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May 13, 2008

A Smartphone Without the Phone

       My old but
  dependable XV6700

Having moved to London, I've been in the quandary of what to do for a mobile device. My old smartphone, an XV6700 from Verizon, was a birthday present from three years ago. While awkward at the beginning, I did become quite attached to it (I thought maybe I could have the phone chipped over here and keep using it).

Or I thought I was addicted to the smarthphone.

What I've realized after having been without the phone connection, however, is that I'm addicted to the web, not to the phone connection or even the device.

In fact, I could almost care less about the phone. So I did use it for voice calls-- quite often in fact and with a full QWERTY keyboard, texting was a breeze-- but I've never used my personal mobile that much during the day for phone calls because of office line.

So until I picked up a new, cheap, pay-as-you go phone via Virgin, I was really only missing the mobile after work. And I will admit, looking for a flat in London without a mobile is almost a suicide mission; even with Google Maps, you still get lost.

What's surprised me is that the smartphone is almost as valuable as before, even without the phone service, because it has a wi-fi connection.

All of a sudden, I'm no longer dependent on Verizon for getting on the web, checking Gmail, sending Twitter posts, etc., I'm now dependent on free, open wi-fi hotspots.

But the fact that I can get by with almost 75% -85% of the my phone tasks without having the  smartphone on a phone network should tell you a lot; it's all about the web now.

Granted, I'm an early adopter so I everyone may not yet be at this stage but this case exemplifies where the world is going within the mobile market. Yes, we still want to talk and text each other, but damn it, just get me on the web somehow (and wi-fi hotspots, at least in a big city, are easy to come by) and I can get by just fine, thank you very much Mr. Dinosaur Teleco.

The telecoms aren't disappearing but their market is all about 1s and 0s now and that's a hard notion for them to grasp. And once the voice connections become better via VoIP and Skype on the smartphones, then the assumption that we still need a dedicated voice connection for our phones may start to crumble.

Could you get by with almost 75-85% of your must-have tasks without being connected to the phone network and only using the smartphone's wi-fi connection?

Now playing: Death Cab For Cutie - I Will Possess Your Heart


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