"New cell phones suck" - youth

January 2, 2004

This an old, sarcastic news post from when I was in college. I apologise.

3g cell phone

A consumer study in the UK has come to the shocking conclusion that young people aren’t crazy about “third generation” cell phone technologies. Oddly, the fact they barely worked when introduced and continue to be expensive is deterring them from such human necessities as video chatting and playing small numbers of low-quality songs on their cell phones.

“Oh, wow, I can sort of see a pixelized representation of my mom while I talk to her, that helps me a lot,” remarked one normal teenager. “Almost as useful as trying to navigate websites designed for 15 inch monitors on a 2 inch screen!” The 15 to 24 year olds who participated in the study had similar sentiments. “Everybody knows they make the things out of plastic and styrofoam anyway, and will stop working in a year,” quipped one jaded whippersnapper. “So you could pay $300 for a phone with picture messaging that you’ll use three times, or you could get the free one that can… well, phone people.” While researchers admit making phone calls is theoretically a potential use for one of these phones, it’s not necessarily the “best use scenario”. Oddly, youth, who are depended upon to spread new gadgetry, keep trying to use their phones to phone.

Marketers and executives alike are baffled by this discovery. “But… it takes pictures. Isn’t that super keen?!” cried one marketing executive. “We even have highly ‘Realistic™’ ringtones that sound somewhat like a cross between your favourite song and your favourite 80s video game!” While anybody would have to admit these things are indeed keen, the evidence still stands that it’s not sapping kids’ debit cards the way it was first hoped.

Not to fear, cell phone companies have the solution: more advertising. “Since making the phones more durable, giving them better battery life, or giving them better reception would make no sense at all,” explained one cell phone dealer, “the goal is to keep adding as many new capabilities into the phones as fast as possible, and convincing you that you need them.” He proceeded to rave about the benefits of a colour screen until he had to be sedated.

When asked about more specifics, the developers of the next generation of cell phones had this to share: “Since computers always get smaller, and people like small things, cell phones are obviously going to replace computers, despite the hard realities of battery life and screen size. Anything your computer can do well, your phone will soon do shoddily… but with more mobility!”

Microsoft, of course, is leaping to the rescue, pushing hard to have its phone version of Windows installed on these next generation of “smart” phones. “Wonderful,” groaned yet another normal teenager. “I can’t wait until I try to turn my phone off only to see ‘Your phone is shutting down…’ for hours until it runs out of batteries.”

The author of this article owns a cell phone that does not have a colour screen, take photos, play mp3s, sing, dance, or do backflips. Oddly, he does not find himself wanting one.

© Allen Pike. See also Twitter and Steamclock.