Are We Dumb if We Don't Buy Smart Phones?

Let me get this out in the open: I have never owned a smart phone. Never!

I have thought about purchasing one soon (and am currently having an inner battle over this decision), but I’m not quite sure. Yet there is pressure on me to buy one of these phones too — it is almost expected that geeks own a smart phone these days to keep connected.

But if I stick with the dumb phones of today and forego the smart phones of tomorrow, does that make me dumb?

It's complicated.

The reasons that I don’t want a smartphone include the costs associated with purchasing a smart phone — actually, it isn’t the cost of the phone itself; instead, it is the cost of the voice and data plans that the mobile providers go crazy with. If I purchase a smart phone, I am essentially committing to paying well over two grand over the next two years to own this device. Is it truly worth it? Do I really improve my life that greatly with this device?

Also, is it worth the hassle of being stuck to a cell phone carrier for two years, and not being able to switch to whichever provider I choose (assuming I didn’t want to pay retail for a smart phone)?

I currently am on a month-to-month plan with Verizon, and I love knowing that I could leave them at any moment to go to another provider if I feel it is necessary. I, like most people, don’t like the idea of being tied down to something.

But here is the kicker: do I have any actual need for a smart phone? Don’t get me wrong: I need food, I need water, and I need shelter, but do I really need a smart phone? Do I always need to be checking my latest Tweets from Twitter or my Facebook account? Do I really need to have access to the Web at every single moment?

Reasons For

And then, with all the negatives in mind, we also have great reasons to have a smart phone.

The primary reason is that having a smart phone is the equivalent to always being connected to your friends, your work, your industry, and all the things you love. It is instant access to the world. A smart phone empowers you with information at your fingertips, and information is the most valuable thing a person can have.

Next, there is the fact that a smart phone is a tool that enables you to converse and network with people. It empowers social media, and social media could very well be the one thing that drives the future economy and future individual success. It is becoming far more critical for individuals to be on these social networking sites to market themselves, and I am no different, especially with the career path I have chosen.

Also, these devices are miniature computers. They offer almost all of the functionality as a full-sized laptop in the palm of your hands (without the nice keyboard). Who wouldn’t want this? People are not going to haul around a chunky laptop in their car whenever they go out, but a smart phone is perfectly acceptable for this.

Finally, smart phones offer so much more functionality than your typical dumb phone, and it almost isn’t even fair to compare.

But here is my true inner conflict: if I was going to pay $1,000 over a two-year span for a dumb phone, why not pay twice as much and get several times more functionality and usage out of a smart phone?

Ugh. Who knew such a dumb problem for a smart person could be so complex?

Written by James Mowery

James Mowery is a passionate technology journalist and entrepreneur who has written for various top-tier publications like Mashable and CMSWire. Follow him on Twitter: @JMowery.
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