Turns out when they use the expression “smart phones” they expect like abilities on the part of the user. Not always the case. When we went out to buy smarty pants cell phones on Saturday it was readily evident which — or who — was what.
In all candor, it wasn’t that we actually needed new phones, but a highly hyped offer from Verizon was one we decided we couldn’t refuse. You know how it goes: sign up for another two years (both of us share one account) and you get billions off one phone and the other for free. You also know it’s something of a scam. Over that two years you probably part with two to three big ones, and more if you do some of the elaborate stuff, but we bit anyhow.
The list price for each of the Droid Incredibles (I think the Spanish pronunciation is cool) is around $500, but with the promotions and rebates (wait ’til you hear how that works) you pony up $185, making savings of what, $815. What’s not to like? We handed them the plastic and they brought out the hardware, plus optional screen protectors, optional protective covers, damage insurance papers and so forth. In addition, each phone was taxed at the list price. The actual total: $385.
About the rebates. No more instant rebates at the store, and no more checks in the mail — always late, but negotiable. Nope, the way it works now is that Verizon lays $200 (2 times 100) on your bill that can be removed with the credit you gain by sending in the end flap from each box. Lose those guys and you’ve lost the credit.
That was the easy part. Now try to operate the rascals.
Cute little machines. Very cute. But oh my, are they complicated. Remember your first couple of cells? They were telephones that you could carry around with you and you could talk to other people on them. Period. I recall a guy at the office whose cell had a ring that sounded altogether traditional. “Gee,” his friend said, “that sounds just like a real phone.” Yeah. Well, you can kiss that whole concept goodbye. What today’s kids want and wanted is a computer you can hide in your pocket and they’ve got it, and now so do we, and the learning curve is ferocious.
Get this: There are at least four methods you can use to make a phone call and an equal number to receive same. I’m not sure how many paths you can use to get your phone messages, but I’m guessing that there are three, but don’t hold me to that. Of course you can get the email from your home computer, but it took the two of us to find out how. Then again, if you don’t happen to have a home computer (imagine that), you can bang out messages from the phone (gotta stop using that word) on keys that were designed for the gecko on the GEICO ads.
Bored? Our phones came with 80 to 100 apps that range from the dash of a car to a way to use the camera lights as a flashlight. And if you’re really starved for entertainment, you can pipe in a wide-screen full-length motion picture that you can view on the two-inch screen; just think of how tired your arm(s) would get after the first hour or so.
But the thing that threatened to drive us crazy was how sensitive the keys were. I tried to use the numbers to renew a drug prescription this morning and screwed it up so many times I finally had to get the pharmacist on the line and talk to her, person to person. She laughed at me.
Still, I suppose we’ll get to love this latest misery from technology.com. I mean with all of the flashing graphics ( in the evening hours, the sun that resides near the clock changes to the moon — hoo boy!) and crazy bells and whistles, we are definitely modern…and unbelievably smart. Plus, friends are always impressed.
If they only knew.