Smartphones have come to dominate the technology landscape. They’re how many of us interact with one another on a daily basis, and you can’t walk down any street without seeing at least a few people looking down at the bright screen in their hands. In fact, a recent mobility report from Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson projects that by the year 2020, there will be over six billion smartphone users. (That’s billion with a B.) Clearly, this is popular tech.
And why not? You can do so much with a smartphone, and the immediate responsiveness of touchscreen technology is wonderfully addictive. Plus, with monthly payment plans, a smartphone is mostly affordable, even for individuals on a tight budget.
While the case can certainly be made that we simply want a smartphone and don’t truly need one, having a smartphone opens up worlds of possibilities. Here are few reasons why many say that we do, in fact, need smartphones.
#1. Better Communication
It’s a phone first, of course, but unlike an old fashioned landline, having a smartphone on a cellular network means you can take calls from anywhere. And, with smartphones, long distance is a non-issue: calls are calls, whether they’re across the street or across the country. Text messaging is also much easier on a smartphone as compared with an old flip phone with a numeric keypad, and including emojis in texts can add a fun visual element in your conversations.
#2. Better Documentation
All smartphones come equipped with a camera to shoot both still photos and videos. And, if you’ve got a relatively new model, that camera can capture images up to 16 megapixels and shoot video in full HD. What this means is that for everyday snapshots and video snippets, you can leave your standalone digital camera at home.
With the inclusion of a built-in GPS chip on all smartphones, you can ditch your Garmin or TomTom and just use your phone for location and directions. It’s also great for runners and outdoor explorers, as a GPS can help track distance and location information. You’ll never get lost again! (Unless you’re out of range, that is, but will cellular networks growing all the time, being out of range happens less and less often these days.)
#4. Better Safety
If you’re out and in trouble, whether it’s because of a car wreck or a more serious personal situation, your smartphone acts as a lifeline to help. You can call or text for help, send location information, and keep your loved ones informed as to your status and your whereabouts.
#5. Better Social Interaction
OK, so using social networking apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and others are maybe not a necessity, it’s impossible to dismiss the fact that these networks are how we keep up with the lives of friends and family. Having a smartphone puts access to all of that information, as well as the ability to update your own profile, right in your pocket.
#6. Better Entertainment
Smartphones are certainly fantastic media consumption devices. You can attach a pair of earbuds (or upgraded headphones) to listen to music, and their crisp, large screens make them great for watching videos and even full-length movies. What many are discovering about their smartphones, though, is that they are ideal for reading books and other publications. Thanks to apps like Overdrive and Kindle for iOS and Android, you can treat your smartphone like a portable e-reader and catch up on your reading anywhere.
A Few Words of Warning
As with anything, there are a few downsides to owning a smartphone. For starters, if you’re always looking down at your device, you’re limiting your interaction with the real world; do this too often, and you risk being seen as antisocial or even addicted. It’s important to take breaks and even consider leaving your smartphone behind when you go out with friends.
Additionally, you should not, under any circumstances, interact with a smartphone while you are driving or doing any other activity that requires your full concentration. The only exception to this is if you’re using your phone’s GPS, and if that’s the case, turn on the audio directions so you can use it hands-free.
We Need Smartphones!
Ultimately, the best argument for why we need smartphones is that it’s important to stay up to date with technology and how things are done. Yes, there are naysayers and Luddites who will always resist technology simply because it is new and different. However, many people believe that the advantages of smartphones far outweigh the drawbacks.
The bottom line? Don’t feel badly that you’ve got such a powerful device in your pocket! Instead, take pride in the fact that your life is easier, more convenient, and even more safe, thanks to your smartphone.