“Smartphonization” of lives and societies

August 21, 2013

Smartphones have revolutionized the way we communicate. A smartphone is basically a handheld computer with multiple features running the applications has become part of our daily lives. Sometimes back I went out and realized that I have left my smartphones at home. The anxiety and panic that gripped me was a clear demonstration that smartphones have taken over my life. I cannot deny that smartphones have secured a strong place in my life. What used to be a very expensive gadget and owned only by the rich and the famous, senior politicians, governments technocrats, wealthy business corporates, they have now become a common tool of communication for every male and female on the street. Whether in developed, emerging or developing countries, the telecommunication technology and industry has had a very fast development thus making it possible for people to own and use the advanced gadgets at much affordable prices and with simplified usage.Besides the affordable prices, the functionalities of the mobile phones have changed with today’s smartphones being much smaller and thinner in size. They can be easily pocketed by men or put in handbag. In addition to portability, smartphones offer additional features ranging from mobile games, thousands of apps, digital camera, Internet features like browsing, Television and radio receivers to mention but a few.I shot this amazing video below watching birds in Uganda using my iPhone 4.

Smartphones have changed my lifestyle in many ways. In other people, changes can either be a blessing or a curse, depending on how user uses their phones. There are many companies manufacturing Smartphones including but not limited to Apple, LG, Samsung, Huawei, Lenovo, Blackberry and Nokia. People are now enjoying the use of smartphones mainly because they can readily communicate with their friends, relatives, schoolmates or clients at any given time in any place without having to wait to find a pay telephone service provider like was the case in late 1980s and 1990s.For example, loneliness is no longer an issue because one can exchange messages with their friends through Short Message Services and do away with their loneliness. Few months ago, my friend told me that he had persuaded his flame to agree that whenever they had a weekend outing, they must turn off their smartphones as he did not want his spouse ruin the happy moments by replying to Facebook and Whatsapp chats or even answering phone calls in her phone. The smartphone applications have become so popular that they have become an integral part of everyone’s life. That’s why many buy a smartphone and start using the applications and always get connected to friends anywhere and at anytime including outings like my friend told me.The downside of smartphones has been the proliferation of pornographic materials through smartphones. Despite the persistent outcry by members of the public, majority of parents have failed to rein on their children accessing adult content.

Manufacturers have put very little emphasis on security and with tweens and teenagers making up the largest demographic of smartphone users, parents have a reason to be a worried lot. Other notable failure by manufacturers is how to deal with crackers and identity thievery that are rampant among smartphone users. The use of smart phones is indispensable as part of modern human lives as it enables us to work effectively and efficiently.With Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, among other platforms we obtain valuable information instantaneously. In my research, Smartphones are arguably most widely being used for Internet browsing and social networking. There are no difficulties in sending and receiving SMS, Instant Messengers like Yahoo, Whatsapp, or Google plus. There is no doubt more and more smartphone owners are getting addicted to social networking websites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Foursquare and Google Plus. With the help of smartphones, the users are capable of accessing these apps and sites, post comments anytime no matter where they are. Me think that in a few years time, smartphones could be obsolete or they could end up making us even more dependent on them than ever before. For now, just like everyone else, it’s a waiting game, as there is nothing is predictable in this world. Just like the late Steve Jobs predicted, right now smartphones are in and PCs are out of favor and it is a trend that might or might not change. Overall, smartphones are a huge contender in becoming the most influential invention of the 21st century so far and they show no signs of slowing down. That is what I call “smartphonization” of lives and societies.

Contador Harrison