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Mobile investment

January 26, 2007 ・ Blog

For reasons I’ll most likely go into very soon, I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about transitory things and how one doesn’t invest much in something that one knows won’t last. Grappling this morning with my new mobile’s obscure refusal to allow Opera Mini to work, I started thinking about how sadly temporary mobile phones feel.

Replaced by a “free upgrade” every year, it often seems futile investing in them the time in making them mine. As a result, they always have an edge of awkwardness, because I can’t be arsed to iron out the little quirks that prevent them from being perfect - well, good - companions.

I’d really like these plastic shells to stop feeling so temporary. Perhaps phone makers could start designing facsias that are meant to last more than a year, both functionally and aesthetically, that allow you to slot new components in as they become obsolete? Vertu (to justify its breathtaking price range) does this to some extent already, so it must be possible on some level or other.

It should be also easier to transfer your phone’s soul to another - its settings, wallpapers, ringtones, Java games and applications, text messages and contacts, notes, calendar, photos and movies. It’s not enough to simply transfer the rudiments of personality embodied in their SIM cards.

Why does this matter? Well, I think its all too easy for technology designers to forget getting people to hang on and appreciate the present, even as their products continue their headlong rush towards carrot-and-stick promises of perfection.