The PhabletGuru Dumb Phone Challenge

-I will start with this sentiment, retrospectively speaking, the last two weeks have been enjoyable yet challenging and sometimes frustrating. It’s kind of like the whole, it’s a great place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there, thing. I’m not going to lie… I definitely missed my smartphone. Taking it all in at first, was a difficult task. I can say that the experience was an enlightening one and that it made me appreciate the advancements in mobile technology we have today as compared to then.

– There was a time not long ago in the twilight of the cell phone universe when the flip phone was king. The flip phones hearkened a design borrowed from star trek and adorned with a neo-retro feel to them. A time once existed when these phones were the “bee’s knees'”, the “cat’s pajamas”. I give you the first of more to come “Challenge” series.

-Let’s start this thing off with the positive side of things, both with the experience and the phone in general. The phone I chose for this two week challenge was one I have fond memories of and remembered enjoying. It was LG’s Fusic flip phone on sprint that got me excited for mobile technology. The phone was originally released in the U.S. in May of 2006 on the Sprint network. I purchased it shortly thereafter. There were several reasons I wanted this phone, first and foremost the fun design with its interchangeable colored face plates. Additionally it had expandable storage built in mp3 player and F.M. transmitter a first on any cell phone. Frankly this feature is still cool in my opinion.

– There were a lot of little things that were oddly enjoyable. Such as the extremely small size and the gentle thumb flip open to answer calls or the flip close to hang up, it felt natural as it always did. I remember nothing more satisfying than angrily hanging up on someone by slamming the top part of the clamshell shut forcefully. This phone also had things I wish modern smartphones still had such as a dedicated camera hardware button and removable batteries. It even had a feature that iPhones still don’t have, live wallpapers. I had forgotten that you could record videos with the built-in camcorder and easily and quickly use a video as your live wallpaper it would automatically loop it, not bad for 2006.

– Speaking of features available on a twelve year old flip phone yet not on the new $1,000 iPhone X… you can make custom ringtones or notification tones using existing music! You can even score music on virtual manuscript paper by either humming or placing notes using the keypad and directional pad. It’s extremely simplified and not very intricate but impressive nonetheless.

-As a side note, thinking of iPhones earlier, look how thick this phone is compared to an iPhone 6s plus. Though, it was much much shorter and narrower.

– After the acclamation period, I became aware that I engaged in more conversations with people, reached for my phone less and focused on other areas of day to day life I normally would’ve either not perceived or perhaps not even done. This was somewhat refreshing… somewhat. I must admit though, that I had my Galaxy Tab A with LTE with me for emails, Facebook, YouTube etc. for the first few days.

– After those first few days I weaned myself off of taking my tablet with me to work. In my pocket was the flip phone and on my wrist the Gear s3 Frontier. Now some might consider this still cheating as was the case of the tablet. I’ll admit the tablet was cheating, which is why I quit taking it with me everywhere. However when the watch isn’t paired to a smartphone it works using WiFi and this is a feature I need in my line of work. I work in the mobile industry. Certain things are needed. Besides the fact I could only get notifications and couldn’t respond to some of them. The Gear S3 isn’t LTE enabled. But this is still an exciting way of operating. Utilizing a flip phone smart watch combo was interesting if just a little excessive for the 2 week flip phone challenge.

-I got over the honeymoon phase pretty quickly however, when texting made its way into the forefront of necessity. I’m extremely glad we ditched T9 word to say the least. After years of using full QWERTY keyboards whether virtual or even physical, this old school way of typing seems rudimentary at best. Switching between the modes of manual typing and T9 word typing I realized both were very clunky and not as quick as I remembered them to be. The autocorrect and or Auto populated word suggestions were okay kind of, but my god it took forever to compose a six sentence text message.

– There is a major downside I must mention here. My particular phone was a “pre” 3g phone. And Sprint doesn’t support those frequencies or network anymore, you all remember .wap sites. So this phone, although it had web capabilities, has become a talk and text only phone. Which is not nor was not my intention. The Mp3 aspect provided some entertainment as well. Nonetheless I made it with the help of my smart watch. It would be different if I had access to the web on my phone. Perhaps my next challenge will involve a newer old phone.

-This experience has made me appreciate the modern mobile space we take for granted. I often use my calculator at work there is none on my flip phone. I use the flashlight built into the OS of my phone a lot as well… the dim light on the screen of my Fusic was not sufficient. I often Google search problems and solutions in my line of work, on this flip phone that was impossible. We utilize a group message for communication at work, I couldn’t do that either. There was no GPS, WiFi capabilities or social media. I have a respect and awe for how fast things have evolved with the cell phone industry.

-I am pleased to announce this PhabletGuru has his phablet back. The LG of 2006 comes nowhere close to the sheer awesomeness of the LG V30+. As always party on phablet, party on guru.-


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