If the future’s so great, how come nobody ever comes back to tell us?
I have been having… issues with technology lately. Well, to be honest, I’ve been having issues with my phone. My lovely, wonderful, two year old Palm Pre, which I absolutely adore. Honestly, I would have to love the phone to put up with all the crap it’s been giving me lately. I will always argue that WebOS is the number one mobile operating system. I will also never disagree if anyone wants to point out that Palm makes terrible hardware. This is why so many of us were excited about HP buying Palm, since HP actually knows how to make hardware and were purchasing our beloved software.
But the cell phone networks have us in a corner. Not all networks support all phones, and to purchase a phone, you get stuck in a two-year contract with a one-year phone. My contract is up next March, but my phone started dying this March. (Yes, I know I referred to it as a two-year-old phone; it was not a brand new model when I got mine.) In March, I took it in to the Sprint store, where they gave me a whole new replacement phone. Silly me, I thought that meant I should be good for another year.
Fast forward. Last week, I finally got fed up with the ever-dwindling battery life when I woke up to find it dead on the charger. I took it in, and they replaced the battery free of charge. Hooray! Now I’m back to… a four hour battery life? Also, now every time it runs itself dead (once or twice a day, depending on how many phone calls I receive), I have to pull and replace the battery before I can plug it in to charge.
Cell phone networks being the wonder that they are, Sprint is willing to offer me a $75 discount on a new phone if I sign a two-year contract. That works out to $3.13 a month for the privilege of not being able to upgrade when I next want to, to being trapped on a network that has announced they will not be getting the next phone I want, to being held hostage so that the company can be guaranteed of one more tiny phone bill a month (and tiny really is the word; I pay a pretty small amount for one of the big networks). So that paltry $75 doesn’t really seem worth it, especially when you consider that a new phone with similar capabilities to what I have will run me about $450. Right.
Ben and I have been debating for weeks as to what to do with my phone situation. We just upgraded him to a new phone last month, so he now understands how a smartphone can completely change the way you interact with technology. I don’t know what we’re going to do, but I hate feeling hamstrung by giant corporations.
If this is the future, well, sometimes the future sort of sucks.