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What's Happened In Mobile Over the Past 10 Years 149

Posted by timothy
from the oh-nothing-much dept.
andylim writes "recombu.com has an article examining what's happened in mobile over the past ten years, including BlackBerry launching its first smart phone in 2002, Motorola launching the Razr in 2004 and Apple launching the iPhone in 2007. As a commenter points out, the first camera phone (Sharp J-SH04), which was released in 2000, featured a 110,000-pixel (0.11MP) CMOS image sensor, and a 256-colour (8 bit) display."
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What's Happened In Mobile Over the Past 10 Years

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  • In other news... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by djupedal (584558) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @06:46PM (#30566262)
    What's happened is that countries without legacy copper and overbearing telcos have leapfrogged the US in terms of, well....pretty much everything mobile.
    • Re:In other news... (Score:4, Informative)

      by CAIMLAS (41445) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @07:31PM (#30566540) Homepage

      Well, the nice thing about mobile technologies is that they've got a relatively low infrastructure cost compared to wired technologies. The spiderweb of cable needed is significantly less dense, and it can piggy-back on existing data telcom lines.

      Cellular tech also benefited in much of the world because they didn't have the initial 'heavy' cellular infrastructure to contend with - the legacy analog cellular crap. They also had fiber optics at their disposal, making the line cost significantly lower if anything did need to be laid.

      And most countries, particularly much of the European ones, have the advantage of having higher population density and smaller area. Even in countries like Albania (which I doubt has much for any connectivity) getting the whole country covered with modern data cellular would be much easier.

      Even still, it's possible to get a cellular connection of one sort or another pretty much anywhere in the US. I'm in one of the least sparsely covered parts of the US (from all carriers), which also happens to be one of the least populated. I can be tens of miles from the nearest person (forgive the hyperbole, but 1+ miles) or 30+ miles from the nearest town over 500 people and still get an SMS (or maybe a phone call) out. That's impressive.

      • Re:In other news... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Rakshasa Taisab (244699) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @08:19PM (#30566866) Homepage

        And most countries, particularly much of the European ones, have the advantage of having higher population density and smaller area. Even in countries like Albania (which I doubt has much for any connectivity) getting the whole country covered with modern data cellular would be much easier.

        Worth mentioning is that the countries in Europe furthest ahead in cellular technology, the Scandinavian countries, have very low population density even when compared to the US. And still they have coverage in pretty much all of the country. (Including many remote mountainous regions)

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          And also worth mentioning that their population is highly concentrated in a few areas. Like Alaska - very low density (very few people for a massive place), but 95% of the population is concentrated in Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Juneau. Much easier to roll out a technology.

          .
          For example, Finland. Just over 5 million people in that very large country, but 25% of them live in Helsinki urban area. Or Sweden, with 9.2 million people in that massive land area, but 30% of them in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Ma

          • You did read what the poster before you wrote about "still they have coverage in pretty much all of the country" and "including many remote mountainous regions", right? Not just the most concentrated areas.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jonwil (467024)

        Here in Australia, I have relatives on a sheep station half a days drive away from the nearest town and they can get a stable HSPA data connection through Telstra NextG (with an external antenna) and if they stand in the right place, they can even get a call out with a NextG handset.

        If Telstra can get service to somewhere with so little population density, there is NO excuse for the poor state of cellular service in the US.

        • by CAIMLAS (41445)

          A half a day's drive? How many hours is that? At what speed? Winding roads?

          I've driven (in the US, in the least populated part of the country) on relatively "back roads" (ie not interstates) for 4+ hours and still gotten 3G signal.

          Also, you have to realize that there is a lot more low-density population land out here than there is anywhere in Europe - both as a percentage wrt population as well as overall area.

        • Here in Wyoming, in the United States of America, I can be on a piece of property that's half days drive from the nearest town and get a stable EVDO connection AND make calls WITHOUT an external antenna.

          Apparently the guys over at Verizon are smarter than the ones at Telstra! They've engineered it so I don't have to lug around an external antenna!

          Also, you're talking out of your hat. People piss and moan about cellular service in the USA but it's NOT that bad. You are probably not familiar with Wyoming so h

      • by skrolle2 (844387)

        It's been ten years, and people on Slashdot still trot out this stupid apologetic drivel. It goes like this, every time:

        "The US is not #1 in mobile/broadband"
        "But the US is so large, it's harder to build infrastructure here!"
        "But do it better, and they have even lower population density."
        "Yeah, but all those countries have a highly concentrated population!"
        "No, are less urbane than the US and still do it better."
        "But..."
        "No, I'm sorry, the US is not #1 when it comes to this technology because your telcos

        • by skrolle2 (844387)

          But <list of countries> do it better

          No, <list of countries> are less urbane

          ...stupid me not previewing it properly...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Fred_A (10934)

      What's happened is that countries without legacy copper and overbearing telcos have leapfrogged the US in terms of, well....pretty much everything mobile.

      But it's difficult to keep up with the mobile market, it's such a moving target !

    • Re:In other news... (Score:4, Informative)

      by obarthelemy (160321) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @08:56PM (#30567138)

      Not quite true: I leave in France, where, when Al Gore invented the Internets, we where in a rather worse situation, telecoms-wise: single, nationally-owned carrier, high prices, quite good service, though.

      What they did, as in much of the EU I think, is force deregulation by
      - selling 3 nationwide GSM licenses, so there was competition right from the start
      - forcing standardization and interoperability by enforcing the GSM standard for all carriers, which helped with coverage and provider switching
      - Carriers also had to commit to cover an increasing percentage of the population, which is admittedly easier to do than in the US (France is a bit smaller than Texas, but has more than twice the population).
      - later, forcing number portability (you can switch provider and keep the same number)
      - above all, agreeing that the caller pays for calls, with mobile numbers set apart by a different prefix (06 = mobile, 01 = Paris, 04 = south east...). You used to be able to figure out which carrier someone was using by looking at the second couple of digits, but with number portability that is no longer 100% true.

      The one remaining issue, apart from Texts pricing, is pricing legibility: telcos are free to set up there tariffs as they wish, so it's very hard to come up with an apples-to-apples comparison.

    • If you look at it in certain way. It's a testament to growing popularity of cellphones throughout the world.

      In 2000 there were around 700 million subscribers globally. Now it's at 4.6 billion, and still growing rapidly. It's not about features, it's about phones that allow such numbers of connected people; this will be their most important impact on our civilization.

  • by homey of my owney (975234) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @06:48PM (#30566276)
    Which is still more than I need
  • by DG (989) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @06:51PM (#30566286) Homepage Journal

    Hey, mobile phone hardware designer types:

    The flip format is by far the superior design for a phone, as it allows the phone to halve it's length when not in use and simultaneously protects the screen and user controls.

    As much as I'd like to buy a cool phone like an iPhone or Blackberry, the "brick" format makes it a non-starter.

    Until then, I'm sticking with my RAZR V9.

    (Yes, the Blackberry Pearl is a flip - my wife has one - and that's not a bad phone at all. I *might* just jump at the next gen version of that)

    The other big selling point for me is battery life. Notwithstanding the decent media features on my V9, I never use it as a music player because that chews pretty heavily into the battery, and a phone's primary purpose is communications first. Maybe make a phone that has two batteries, and separates the "phone" functions from the "media" functions...

    DG

    • by peragrin (659227) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @07:07PM (#30566384)

      hey designers the flip phone is so last century. The brick format is far superior, allowing larger screen size, larger batteries, and larger buttons. not to mention the abaility to push a button to accept a call, not to have to use both hands too open the damned thing.

      flip phone suffer from breakage, and weak points in their overall designs(hinges can break) As much as I like retro old school toys please stop making them.

      Not everyone likes the same things. I have owned several of each style and i always seem to fall back to brick phones.

      • They are smaller than brick phones and the screen can be bigger.

        Besides, you can answer a call just by sliding the screen.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by peragrin (659227)

          sliders are 30% thicker, and you complexty in the form of the slide mechaism while stronger than flips is still a weak point.

          there is a reason why it is called a brick.

      • by feepness (543479) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @07:57PM (#30566720) Homepage

        Not everyone likes the same things.

        Which is why they should stop making flip phones?

      • by DG (989)

        Both hands to open? Seriously?

        All you do to open a V9 is kinda slip your thumb in-between the halves and snap it open, like an old-school Trek communicator. Easily done one-handed, and is an automatic muscle-memory for me now.

        And hinge mechanisms can easily be engineered to last; it just takes making hinge robustness a design priority. In fact, all the mil-spec rugged phones I was looking at recently were all flips.

        If you want a brick, hey, more power to you. But I want all those smartphone features in a fl

      • by mlts (1038732) *

        I like both designs. The candy bar style phone is great with a touch screen, large display, and many features. It makes a great work phone.

        However, I don't like being in "work mode" 24/7 unless I am doing a project or I'm on call. I like a basic featured flip phone because it is small, unobtrusive, and fits nicely in a pocket. If the flip phone gets dropped, splashed in water, accidently microwaved, or otherwise trashed, I'm down $15 to $40, the cost of a bubble pack generic GSM "pay as you go" phone.

        • There are cheap soap-bar phones too, including some dust and splash resistant ones.

          There's even a really small and cheap one, the one review I saw of it was quite positive:
          http://www.gadgetfolder.com/simvalley-pico-rx-80-phone-credit-card-size-and-only-25.html [gadgetfolder.com]

        • by peragrin (659227)

          I have one candy bar phone that has been dunked in water three times, and is still running strong enough that my mother uses it now daily. A cheap reliable form comes in multiple styles.

          now I am careful to not dunk my iphone but even that has survived a 12 foot fall onto concrete with only a scratch on the case, okay maybe a slight dent. but no cracked screen.

          Also my iphone isn't the companies but mine, I don't use it to check work related information unless I am actually getting paid by work to be there

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Flip phones == more fragile moving parts for hinges and flip sensors or extra LCD on outer clamshell == break in two if dropped while open. Kind of a hassle when you open your phone and it dosen't even know it's open. Meanwhile my ugly slab has a cracked screen but is otherwise fully serviceable and will stay that way for the forseeable future.

      Agree with you 100% on the battery life issue, though.
    • by tzanger (1575)

      Flip phones are not a superior technology; halving the length at the cost of doubling the thickness? No thanks.

      Some of us prefer a thin phone. You can keep your flip; I'll keep my bars.

    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      I agree, and I also own a Razr. I'd love to upgrade, but my carrier doesn't offer any flip-phone style devices at all except for the absolute cheapest entry level devices (the sort of thing that you give to kids for their first phone, all hard plastic and tiny screen).

      My flip phone is much longer, when opened, than a brick making it easy to talk on. It's screen is huge (essentially the full length of the phone), and the screen is miraculously unscratched despite years of heavy use (no small feat for somethi

  • Hmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by Achromatic1978 (916097) <robert AT chromablue DOT net> on Sunday December 27, 2009 @06:57PM (#30566316)
    An article? Hah. More like "ten bulletpoints that will take you a good 20-30 seconds to skim, but get us several ad impressions", including "insights" such as:

    2003 The Windows Mobile brand is launched with Windows Mobile 2003. Windows Mobile is widely used by businesses to do work on the move.

    Wow. Or:

    2005 Sony Ericsson launches a superb new camera phone called the K750i and a great music phone called the W800i. These two handsets establish Sony Ericsson as a serious consumer player.

    Awesome. Just awesome. If you think there's more depth than this, there's not. That is the sum total of the analysis of those two years.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Karganeth (1017580)
      I own a K750i you insensitive clod!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by andyjb (1625561)
      yes, petty poor in terms of insight. also a bit US centric really. I'm pretty sure Nokia released a product before 2006, and that they've been more than just an entry level phone manufacturer before and since (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nokia_products). Of course this was before they seemed to stop bothering, or got stuck chasing apples tail depending on your point of view. IMO windows has never released a noteworthy phone either.
      • by hitmark (640295)

        technically windows, or rather microsoft, have never released a phone on its own. Instead its all third party, including companies like samsung and HTC (especially the latter).

      • by ncc74656 (45571) *

        also a bit US centric really.

        A strange accusation, given that the article (such as it was) appears to have come from a British website. What are the odds they'd knock together a "US-centric" article?

        (Then again, complaints of this nature seem rather common here, so I shouldn't be surprised. You might want to get your knee looked at; if it's not jerking, it's at least twitching.)

    • There *is* more depth, take a look at the final item:

      2010 There are rumours that Apple is going to launch a larger iPhone/tablet device. Palm will hopefully announce a new phone at CES and everyone hopes that Nokia will unveil something amazing.

      Capiche ?

  • Notable hardware (Score:5, Informative)

    by ickleberry (864871) <web@pineapple.vg> on Sunday December 27, 2009 @07:12PM (#30566414) Homepage
    This deserves a mention, the legendary Nokia 6310i still has a thriving refurb market to this day. That thing is probably the highest quality mainstream phone ever made. http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2007/12/20/nokia_breakthrough_phone/ [reghardware.co.uk]

    3G (UMTS) turned out to be a bit of a disappointment with the required cell density there are only a few 3G-only networks in densely populated places like South Korea, 2G GSM is likely to stay around well into the LTE era.

    Satellite phone networks have also come a long way since the initial bankruptcies and unreliable services. There are now at least 4 Geosynchronous orbit satellite phone networks with handheld phones and the two LEO networks that went bankrupt both recovered and are planning to launch new satellites. The phones themselves also not half the size they used to be.
    • by hitmark (640295)

      it kinda helps that one can do, on theory at least, handover from UMTS to GSM. And with EDGE, data transmissions over GSM at least is acceptable unless one tries to do real time streaming or similar (and i understand there is a update in the works that will bump the speed even more).

      all in all, GSM, ones it got GPRS, have shown itself remarkably adaptable. I have recently learned that i can even pull of something similar to UMTS's data and voice at the same time, by diving its time between the data and voic

    • There's also predominantly 3G networks in Australia - one of the national mobile carriers has bigger coverage on UMTS/HSPA than on GSM. For a rural example, the 300km stretch from Mildura to Broken Hill has absolutely no GSM or 3G coverage after leaving Mildura, but UMTS works for 2/3 of the way.

      Cell density is required to be high in densely-populated areas with the current public appetite for data, but it doesn't mean that UMTS won't service large cells. People simply don't put the same demands on GSM cell

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What about Montgomery, Birmingham, or Huntsville?

  • Nokia N9000. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Luarvic (302768) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @07:35PM (#30566578) Homepage

    They missed the most important event of the year: launch of Nokia N900.

    • Sorry, the wrong subject. I mean, Nokia N900.

      • by quenda (644621)

        The ultimate geek phone!
        if you want to see your call log, just fire up Xterminal, get a root shell,
        and run the SQL client. Take THAT iPhone!

        Nokia-N900-42-11:~# sqlite3 /home/user/.rtcom-eventlogger/el.db
        SQLite version 3.6.14
        Enter ".help" for instructions
        Enter SQL statements terminated with a ";"
        sqlite> select * from events order by id;
        1|1|2|1260931699|1260931698|0|0|0|0|0|ring/tel/ring||333|||
        2|1|2|1260932190|1260932189|0|0|0|0|0|ring/tel/ring||041XXXXXX|||
        3|1|1|1260934518|1260934512|0|0|0|0|0|sofiasip/s

    • Re:Nokia N9000. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@@@ovi...com> on Sunday December 27, 2009 @08:35PM (#30567006) Homepage

      Interesting isn't it. I have been a fone geek since my my first in the trunk 3 watt analog radio shack branded Car phone. I have had at least one of every important cell phone as technology advanced. I never (before the N900) had one that would truly free me from a laptop.

      The N900 IS the most advanced (mobile computer that also has cell and viop phone functions) of the decade.

      I really do not understand why I am not seeing more about it.

      The reviews I do see are done by iPhone fanbois that can't get past the capacitive screen multi-touch which is not all that great for everything.

      I have chatted with many N900 users that after a month or so, are still finding new things.

      And, the N900 has one thing you can't find any where else. Real freedom. /rant off

      • by geekd (14774)

        No carrier subsidy = $571 (Amazon.com). THAT's why no one has it.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          But a cheaper monthly rate than many, so if you plan to keep it 2 years, ultimately cheaper than the iphone.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by lamapper (1343009)

          No carrier subsidy = $571 (Amazon.com). THAT's why no one has it.

          Or go radical, ditch cellular and go 100% WiFi. I did and I have some friends that did. One friend of mine did this prior to the first WiFi phones after two different cellular companies tried to stick him with additional illegal charges over more than 10 years. He switched to VoIP and Skype. Back in the day he was paying over $150 per month for cellular so reducing his yearly costs to around $60 per month saved him almost $2,000 per year.

          Today you can get cellular service by either Metro PCS or TMobile

      • by fm6 (162816)

        I have been a fone geek since my my first in the trunk 3 watt analog radio shack branded Car phone.

        Was that the one the was essentially a two-way radio that only connected you to a phone operator? You do go back!

        I never (before the N900) had one that would truly free me from a laptop.

        That's a pretty subjective criterion. No palm-size device will every free most of us from a laptop. On the other hand, I've known people who claimed their Palm Vs did just that. OK, no networking. But upgrade to a Palm with a MMC slot (the V+ was the last Palm not to have one) and stick a bluetooth card in it...

        The N900 IS the most advanced (mobile computer that also has cell and viop phone functions) of the decade.

        If you want a truly hackable phone, yea, it's pretty important. Most consumers will gi

    • But, but, but... I'm just getting used to my N900 and you want me to buy a N9000!

      Aaargh!

  • by jregel (39009) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @07:47PM (#30566648) Homepage

    Whenever mobile phones are mentioned on Slashdot, something akin to the following comment will inevitably appear:

    'All I want is a phone that makes calls.'

    I've never quite got my head around a tech site like Slashdot, where the demographic is almost certainly interested in new technology having such a negative response to technological advances in what our phones can do. You rarely [never?] hear this with other technology on this site:

    'I wish Windows 7 had less features. All I want is the ability to write a letter'
    'This 4Ghz Core 2 Due Hyperfighting Special Edition is too fast for me. I want a 68030 at 25Mhz'... instead we get 'Imagine a Beowulf cluster of...'

    Is it because the non-techie crowd have embraced mobile tech, in some instances more than us (given that some teenagers seem to text more than they speak) and we've been out done? Are the non-techies better at mobile tech than us?

    (Yes, I know that Slashdot doesn't speak with one voice, but I bet the comment appears somewhere in this article).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      'I wish Windows 7 had less features. All I want is the ability to write a letter'

      I actually do feel like this at times. When I need to get down to work, to write something without distraction, the modern desktop can actually be an overawing place. A stark white screen with black text focuses the mind wonderfully.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rantingkitten (938138)
        A stark white screen with black text focuses the mind wonderfully.

        Almost. But it's also like staring into a light bulb.

        I kind of miss those ancient word processors with white or green text on a black background that ran on old DOS machines. Great for just writing something with a bit of formatting thrown in, and fools the world over had no way to crap up their documents with fifty different font sizes, colors, and faces.
    • by loshwomp (468955)

      I've never quite got my head around a tech site like Slashdot, where the demographic is almost certainly interested in new technology having such a negative response to technological advances in what our phones can do.

      It's not that. New features are fine when added to a solid core feature set, but when bells and whistles come at *the expense* of basics like durability, call quality, ergonomics, and a whole host of human factors, then that's shitty.

      The transition from land lines to mobiles marked a significant regression in both call reliability and call quality. Similarly, the "race to the bottom" for cheap mobile phones packed with bells and whistles has left quality behind. It's become acceptable to have telephones

    • I wish Windows 7 had less features. All I want is the ability to write a letter

      I wish Windows 7 had fewer features. All I want is an OS, not an entertainment center loaded with DRM so that people who want to watch movies on their PC can do it without buying the "entertainment center" version. I don't want Aero Glass and the Sidebar and System Restore and all the other memory- and laptop-battery-wasting CRAP that Windows has accumulated over the years. When I use Windows, I use Windows 2000 or XP.

      I want a ph

      • by awyeah (70462) *

        I won't argue with you on the DRM and bloat - although I will say, with all that crap turned on and set to reasonable defaults - long gone are my days of trying to tweak every setting, I just don't have the time and patience for that anymore - my laptop on Windows 7 seems to get better battery life than it did on XP...

        • by argent (18001)

          XP already has a bunch of stuff running that it shouldn't. Turning that stuff off and turning it back into Windows 2000 is most of the tweaking I've ever done to it.

          I don't think I've been into "tweaking every setting" since I had an Amiga.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Pederson (1431413)
        Really? You consider an mp3, camera and browser useless? I don't know about you, but I don't feel like carrying around 4 different pocket sized devices everywhere I go. If I have to charge my battery every night before bed instead of having to charge 4 devices every two or three days while having to carry them around plus their chargers, I'll make that sacrifice. Slashdot is full of old guys whom just won't get with the times because they simply believe 'they're right'. Whatever, you'll be dead soon and we
        • I don't know about you, but I don't feel like carrying around 4 different pocket sized devices everywhere I go.

          You don't have to! There's a new technology called leaving it at home.

          I don't know about you, but I don't feel the need to carry around a cellphone/ipod/computer/camera everywhere I go.

          I don't need to listen to music all the time, and I don't need to be in touch with my friends all the time. I also don't need to take pictures of my friends and I all the time either, because they all look the same. My friends and I at a party. Woohoo.

          Kids these days make me sick. Always on their fucking phones y

        • by argent (18001)

          You consider an mp3, camera and browser useless?

          I don't consider them worth the cost in battery life. Having to charge every day means having to be prepared to charge it more often than every day, when you have a high usage day.

          No, I don't carry around "four different pocket sized devices". I consider the ability to make a phone call when I need to more important. Especially after having my first semi-smart phone go dead on me when I was trying to call my insurance company after an accident.

    • For me it's the opposite. I make frequent use of many of my phone's features: the browser, navigation, calendar/todo/notebook features, email, and so on... but I actually don't make calls all that often. Can they make me a cell phone without the phone (but with mobile data)?
    • by vadim_t (324782) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @08:13PM (#30566812) Homepage

      On my part, I used to be of the "All I want is a phone that makes calls" kind, but since then dropped that attitude.

      Years back, a phone could have a web browser, and a camera, but it was very likely that both things were going to be very half assed. So you'd get an expensive phone with bad battery life that'd be a pain to do web browsing on, and which would make really horrible photos. Also they were quite closed, and often the only option you had is to use the included crappy software or nothing at all.

      These days though, phones are shifting towards being a mini computer that just happens to make calls, such as the N900 for instance. And that is cool, and I'm looking forward to getting one. The ability of being whatever I want to do with it, including using skype is a huge advantage, and couldn't be had at any price just a few years back.

      • These days though, phones are shifting towards being a mini computer that just happens to make calls, such as the N900 for instance.

        That remark would be worth mod points if I had any left to spend. And for a very long time, that is something that a few companies, most notably Nokia, just didn't get when they designed their line of smartphones. It was as if they started with a mobile phone and added PDA-like features to it. The better smart phones started with a PDA and added phone functionality to that (which, if you already have a PDA, isn't all that much). Even Windows Mobile phones did far better in that respect than Nokia, for a

      • by houghi (78078)

        I am a person who only wants phone and sms. Those I mostly use to make an apointment with people so we see each other in person soewhere. I do not want a computer with me all the time. I detest blackberry people who are online all the time. If iother people are more interesting then I am, please go to them. Do not come to me and then chat with them.

        I rather plan my day around what I need to do. Not sitting at a PC and having actual contact with real people is very intersting. It is like live chat, but you c

        • by vadim_t (324782)

          I don't want to be online all the time either.

          For me it's for easy internet access at any time and any place. It can be handy if I get bored, or want to show somebody a photo I made, or to check product prices online when shopping to make sure I'm getting a reasonable offer.

    • by hitmark (640295)

      could be that the commenter is neck deep in sysadmin tasks, and dreads a phone with the complexity of a desktop computer, and as such will need the same level of care and maintenance.

      then there is the case that a phone have become something of a lifeline. It allows the summoning of all kinds of services. As such, one may not want some random feature to drain the battery while the phone is on standby in one pocket or bag, while on a extended outing away from a power grid socket, or some other source.

      personal

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      Whenever mobile phones are mentioned on Slashdot, something akin to the following comment will inevitably appear:

      'All I want is a phone that makes calls.'

      I've never quite got my head around a tech site like Slashdot, where the demographic is almost certainly interested in new technology having such a negative response to technological advances in what our phones can do. You rarely [never?] hear this with other technology on this site:

      Before the iPhone, I used to echo this luddite-sounding sentiment as well.

    • The slashdot crowd sits in front of a computer. All day. Every day. Why have a phone that does stuff other than making calls when you have a computer in front of you all the time?

    • by Spad (470073)

      "Proper" smart phones aren't a problem, it's the phones that try to offer the features of smartphones and end up with the worst of both worlds. You get crappy internet access (WAP) a crappy email substitute (MMS) a crappy camera, a crappy media player and to top it all off you get shitty battery life because of all these "features".

      If I want a smartphone I'll buy a smartphone, but if I don't buy a smartphone then I just want something that makes calls, handles text messages, has an alarm clock and has a dec

    • by selven (1556643)

      The problem is that without phones that just make calls, if you already have your all-in-one entertainment and productivity center (eg. a netbook) and don't need a duplicate you would still have to spend $500 on all those features.

    • by AbRASiON (589899) *

      We may be geeks with PC's and gadgets but the issues with smartphones are excess physical size, weight, cost and so on.
      I bet most people saying they don't want a camera on their phone have a 'proper' camera - hence the comments.
      For many many years I didn't want a damn camera on my phone, they weren't worth a crap. Then I got an iphone 3G - still kinda crap, upgraded to a 3GS and now I finally have a camera which is at least 'acceptable' and doesn't protrude from the rear, making it .5 -> 2mm thicker, unl

    • 'All I want is a phone that makes calls.'

      That kind of mirrors the Unix philosophy: do one thing and do it well. Are you surprised to hear that sentiment on Slashdot? Like others have mentioned, until recently, multi-function cell phones pretty well sucked at everything. Even if I never get an iPhone, I'm glad that they elevated the public's expectation of how a cell phone should work. Contrast with my old RAZR where the browser was a complete freakin' joke and all the extra half-assed features only served to clutter up the menus so that it was har

    • by forkazoo (138186)

      Whenever mobile phones are mentioned on Slashdot, something akin to the following comment will inevitably appear:

      'All I want is a phone that makes calls.'

      I've never quite got my head around a tech site like Slashdot, where the demographic is almost certainly interested in new technology having such a negative response to technological advances in what our phones can do. You rarely [never?] hear this with other technology on this site:

      'I wish Windows 7 had less features. All I want is the ability to write a

    • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Monday December 28, 2009 @01:42AM (#30568562)

      I've never quite got my head around a tech site like Slashdot, where the demographic is almost certainly interested in new technology having such a negative response to technological advances in what our phones can do. You rarely [never?] hear this with other technology on this site:

      The moderation system is largely responsible for this sort of noise. Lots of people raise popular-beat-to-death issues or post contrarian views just to get that +5 Insightful next to their name.

      I know this because I'm guilty of it.

    • Before the very recent N900 and some other fringe phones, mobile phones were like Windows, only worse: locked and you really can't do anything with them, and half the features cost an arm and a leg when they should be free. Hence, most people don't want them. Imagine if all phones were unlocked, texts, caller ID, and other features which don't cost the phone company any money were free. I think phones would have more positive rep then.

    • by Rick17JJ (744063)
      I only make about one call per week with my cell phone and do not use it enough to even remember how to adjust the volume. All I want is a cell phone to make calls. Any unnecessary complexity just gets in the way of my remembering how to just make a call or adjust the volume.

      I have memorized the several of my most commonly used phone numbers, which saves me from needing to know how to look up a telephone number in the cell phone. I keep a few other less commonly used telephone numbers on a card in my wall
      • by vlm (69642)

        I only use a total of several minutes per month. Cell phone are not designed or marketed towards customers like me.

        Same here. You're looking at the wrong marketing. Check out the "prepaid" providers like virginmobile. I went from paying Verizon around fifty dollars per month to paying virginmobile about ten dollars per month.

        Now, realize virgin mobile marketing material is heavily and exclusively oriented toward the "young ignorant urban minority poor" demographic group, so most other demographics (such as my own, being roughly the exact opposite) will find their marketing campaign to be repulsive if not downright of

    • by skrolle2 (844387)

      It's because the consumer electronics race causes manufacturers to fill their products with CRAP so that they get more feature bulletpoints or larger numbers they can use in their sales material, because stupid consumers think that more feature and larger numbers are better. That's why we have the megapixel race on compact cameras, even though more megapixels may in many cases produce worse images given that everything else is the same. What really matters is the quality of the optics and the quality and si

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      'All I want is a phone that makes calls.'

      I've never quite got my head around a tech site like Slashdot, where the demographic is almost certainly interested in new technology having such a negative response to technological advances in what our phones can do. You rarely [never?] hear this with other technology on this site:

      'I wish Windows 7 had less features. All I want is the ability to write a letter'

      I have a Droid, and while I love it (it's actually quite nice), it's a worse phone than my old flip phone.

    • by Inda (580031)
      And all those posts just show that people are uneducated and market driven sheep. Cheap phones that only make calls have always been available.

      http://direct.tesco.com/q/R.207-4006.aspx
      • by argent (18001)

        1. Things are different in the US.

        In the US, cheap phones that only do "phone stuff" cost *more* than fancier phones, because the major carriers include a "free phone" in their contracts (you pay for the phone whether you want to or not), and arrange their contract terms so that it's cheaper to sign a two year contract (free phone included) than go month-to-month for two years with your own phone.

        Even the low end carriers and PAYG plans include a web browser and usually a camera and mp3 player in THEIR chea

  • They still haven't sold me on needing one. I have a work phone, and if I lost use of it tomorrow, I doubt I would replace it. Possibly with the cheapest prepaid phone service I could find if it was guaranteed to work.

  • The quality of a camera isn't measured in megapixels. It depends on the quality of the optics and the sensor. A 10MP camera in a cell phone is only going to give you huge, noisy images.

  • That's an amazing amount of developments for a small city in Alabama.

    But I thought Blackberries were Canadian...

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