The End of the Dumb Phone

Everywhere you look these days, you see tons of the same – Android, iPhone, and all sorts of other so-called smartphones. In fact, seeing a Blackberry is now antiquated and they are no longer the “in thing” to have. Seeing a Blackberry clutched in someone’s palm warrants almost the same amount of pity as seeing a regular old phone… a “dumb” phone.

However, there are the few, like me, who don’t want the latest and greatest. We don’t need all the apps, the touch-screens, the built-in flashlight, HD cameras, the mind-boggling amount of memory built into each phone…

No, there are amazingly still a few of us out there that just want to use their phone for making calls.

(*cough* And texting. *cough*)

Ah… The Memories…

For this exclusive group of the non-hip, the selection of actual phones, or dumb phones, is shrinking at an alarming rate. There used to be entire stores full of phones. Phones that were great for making calls, texting, and had a simple camera on them for taking a picture at an unusual moment when you had no regular camera available.

Go a little farther back and there weren’t even cameras built in to phones. There was Snake. And midi file ringtones. One of the great benefits to a phone used to be the selection of ringtones it offered. Some phones offered just a handful of ringtones, while the “good phones” gave you around 20 different sound selections.

Those were the days.

But Now…

Not too long ago, my wonderful Nokia 3711 died. It would no longer take a charge. Forced to get another phone, and due for an upgrade anyway, I headed to the nearest T-Mobile store to browse the selection.

Walking into the store, I was quickly confronted by a salesman asking if he could help me find anything. I quickly advised him I was shopping for a new phone but refused to purchase a smartphone. He directed me to the selection of upgradable, non-smartphones…

I have always been a die-hard Nokia fan, and have owned very few phones that were not Nokia. I like Nokia for a number of reasons, not simply because it is what I’ve been used to. Many years ago I owned a Motorola, and before that at one point a Kyocera. All other phones I’ve owned have been Nokia and I’ve liked it that way. I quickly browsed the available selection.

No Nokia phones.

The only Nokia brand dumb phone available was available under a prepaid plan, meaning I would have to pay full price for it. That was outside of my budget at the time, and had the tiniest keys anyway, so I had to settle with a regular upgradable phone.

Guess how many I had to choose from?

Out of the Five…

Five! Only FIVE regular phones available for upgrade (i.e. with a contract-renewal discount) in the entire store.


It wasn’t any better online, either. I’d already checked. I had hoped against hope that the store just might have had something not available online, since there are often phones online that aren’t available in the store. Not this time.

I had been doing my research based on the online phones so I was decently prepared – or so I thought.

I had a friend who decided he liked and wanted the Samsung Gravity TXT. It seemed OK since it had both the slide-out Qwerty keyboard as well as the number keypad. My boyfriend had a Samsung T359 and had complained initially about the number keys being mixed in with the letter keys, so I thought this might be perfect.

My mother had previously had Samsung phones – and I hated them all, with a passion. It would take me forever to type out a text on her phone, and it always seemed so counter-intuitive. However, out of the five phones to choose from…

FOUR were Samsung.


I bit the bullet and bought the Samsung Gravity TXT. I wanted to like it. I wanted to love it. I wanted to at least be able to tolerate it.

But I couldn’t.

I tried, I promise I tried hard to like it. I looked at all the positive characteristics about it.

But the cons still outweighed the pros.

In the end, I wound up swapping for a LG GS170, and I’m much happier with it.

…The End…

The problem is that in a year or two, whenever my LG dies on me, what phone will be around for me to replace it with? Will I, at that time, be absolutely forced to accept an easily-breakable smartphone?

A touch-screen?

An on-screen keyboard?

A frustrating relationship with auto-correct?

An expensive data plan?

Who knows.

For all of us left who want to stick with a basic phone for calling and maybe texting, there will be few options remaining within another year or two. The business world, especially the electronics industries, are all about the latest and greatest. Out with the old, in with the new. There is no place left for those of us that still enjoy simplicity.

I can only hope that by the time I need a new phone, there are still a scant few phones left – or at least that data plans are more reasonable.

In the mean time, I can only recommend – buy up a few prepaid models so you can continue swapping your SIM card every year or two.

I think that’s what I’ll be doing.

What kind of phone are you using?


Posted on March 26, 2012, in Life, Random, Review, Tech and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I have dumped my smart android -a Samsung Galaxy and went straight ahead for a dumbphone. I badly need some space for myself and for my books and DVDs…neither willing to stare every 5 minutes to the touch screen for a mail or FB or Twitter notification, nor a heap of garbage apps to browse through. My workplace makes me glued to the web, and that is enough, after the working hour I want to get lost and never need a GPS to comeback home.

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