Thursday, May 19, 2011

New mobile phone

Way back in April 2008, I wrote that I had received a new mobile phone, a Nokia 6288. Slightly more than three years later, my phone got damaged somehow; as a result, the screen and keyboard no longer work, meaning that the phone is next to useless. I  could still receive calls, but I couldn't see who was calling me and I certainly couldn't phone anyone. Cue new phone.

The company distributed new mobile phones about two months ago; when I went to exchange my phone, it transpired that there was no phone for me. The person responsible for mobile phones in the company was embarrassed at first, but later remembered why there was no phone: IT people were receiving smart phones.

Not being a gadget driven person, I received this news with mixed emotions. I began dropping hints each time I met this person, but no smartphone materialised. With the death of my mobile, there was no alternative but to demand a new phone. It was not a smartphone, but rather a Nokia 3710.

I tried working with it a little, but found it not very conducive to my needs. I wrote a letter to my supervisor pointing out that I had been promised a smartphone, that my IT colleagues have smartphones and that I am being discriminated against. The fact that a few days before, my mobile computer had been taken for someone else and I had been given a heavier model which has no battery (which would have made it even heavier) - a non-mobile mobile - hadn't exactly improved my mood regarding equipment supplied by the company.

I was told that only sales people received smartphones, which is stretching the truth. The other IT people received smartphones so that they could learn how to use them and help the others who had received such phones. There are others who also have smartphones, but on the other hand, I saw several managers with lesser phones. 'Twas a shame about the promise.

The psychological aspects of this incident are intriguing: one's disappointment is matched by one's expectations. Had the man responsible for the phones not said that I would be getting a smartphone, then I wouldn't have been so disappointed. To be honest, I would prefer to continue with the Nokia 6288 instead of a smartphone, and certainly continue with the old model in preference to the new model.

I can barely hear the new phone ringing, even though I have increased its volume and placed it in my shirt's breast pocket. There is no USB cable supplied so that I can transfer ringtones and pictures saved from my previous phone. But aside from these carpings, there are some very strange design issues which make it hard for me to like the phone. For example, I frequently need to see the call log, especially calls which I have missed (probably because I didn't hear the phone). On the old phone, the log was quickly accessible, but not so on the new phone.

Another intriguing problem raised its head yesterday: someone phoned me and I wanted to store his number as a new contact. As on the old phone, this is not possible to do via the call log; one has to create a new contact and attach the telephone number to the contact. On the old phone, a contact is created by defining the surname and forename; the contact can exist without a telephone number. Once the contact has been created, one goes to the call log and attaches the number to the newly created contact. But on the new phone, one creates a new contact by first entering the telephone number and then adding the name. But I don't have the number! 

I can't attach the number to the contact because there is no contact and I can't create the contact because there is no number! Maybe the way out of this conundrum is to enter a dummy number, create the contact, attach the number then delete the dummy number. Too much work! In the end, I wrote the number on a piece of paper, then entered it when creating the new contact. Is there no such thing as copy/paste?

Thinking about the problems last night when returning from my MBA studies, I realised that the phone had been designed for a new generation of users who are much more interested in accessing the Internet and using the mobile as a general purpose device (phone, music player, internet browser) than old fogies like me who see the phone as a phone. That's why functionality which is connected to the Internet is easy to access, whereas more traditional functions have been shunted aside.

As I say, I am not a gadget driven person but neither am I a Luddite. Give me my old phone back (or at least, the same model which works)!

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