|From luxury to necessity: cell phones dominate everyday life|
|Written by Chris Lee|
It’s always changing—always advancing.
This is a saying that is heard frequently when discussing technology and all the components that are being added each and every day to every aspect of technology.
Another saying that is always heard when purchasing new technology is, “I just bought this phone two weeks ago, and now there is a newer version available.”
Cell phones today are a way of life. Owning a cell phone just over 10 years ago seemed to be a luxury. Now people use their cell phones every day.
Smartphones have taken over the cell phone market. In 2002 Blackberry became the first smartphone optimized for wireless e-mail use. By 2009, the Blackberry had achieved a total customer base of 32 million subscribers.
Apple unveiled its iPhone in January 2007 and in just four short years, the iPhone has produced four different versions and helped catapult the smartphone market with its touchscreen capabilities.
The touchscreen of the iPhone helped pioneer a concept that is being used by most of the smartphones today.
Android has become the latest smartphone to break into the market and become popular with many people. Its features are similar to that of the iPhone, allowing consumers to download numerous applications.
Jonathan Prescott at Viaero Wireless in Holyoke said smartphones account for roughly 40 percent of their sales in Holyoke. That percentage only goes up in other markets. He noted the market in Holyoke is geared for a little older generation and demographic.
Prescott said he just recently set a family of five up with smartphones—something they are seeing more and more of.
“We are finding that people who move into a smartphone, stay with a smartphone,” Prescott said. “Once you have the power of information at your fingertips, you don’t want to lose that.”
John Pizzano at Radio Shack said they no longer are affiliated with Verizon Wireless and have cut way back on their cell phone sales. PC Telcom does offer its own mobile plan but smartphones aren’t part of their packages.
One of the big things cell phones have allowed society to do is send and receive text messages. Prescott said nearly every parent that Viaero deals with requests unlimited text messaging for their children. He said his generation grew up with AOL instant messenger which required the use of a computer. Cell phones have taken that two-way communication mobile and all but killed the instant messaging programs.
Pizzano added text messaging is more of a requirement now as opposed to a feature.
Phones today allow users to utilize handheld GPS, internet, e-mail, cameras, video and many other useful tools. Many of the these features began on home computers but have transitioned to cell phones.
Smartphones are showing up in the hands of nearly every age demographic. Prescott said he knows of a 12-year-old with a smartphone, which only shows how trends are changing and will continue to change.
Another interesting aspect of today’s technology is just how bad Americans rely on it. Prescott said he knows of people who will travel 30 minutes to a store, realize they forgot their cell phone and travel back to get it, even though their store trip might have only lasted five minutes.
Pizzano said there are people in the area who absolutely don’t want anything but a cell phone. Radio Shack offers prepaid phones which allow the consumer to purchase minutes for their phone. Text messaging is available on the prepaid phones but Pizzano said 80 percent of the people who purchase them don’t want anything to do with text messaging.
As technology continues to change, so will the age of Americans that use it. Communication vehicles will most likely continue to improve and advance.