Today the 18-month War of the Phones has finally ended. Those of you that have been following our story may recall my frustrations at dealing with my 2.5 year old phone at the beginning of our BNN year. I have since learned that the average life span of a smartphone is believed to be somewhere between 18 and 21 months. I guess can feel some sense of achievement that my Galaxy S lasted me 44 months, which is at least double the average phone. I haven’t used it less than other people, or treated it better, or protected it more from dirt and damage. I’ve just been persistent and I have never once coveted a newer model.
In order to use my phone in any usual way I had to be willing to research fixes and curious back door pathways. To phone someone required me to have the phone plugged in at all times. To text took an average of 5 – 10 minutes. Sometimes it took my phone up to 30 seconds to register a word when I typed or swyped it into a text. It would take an unseemly amount of time to open any apps and if I clicked on something more than once (think it hadn’t registered it the first time) my phone would often jam and shut down. I couldn’t use my camera (it took so long to take the photo that the subject was almost always gone by the time the shutter snapped). If I did manage to photograph a stationary object I definitely could not upload said photo to social media. What I could do is play solitaire. For about three minutes before my battery shut down. I could receive texts, and notification of missed phone calls (often the phone hadn’t even rung).
I’m not saying I’m some kind of technological saint, but I was more persistent than most people would be. Today, after trying to call me for three hours and being transferred straight to message bank, BP told me he was putting his foot down.
“I’m taking you to the *insert generic phone company name here* shop and you are getting a new phone.”
But…I’ll end up paying more.
But…I have no service at home anyway!
But…I’ll have less data.
But…I don’t want to get locked into a contract.
But…I don’t want a new phone.
“Mama! Enough. You are getting a new phone.”
I actually felt physically sick on the drive to the shop. I was certain I was going to get sucked into some deal I couldn’t get out of, that didn’t really suit my needs. I knew that I was going to have to get a new phone. I’ve been researching reconditioned and second hand phones and I haven’t found any that were affordable or that I could confidently spend hundreds of dollars on. I know that some of those phones may have been barely used and were only being passed on because the previous owner had upgraded, but how was I to know which ones these were? I had long ago accepted that this is something I’d need to buy / obtain new. My old phone will be destined to the Melbourne Zoo to help raise money for gorilla protection.
On the way into the store I grabbed a pamphlet and was stunned to learn that I could get a new phone (two models up from my current phone and two models down from the most recent model) with the data and calls I’d need for $15 less a month than I was currently paying. Yeah, I took a data cut and I have also made a commitment for another 24 months. I think it’s worth it for, in this case, the convenience of having a phone that actually functions and also paying a lot less than I have been. Although we had a squirming, exhausted toddler, and the whole process took a lot longer than predicted (mainly due to my old phone being an arsehat) it was surprisingly painless.
Ultimately, although I hate to admit it, I think this shitty bit of expensive, overrated technology is actually going to make my life simpler.
Due to a new job which will require decent phone and internet access BP has also upgraded to his first ever smartphone. I think he is partially mourning the buttons on his old phone and partially revelling in joining the rest of the pack in their general swipe-ish behaviours.
We walked out of the store with two new phones and no exchange of money. It was a strange experience and I could see how easy it is for people to be sucked into upgrading, upgrading, upgrading all the time.
I’m torn between the feeling that I have cheated on my ideals (the phones won) and the feeling that we have done well to hold out so long (Fearses won). We may never definitively know who won this war, but either way, it is over (until next time…)