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Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Smartphone

Cell phones are an integral part of daily life for many people in the world today. In both public and as well as in private many people in today’s society interact with their cell phones constantly to some degree; whether it is checking messages or emails, playing games, or talking. However these are not regular cell phones but the new age smart phone. The first generation cell phone had one function, making and receiving calls. As cell phones progressed the number of functions they could do increased dramatically. The cellphone of today also called the smart phone is in essence a handheld computer as well as a mobile device. Smartphones are different than the previously used cell phones because of their vast range of abilities as well as their operating systems. The cell phones of the past are barely a memory for the new generation of cell phone users. Basic smartphones now come with at the least short message service (SMS) or text messaging, games, and most are equipped with a camera. Cell phones seem like a beneficial progression into the future because it allows people to be on the go but still be accessible. Business can now be done on the go, and things that you previously had to do on the computer can now be done in the palm of your hand. However all these advances come with a price and negative aspects are beginning to arise such as the dependence on cell phones and the legal problems that come with these smart phones.

What started as the wanting to be able to communicate on the go has transformed into a hand held device with capabilities akin to a computer. The first cell phone was invented in 1973 by Motorola. However it would take years and many communicating devices in between before the cell phone really took off. In 1994 Bell South released what was called the first smart phone. The cell phone was big and bulky but had more functions than phones previously. These first smart phones were more PDA than cell phone but their abilities were novel. It wasn’t until the start of the twenty-first century that cell phones deemed smartphones were more readily marketed. These cell phones could use Wi-Fi like previous cellphones but unlike the older cell phones these phones had full access to the internet. A smart phone is defined as cellular telephone that has voice service as well as internet access. It has a myriad of applications that are downloadable as well as built in applications, web browsing, text messaging and email. Smartphones became the phone of the business world in the early years of its creation. It was made for the corporate world because it had day planners, ability to send and receive calls, email, and ability to send and receive fax. However before long it was not only business people wanting smartphones but the general public as well.

The smartphone have been a stepping stone in changing the world we live in. Smartphones have an insurmountable amount of abilities. New applications and programs are made every day that are downloadable to smartphones. Operating systems like the android makes downloading and customizing cell phones to the individual not only easy but instinctive. These operating systems are faster and have greater capabilities than previous systems. Smartphones are developed to try and fill any desire or need you would have. It has feature such as calendars, notepad, email, fax, GPS, games, still and moving video, contact lists, e-reader applications, blood pressure monitoring, as well as direct links to social networking sites. All these things make the smartphone desirable because it makes life easier for the user. If the user does not want to go on the computer to check their Facebook or email they can do that from their phone. It allows you to interact and stay connected with people in the new virtual climate. A virtual culture has been created around social networking sites and smartphones are a feature of this virtual culture. There is no need to buy expensive GPS systems because the feature is built in on the phone. In result of the smartphone making email and social networking sites so accessible it makes response time cut down. Where in the past the need for a computer to email, causing the wait between responses longer, now the response can be almost instantaneous. This is good for business people and for people in their daily lives for example Helen Rude who talks about her smartphone, the IPhone, aiding her in her job search: ‘“I don’t know if it’s really an expectation, but if another job candidate returns an e-mail message eight hours later, and you get back immediately with a message that says ‘Sent from my iPhone,’ I think it has to be a check box in your favor”’ (Lohr, 2009). The smartphone is beneficial because like Hanson stated it allows us to keep in contact with our peers in a virtual environment in which marketing and business is generated and maintained a great deal through social networking sites and virtual interaction.

Social Problems-
Although many of the aspects of the smartphone are advantageous there are many problems that have arisen from it. As many smartphones are now equipped with full keyboards, to make email and text messaging easier, the number of text messages sent out have increased vastly. Text messaging has become a big problem in this country. According to Johnson studies have shown that people who text message excessively have an increased risk of tobacco, alcohol, and drug use (2011). There are problems with people text messaging while they are driving and getting into car accidents. It has become such a problem that according to Child many companies like OnStar, Ford, and Nokia are implementing changes, like cars that read text messages to you, to curb texting and driving (2011). The smartphone promotes text messaging by marketing and supplying features that advocate text messaging.
The cameras provided on the smartphones have also caused controversy because of sexting and child pornography. Sexting is sending nude or sexually geared text messages to another person. There have been several documented cases of this which is illegal in most places in the United States and can garner such severe charges as distributing pornography. Child pornography has become an issue because “technology have made creating and sharing the illegal images easier than ever, fostering what authorities fear is a growing audience” (Howard, 2010). Camera phones like smartphones have made it easier for people to distribute porn because it is as easy as clicking the picture on the phone and from there it can be sent to hundreds of people via picture messages.
Another major concern with smartphones is that it is becoming too addicting. They have become so convenient that people are constantly on their phone. The negative effects of using smartphone obsessively “have been well documented, including distracted driving and the stress of multitasking” (Lohr, 2009). People become accustomed to using their smartphones for everything and at times do not see the negative effects that it can have. Another problem that arises with smartphones is the price. Smartphones themselves are expensive but then the user has to also pay for data plans, talk plans, and messaging plans. However despite this people will buy smartphones for the conveniences they supply. Hanson talks about college students who “balks at paying fifty dollars for a textbook but thinks nothing of paying two-hundred dollars for the latest cellphone”(Hanson, pg.6). Cellphones have become a symbol of status which lures people to splurge for the best even if they cannot afford it. The prices of buying and maintain a smartphone can be daunting especially with the economy today.

Security Problems-
Smartphones has many security problems. Passwords, credit card numbers, private emails, etc. can be saved on a smartphone. However many people do not realize that a smartphone like a computer can get viruses, spyware and malware. These phones can be hacked and private data stolen. At times this is very easy because people do not properly protect their phones. Smartphones, like many other non-smartphones, come with the ability to password lock the phone. When this feature is not use, if the phone is lost or stolen private data can be found on the phone. This is a serious problem for the smartphone because many people store more of their private data on it than on regular phones simply because smartphones are used like miniature computers. This has become such a problem that many government facilities refuse to let their employees use personal smartphones for job duties just in case the phone is stolen.

Smartphone sells are increasing. Smartphones are innovative and new so most phone companies are trying to keep up with the new smartphones. As they continue to grow and continue to make life easier they will eventually replace all cellular telephones. The features of the smartphone will eventually become mundane and new features will be created. People are relying on their phones increasingly more in their daily lives and smartphones cater to that need. Smartphones will become increasingly sophisticated and complex till the smartphones of this generation will seem as outdated as the first cell phone seems to this generation.

• Apte, P., Bottoms, W., Chen, W., & Scalise, G.. (2011). Good things in small packages. IEEE Spectrum, 48(3), 44-49. Retrieved February 28, 2011, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 2277598111).
o This journal was helpful because it showed how they advances in smartphones are being made. It also went into some detail about the specifics of how smartphones are able to process and function. It also talked about how and why phones get smaller and more compact
• Child, C.. (2011, January). Curbing driver distraction. Automotive News, 85(6449), 52. Retrieved March 3, 2011, from Research Library Core. (Document ID: 2265934161).
o This article helped me to see how big of a problem texting and driving is. It talked about progressive measures that are being implemented because of texting and driving.
• Hanson, J. (2007). 24/7: how cell phones and the internet change the way we live, work, and play. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.
o This book was very helpful because it went very in depth into how cell phones affect society. It started how changes have occurred in our society from the time cell phones were made till today. It also talked about the different impacts on society cell phones have.
• Johnson, T.. (2011, January). Excessive texting, social networking linked to health risks for teenagers. The Nation's Health, 40(10), 11. Retrieved March 3, 2011, from Health Module. (Document ID: 2242578921).
o This article was helpful because it gave other possible social problems related to texting and smartphones. Things like alcohol use, smoking, sex, and other various habits I did not know about.
• Klemens, G. (2010). The cell phone: the history and technology of the gadget that changed the world. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Publishers.
o This journal was very helpful because it was about the history of cell phones. It told a lot about how phones technology changed but also it talked some about the result of cell phones becoming so advanced.
• Lohr, S (2009, June 9). Smartphone rises fast from gadget to necessity. New York times, Retrieved from
o This website told about how dependent people are on smartphones. It gave many good examples of how people are addicted to smartphones. This site was helpful in getting real life applications to information I had.
• McBeth, J. (11 February). OPINION: So hung up on the mobile phone. McClatchy - Tribune Business News. Retrieved February 23, 2011, from ABI/INFORM Dateline. (Document ID: 2263608261)
o This article I used just to get a perspective of someone who did not like the cell phone. I had found a lot of good things about the smartphone previously so I used this to see some of the negative aspects.


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