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In news that will be a massive surprise to anybody under the age of 21, smartphones have only been around for 10 years. It’s longer if you count the various prototypes and limited release devices, but the first iPhone was 10 years ago. And, of course, it’s the iPhone that really changed the world.
Flip phones, though, have been around for a lot longer. Flip, clamshell, call them what you want, might be less widely used than 10 years ago, but they’re still here. The reason is that not everyone wants or needs a smartphone. Also, not everyone wants to pay high monthly charges for data they won’t use. Finally, some people just prefer them.
But can a flip phone ever really compete with a smartphone? Well, no. And here’s why.
Okay, yes, it’s a little superficial, but it’s true. The fact is that smartphones look great, and flip phones look functional. That’s okay for old people, but we hipsters need a little something more. Something we can wave about in the street and be proud. Something we can speak too loudly into so that strangers stare at us, seeing our great looking phones. But, kidding aside, smartphones are as sleek and sexy as a phone has ever been.
Glass and metal are cool. Even plastic that looks like metal is cool. Add recent innovations like wrap-around displays and 4K resolutions, and smartphones are just cooler.
Flip phones are like the East Germany of the cell phone world. They look like they will work, and they will, but they also look dull and lifeless. There’s nothing wrong with that but, well, we like a little bit of good looks in our electronic devices.
It probably depends on what you need from a phone, as to whether a flip phone will get it done for you. We know, after all, that there’s nothing a smartphone can’t do. From calls and texts, to breaking news and GPS navigation, a smartphone has it all.
With a flip phone, once you’re past calls and texts, there’s not a lot else to write home about. You can send emails, perhaps, and browsing might be technically possible, but neither are particularly pleasant experiences.
Despite that, we will give a nod to how robust flip phones are. Whether we talk about the hardware or the software, both just seem to run and run. Unlike smartphones, which date horribly, flip phones will just about last forever. But that’s not really enough for most people.
When we spend money on something, we like it to please us, to impress us, to want us to love it. Flip phones don’t do that. Yes, they command respect, but only because they are almost impossible to break. We’ll take a fragile smartphone display over dull functionality any day.
Tools or Toys
This is an easy one. A flip phone is a tool, no more. Like we said above, it will make calls and texts very efficiently, and it is very robust in every sense. But it’s boring. Boring, boring, boring. It’s like owning a power drill. It’s okay while you’re drilling a hole, but not much use for anything else so it stays tucked away in the garage somewhere.
Smartphones are both tools and toys. You can, if you wish, run every aspect of a business from a smartphone. From organizing schedules to paying bills. Attending meetings via video to checking traffic. Tracking deliveries to checking weather. There really is nothing a smartphone can’t do, and is the greatest multi-function tool available. A digital Swiss Army Knife, as it were.
But if you want to play games, watch movies, listen to music, you can do that too. You can chat with friends, engage strangers in debates about the merits of your dinner plate. If it can be done, you can do it on a smartphone.
You can’t do any of that on a flip phone, or almost any of it. You can listen to a few music tracks, and some will playback video. But the storage options are woeful, so expect maybe a few dozen mp3s, or 1 video file of terrible quality.
It’s not even a contest, if we’re honest. If you do think you just want to make calls and send texts, you’re wrong. You just haven’t realized it yet. Once you’ve owned and used a smartphone, you’ll wonder how you managed without it. In fact, you’ll start wishing you’d gotten one years ago. Seeing what the fuss is about is half the fun. Adding to the fuss is the other half.
Short of medical equipment, a smartphone is the most important device available to us today. It’s not a gimmick, that will be gone in a year or two, it’s here to stay. Isn’t it about time you put aside your prehistoric-looking flip phone and joined the cultural revolution?