Good morning. What I would like to talk about today are cell phones and their role in our lives. Before I start off, I would like to ask everyone to turn their phones off—not just on a silent mode, but completely off—for the duration of my speech. It won’t take more than 10 minutes, so please, kindly do me a favor. It will mean a lot to me to have all of your attention.
Ever since the first hand-held mobile phone was presented by Motorola in 1973, this handy gadget has firmly set itself in the hands of almost every American teenager, adult, and since recently, even children. It seems that in the race for the latest model of the iPhone or BlackBerry, we have forgotten that telephones were initially intended as a convenience, not a necessity. However, it seems that there isn’t a single activity people can do without this technology nowadays. You need your Android program to calculate calories while jogging; you can’t live without the latest tunes uploaded to your iPhone; and you got used to taking pictures everywhere you go with your many-mega-pixel phone camera. How often do we actually use phones for talking these days? And we are not talking about the latest applications you have purchased to upgrade your favorite time-killer, but rather using your phone for the purpose it had been initially intended for: mobile conversations, assuming you cannot talk to the person on the other end of the signal face-to-face.
One of the recent studies held by the Swiss Institute of Public Health has revealed the appearance of a new type of disease called Nomophobia (“No mobile phobia”). Disturbing signs of nomophobia include a pathological fear of finding oneself without a working cell phone at hand, which causes sleeping disorders (the diseased patients complained that they experience constant anxiety and often wake up at night because they seem to have heard their phone ring); fear of losing your cell phone or forgetting it somewhere (it causes people to return home if they cannot find the phone in the bag, no matter how late they will be for important appointments; or constantly checking for their phone and taking it out of the bag even if it isn’t ringing). Apparently, there are thousands of people already diagnosed with the disorder and presumably millions more who are also suffering from it, without realizing the fact. Scientists estimate that two thirds of the world’s population is in fact prone to this psychological disorder.
As a result, people make their lives dependent on a device, without realizing that it is an appliance that had been initially invented to make their lives simpler, not more complicated. As neurologists have commented, cell phone addiction is forcing people to become dependent on their pricey new gadget and this distracts the victims of cell phones from living their life in working order. Instead of going out and meeting people we want to talk to, we send text messages, install Skype and social network applications on our brand new phones, and basically build our lives around this technology. If one day all phones should instantly go off, there would no doubt be panic and chaos all over the world, except for those remote places where this technological advance has not yet gained that much popularity. Nevertheless, while there are fewer and fewer such places in the world, people are getting more and more dependent on their cell phones—approximately 40 percent of all cell phone users have more than one mobile phone in use. The situation is worsening every year, while electronic giants like Apple, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Verizon, and others are launching new brilliant marketing campaigns trying to persuade us to purchase their latest telephone model that can become your life partner in any occupation and situation. Except that, at some point, you might find yourself controlled by the device and desperately scared to take a step without it.
What should be done now? I suggest reducing the time we spend with our favorite cell phones at least by half, for starters. Every time you think about downloading a new application, ask yourself whether it is a necessity or you can easily do without it. Every time you catch yourself thinking you want the latest iPhone model, ask yourself what you need it for? If you do not know the answer, it means you don’t really need it, until the commercials and iconic pop stars tell you otherwise. Respect yourselves and value your time. When you think of how many hours per day you spend with your phones, and what you could have done instead in the real world, these time-eaters will seem like a malady. But, they are just a device, a convenience we need to control our use of, in order not to let this appliance control us, our schedules, our leisure, our hobbies, and our entire lives.
I hope my speech gave you all some food for thought, and planted a seed of suspicion about whether our cell phones are truly that important and indispensable to us. Thank you for the time you have dedicated to my speech with your cell phones off! I know it was tough for some of you, and I appreciate the effort.
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The History and Evolution of Cell Phones
By: Amanda Ray Filed under: Gaming & Technology
January 22, 2015
Could you survive without your mobile phone? Cell phones have become incredibly advanced in a relatively short amount of time, and the possibilities for the future are seemingly endless.
In The Beginning
Many of the early cell phones were considered to be “car phones,” as they were too large and cumbersome to carry around in a pocket or purse. However, in 1983, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x arrived on the market. Though huge by today’s standards, it was considered the first truly mobile phone because it was small enough to carry.
The phone, though incredibly expensive, became a pop culture symbol, showing up on everyone from Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street, to high school heartbreaker, Zack Morris, in Saved by the Bell.
“You always have the trendsetters who are not afraid of trying new things and then everyone else follows,” says Patricia Grullon, an Industrial Design instructor at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. “These trendsetters are key to make any product popular.”
However, cell phone use hadn’t spread to the general public yet.
“They were primarily used in the sales and business world, but not often for personal use like you see today,” says Kreg Jones, an industrial designer and Industrial Design instructor at The Art Institute of Philadelphia.
Though the DynaTac and subsequent models were smaller, mobile, and ultimately cooler, they still had their faults. Bulky, luggable models like the Nokia Mobira Talkman and the Motorola 2900 Bag Phone had longer battery lives and more talk time, making them more popular at the time. As the technology advanced, cell phone companies figured out how to pack all the features their customers wanted into a smaller, portable, more affordable model.
A Shifting Purpose
Early cell phones were just for talking. Gradually, features like voicemail were added, but the main purpose was talk. Eventually, cell phone manufacturers began to realize that they could integrate other technologies into their phone and expand its features. The earliest smartphones let users access email, and use the phone as a fax machine, pager, and address book.
In recent years, the purpose of the cell phone has shifted from a verbal communication tool to a multimedia tool, often adopting the name “mobile device” rather than being called a phone at all. We now use our cell phones more for surfing the web, checking email, snapping photos, and updating our social media status than actually placing calls.
“Rapidly expanding software titles, better screen resolution, and constantly improved interface make cell phones easier to navigate, and more fun to use. Add to that an expanding capacity that can hold as much memory as a computer would just a few years ago, and you can see why it’s an exploding market,” Grullon says.
The cell phones of today are also replacing our other gadgets, such as cameras and video cameras. When cameras were first introduced on phones, the images were low quality and the feature was considered to just be an extra.
“Now, we're seeing a very fast shift to where consumers don't even bother carrying their point-and-shoot cameras anymore, and just use their cell phones,” says Jamie Lendino, a tech journalist and senior mobile analyst for PCMag.com.
Modern day smartphones — the Apple iPhone in particular — changed everything that consumers expect from their phones. The app market has transformed the phone into a virtual toolbox with a solution for almost every need.
It’s not just the technology of the cell phone that has changed over time, the physical design has also gone through a rollercoaster of changes. Original car phones and bag phones were as large as modern day computers and just as heavy.
“Like computers, the cell phone over time has become drastically smaller,” Jones says. He recalls reviewing focus group results while working with Ericsson GE Mobile in the mid-90s. “Customer research showed that the phone was so small that the user interface was unacceptable. Though the phone may have functioned perfectly well, their opinion was partially driven by the perception that the phone was simply too small.”
Eventually, customers’ perceptions shifted and they demanded a smaller, sleeker cell phone.
Just in recent years, cell phone designs have actually started to become larger and simpler, making room for a larger screen and less buttons. Because phones have become mobile media devices, the most desirable aspect is a large, clear, high-definition screen for optimal web viewing. Even the keyboard is being taken away, replaced by a touch screen keyboard that only comes out when you need it. The most obvious example of this is the Apple iPhone and subsequent competitors like the Droid models.
Future of the Cell Phone
The cell phone has changed and developed so rapidly in the past decade that it seems as though almost anything you can imagine is possible for the future. According to Jones, the convergence of all our tech gadgets into one mobile device will continue to advance. He anticipates that “the majority of the hardware and the software can be moved to ‘the cloud’ and the product will mainly be comprised of the input and the display.”
Lendino expects that the smartphone will eventually completely take over the market.
“Within a few more years, I expect regular cell phones to disappear entirely. We may not even call smartphones ‘smart’ anymore and just drop the term altogether, the way we stopped saying ‘color TV’ and ‘hi-fi stereo’,” he says.
Grullon believes that cell phones of the future will be adapted to appeal more to our emotional senses.
“I believe in the future, cell phones will become even more naturally in sync with our biological reflexes and processes such as eye movement, thought processes, kinesthetic, cultural preferences,” she says.
It’s not just about how we will change cell phone, Grullon says.
“The question is, how will the cell phone change us?”
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