only one that had good quality voice reproduction on telephone calls was Blackberry. The others are all trying to be a cross between an MP player, mini computer, and game boy. The voice quality on phone calls was awful, but apparently no one actually uses that function anymore.

I have computers to compute. I have an MP player and I have the Kindle Fire for media. I use my telephone for communication. Oh, and I carry a small, good quality camera for taking pictures on the fly.

I strongly believe and no one has ever shown me any good reason to change my mind that anything that is trying to do everything isn’t doing anything really well … or it’s doing one thing well and twenty other things badly.

My son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter have telephones that are now close to half the size of my Kindle. Soon, they will be as big or bigger. Does anyone remember how we all wanted smaller phones so we didn’t have to carry a great big “thing” with us?

For a while, they got a little too small for my taste, but then they got back to a size that is definitely telephony.

Dell XPS 15

Now, with each added function they put on the phone, the more apps, widgets, peripherals, gadgets, functions, styli, wires, earphones, docks and doodads you need to do accomplish these different things on what originated as a telephone, the less I want to do with them. It’s not that I don’t understand them. I understand just fine

I don’t LIKE them.

Honk if you think a phone should be first and foremost, a device that is very good for making and receiving telephone calls!