Late to the smartphone party (just a wee bit)


Hi everyone.

So. Where to begin.

I think ya’ll will find this fascinating simply because of the inherent interest we have in statistical disparities. So here it is in a nutshell: I bought a new smartphone last week.

My … first smartphone. And I’m 45 years old. And a tech enthusiast who has owned a variety of personal computers, laptops, tablets, game consoles, MP3 players, you name it.

Yes. Chalk it up to the fact that I was sticking to a simple principle, the notion that I *really* didn’t think I needed one. What I was mainly concerned about was simply having something to make phone calls in the case of an emergency. I always thought, when I’m out and about, my first priority is to concentrate on the task at hand. If I was at the grocery store, I would be trying to decide between Cap’n Crunch or Cocoa Puffs, not checking Facebook.

Was there *ever* a time where I felt the need to look up something online when I was not at home? Not at first, but admittedly, that desire started to grow.

So I’ve been relying for many years now on feature phones. I’ve been a TracFone customer for a long time, and it suited my needs. The occasional call? Check. The occasional text? Check. Affordable? Check.

But I have to admit, recently, something happened. Things reached a boil, and I decided I wanted to upgrade to something better.

So I purchased a smartphone that made sense for *me*. Nothing fancy. In fact, it’s another TracFone. Specifically, an LG Rebel 2, but it does run Android Marshmallow, and it’s a step up in every way from what I had.

Okay, sure, it’s an entry level phone. (If I had to be totally honest, I guess it could be called “low end,” but that makes me feel so icky.) But here’s the thing … for my first smartphone, I don’t think it *needs* to be more advanced than what it is.

I’ve been using it for a few days now, and it’s … fine. Maybe there’s a little lag here and there, but overall the performance is okay. (It has a 1.1 GHz quad-core Snapdragon.) The internal storage is only 8 GB (yikes), but I added a 16 GB microSD card that I had laying around, and it’s allowing me to move many (but not all) of the apps and games I’ve been downloading to that card. The screen quality is good. It’s an attractive design and it’s light. As far as I’m concerned, this qualifies as “good enough” for me personally.

So, sure, I won’t be able to push this phone the way one would be able to with a flagship that had much higher specs. But that’s okay — I don’t need it to do any heavy multitasking. Doing some Googling (or Binging), browsing websites, the occasional video, running a couple apps here and there. It’s probably up to the task.

And the best thing about it is, since it still operates under the same TracFone payment system, I only pay for what I need. Over 1,700 of the minutes I had on my old phone were able to transfer over. I added 1,000 texts for $5. I then added 1 GB of data for $10 (I know that’s not a lot, but I can always add more). It all gets rolled over as long as I don’t miss my next deadline.

Now, I’m sure many of you may be reading this and kind of wondering how someone could put up with some of these … limitations. That’s because I have the feeling that the majority of the hard-core tech enthusiasts on this site are used to higher-end hardware based on more-or-less unlimited plans.

And I also must say, I have no problem with people buying what they want. Just because *I* don’t have an iPhone 8/X or a Samsung Galaxy S8 doesn’t mean that nobody should.

But I have to start somewhere, and I didn’t want to go overboard with my first purchase (budget and income are factors). I have the feeling that down the road, I’ll move up a tier. But this is fine for now. Hey, if I’m at home, I’ll use the Wi-Fi, not the data.

What’s so strange is that I think I *get* it now. I understand the purpose of this thing. It’s a computer in your pocket that you can make your own and take almost anywhere. And I find myself now researching and reading articles about mobile computing as well as watching videos about various phones, even phones I know I’m not buying. It suddenly has become all so fascinating. (And believe me, it used to be extremely easy for my mind to wander whenever the conversation turned to phones.)

I was actually wondering if I could make the argument that for someone like me, it simply made *sense* to wait it out until the market became mature (like *really* mature, apparently). I’m not sure about that one, but it’s an interesting idea to ponder. After all, look at other forms of personal computing technology. Maybe the first PCs were invented in the late 1970s and the early 1980s, but didn’t it take almost two decades before they were commonplace in the average household?

Now, I still plan to stick to some serious guidelines. I refuse to use my phone while I’m driving, be it talking or texting. And I plan to obey the rules of smartphone etiquette. And I think we *all* need to disconnect now and then, go outside, and just get some fresh air.

But yeah, I’m glad I have one now. I’m glad I can communicate with the people in my life using this tool. And I’m glad I can now travel the information superhighway no matter where I am.

So thanks for reading. Hopefully others who are still holdouts might read this and have the same epiphany. Or not. At any rate, I’m just glad we live in such amazing times, and I hope that it keeps getting better.

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