Let us now praise the un-smartphone

Would you ditch your so-called smartphone for a dumb one that makes calls? A surprising number of Cringe's readers say yes

The history of telecommunications technology goes something like this: drum beats, smoke signals, flags, the telegraph, landlines, car phones, cell phones, smartphones. (That's the Twitter version.)

Of course, the smartphone begat the even smarter tablet. And why did Steve Jobs and his team of winged-monkey minions create the revolutionary, world-changing iPad? Because the iPhone's screen was too damned small to do anything useful. Now, of course, the iPad is too big to carry around without a bag, which means iPad acolytes must carry around both a smart tablet and a lousy phone.

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(Maybe the Verizon iPhone will be better than AT&T's, but I wouldn't bet my mortgage on that one.)

A few weeks back I asked the question: Instead of a great portable computer that's a crappy cell phone, why not carry a great portable computer and a dumb cell phone that actually lets you make calls? Two devices for about the price of one, minimal sacrifices. Howzaboutit?

Apparently this is not an original concept. I got more email on this idea than any in recent Cringeville history. Here are a few of the representative ones.

Let's start with D.W., who describes himself as an "old, cranky, retired computer repair consultant." He rants thusly:

I have been following the whole smartphone meshuggas and I can't come up with a single reason to own one. A netbook, maybe, but with Linux, because they seem to have better battery life than the laptops when Wi-Fi is turned on. Perhaps some of your commenters can explain WHY I, or most other people need an iPhone, an iPad, or just about any other smartphone. Any of the new tablets get you into the deathly embrace of the cell phone carriers, and I refuse to engage in that game.

Cringester C. A. says he's been a two-device guy for years:

I still use my old "candy bar" Sony Ericsson 610 for phone calls -- works great, simple to use, and I have gone through three smartphones (iPhone, HTC, and Slide). All the so-called smartphone are dumb as they never do what they are supposed to do. I went back to my old iPhone to store videos, music, and my favorite Color Time App.

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