Thursday, February 12, 2009
Succumbed to cell phone mania – with tongue in cheek
I succumbed last week to the prevailing cell phone mania. I bought a fancy cell phone that does everything - the HTC Touch Diamond from Cellular South.
For a while there, my wife Ginny was sure she was going to have to send me to treatment. There’s a reason the Blackberry is nicknamed Crackberry. For gizmo freaks like me, these new cell phones are addictive.
There was one main reason I bought the HTC Touch Diamond - my brother-in-law Terrell Knight who won’t allow any family member or any of his 10,000 closest friends to have any cell phone not on the Cellular South system.
If I had bought an iPhone, Terrell would have crushed it under his foot the first time I pulled it out in front of him.
But there were other reasons as well: The Apple groupies give me the creeps. It’s like joining a weird religious cult. They walk around with this glazed expression. I didn’t want to go there.
Wife Ginny has two criteria in a cell phone: Does it work and is it easy to use. Her phones are the most basic you could possibly buy. She has no desire to do anything with a cell phone but talk.
In contrast, I wanted a high-res camera, a web browser, a GPS with voice turn, e-mail synchronized with my work computer, a music player and a video camera - for starters!
In fact, the only thing Ginny and I agree on is we want decent reception. On this count, I am eternally grateful to the Creekmore family for putting up enough towers. The Cellular South reception is hands down superior to their competitors. I can now use my cell phone at work and at my mother’s house.
I have now mastered the HTC Diamond and I love it. I will put it head to head against any smartphone, including the magnificent iPhone.
I admit to gloating when I shut down a recent iPhonista by displaying my new phone’s car mileage enhancement mode. Punch a couple of buttons and the HTC sends a signal to my car’s fuel injection computer which tripled my car’s fuel efficiency, giving me 100 miles per gallon on the highway.
I haven’t downloaded the subsonic wave artery clearing program, but plan to once it’s out of beta.
I have now spent two weeks of my life mastering every possible keystroke of the HTC Touch Diamond. If I live another 300 years and never get another phone, I will have a great return on the investment of my time.
But that’s not the point. For a gizmo addict like me, it’s all about the journey. I don’t do crossword puzzles, but bending gizmos to my will floats my boat.
The HTC Diamond is impressive: compact size, 3.2 megapixel camera, a built-in GPS, 4-gig hard drive, 256 RAM, 528 megahertz processor, WiFi, 640 x 480 screen, built-in stylus and touchscreen commands.
Before the HTC, I had a cell phone, a digital camera and a GPS. I wanted all three devices in one. The HTC delivered. Its one failing is the lack of a flash with the camera.
One breakthrough is the camera. Up until this phone, camera phone resolution was just too low. Who wants to save a fuzzy photo? The HTC photos are as crisp and clear as the eye can discern.
The GPS works beautifully. It locks on the satellites in just a few seconds and stays locked while the camera sits in the passenger seat. I downloaded some software and now get audible turn-by-turn directions as I drive. I’ll never be lost again.
Not only is the camera better than the iPhone, but the HTC is considerably less bulky. The smaller HTC screen is offset by the higher resolution.
My iPhonista friends love to show off their touchscreen keyboard. They can have it. My fingertips are about 100 times wider than the stylus that comes with the HTC. Although I can use my fingers with the HTC, the stylus is way easier, faster and with fewer errors.
Another huge advantage is the swappable HTC battery. Just this week I was at an all-day conference where a charger wasn’t easily available. After 12 hours, I just swapped the expiring battery with a tiny fresh one in my pocket. No problem. You can’t do this with the iPhone.
So do I throw away my digital camera and Garmin GPS? Not yet. Dedicated devices are faster, bigger and more feature-rich than what comes with the HTC. There will be plenty of times I’ll want to use these devices. The advantage is the many occasions when I forget to bring the camera or GPS. Now I have a reasonable backup.
Another huge advance is e-mail and Web surfing. My old Razor could do both, but not well enough to be compelling. With the 3G Cellular South network, Web surfing is super fast wherever I go. There’s nothing better than to be sitting in a doctor’s office and responding to e-mail and surfing the Web just like you were at your desk. This is a real productivity boost.
The advance of technology is amazing. Fifteen years ago, we had no Web. Now we have all the information in the world in our pocket wherever we go. Incredible.
Like many others, I have personally tracked the progress of computers, the Internet, e-mail, GPS, digital cameras over time. There have been many frustrating moments as the emerging technologies failed to live up to expectations. It’s pretty satisfying to see everything come together in the palm of your hand. Congratulations humanity! You did it!
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