The Friday Rant - 30.03.12

Are we coming to the end of mobile phones with nice big buttons that do nothing more than make calls and sent texts, or are touchscreen phones going to take over the world and end up ruling our lives ? Yes, I have ranted before about how I believe mobile phones might cause us to evolve in certain ways, but this time it's about the phones themselves and how I despise touchscreen phones with a passion - like I despise trackpads on laptops as opposed to a good old fashioned mouse.

Sometime late last year I sorted out my annual mobile phone upgrade - is it just me or are mobile phone batteries seeming to last about a year only before they die a death ? Anyway, I asked the perfectly nice person on the end of the phone for a mobile with big buttons and a decent battery life - she said I should go for some Nokia that had big buttons as well as a bit of a touchscreen if that make sense. "Perfect for (old fashioned ?) customers like you who might want to see if they like touchscreens before they take the full on plunge into hell sometime in the future", that kind of thing. I even for a second or two thought it might be a bit of fun to actually have a half touchscreen, half big button phone. How wrong I was.............

I hate them, I hate the, I hate them. I hate touchscreen phones. They make me want to jump up and down on them with my spiked wading boots and crush them to dust. Did I say that I hated them ? Now I embrace all kinds of technology for my work and I am all for technology making certain things better (debatable I know), but for the life of me I can't see any benefit to a mobile phone that needs to have its frigging screen literally caressed in exactly the right way or otherwise you end up turning a camera on, connecting to the internet, or missing the contact you were trying to scroll down to when in the end all I was trying to do was to turn my keypad lock on. Press or scroll wrongly on the screen and you end up calling somebody you never meant to or sending an abusive text message to your grandmother. Yes, I accept that one of these iPhones might be better, but my first experience with a little touchscreen has been a disaster and I despise them. Am I the only person left who just wants a phone that makes calls and sends texts ? Am I fighting an uphill battle against having a phone that does everything bar actually do me any good as a human being ?

Do touchscreen phones have a natural inability to lock onto a signal ? I reached my bottom with this horrible phone when I tried to make a few calls from the M5 the other night after I had driven out of Bristol airport. The M5. Not some backcountry road in the middle of nowhere. A major motorway. Could I keep a conversation up, or did my phone keep on cutting out as I lost signal repeatedly ? Have a guess. I hope the various recipients of my calls were not privy to me swearing profusely down my (equally rubbish Bluetooth) headset in the hope that my mobile would take offence and have a seizure or decide to actually work properly. I can't even get a decent mobile phone signal in my house on this pile of junk.

And the battery life is just plain rubbish. I thought the thing about modern mobile phones was that a little battery could somehow power them for days. But no, not this hybrid touchscreen phone pile of garbage. Not this horrible lump of modern technology that somehow is meant to make my life a bit "better". What is so wrong with having a phone that has buttons that you use to punch numbers in to make a call ? How long is it going to be until they don't even make mobiles with buttons any more ? I rang up Vodafone at the start of this week and asked them for help because I was going mad with this stupid phone. The first time I got through and the phone cut out on me in the middle of the call !! With steam coming out of my ears I called back and asked if they might consider saving my sanity and sorting me out with a phone that has (big) buttons only. I am a photographer and I don't want to take photos with some stupid phone. I don't want to stand there like everybody else and point my mobile at things I want to photograph. Thanks, but I'll use my Nikons. I have a couple of PCs and a laptop and I don't want to surf the internet or pick up emails when I am away from them. I value my time away from my desk or laptop. I don't want some app that tells me where the sun is going to set or at what time low water is. Believe it or not I can stick my head out of the door to see where the sun is and I have a perfectly good local tide table right here on my desk.

To give Vodafone their credit the person listened to my tales of woe and obviously took pity on me because they very kindly agreed to send me a new mobile phone that had big buttons only with no touchscreen at all. OK, so it's still got a camera on it, but believe me when I say that I will never, ever use it. It even seems that the battery life is back to normal and I also get a proper signal in my house. Rejoice !! Little things and all that. But should I now stock up on spare Samsung batteries for the day when the original battery dies and I then have to upgrade again and find that the world has gone completely touchscreen bonkers. Is this going to be the mobile I have for ever and ever more ? Please tell me that they are always going to make mobiles with big buttons for people like me.........