I have serious commitment issues when it comes to my mobile phone. Early termination fees don’t scare me as much as a phone that’s just gotten plain old boring for me. And believe me, I always find a way out. It might be dropped calls, crap voice quality and pathetic download speeds that drive me to the edge one time. The next time, I might just get sick of the color or maybe I don’t like the way it looks at me or fits in my pocket. Either way, I’m bound to jump and run – it’s just a matter of when. Materialistic? Sure. Overindulgence? You bet. Like any commitment-phobe, I’m all about multiples. Whether it’s the carrier(s) I do business with or the mobile device(s) I carry, I just can’t settle down and tie the knot with one or the other. I’m one of those types who has two phones usually. Although I try to keep them from knowing about each other – work and personal don’t always belong together – they inevitably cross paths.
I like my cellphone relationships on the rocks. Best case, I just buy the new one, sell the old one and swap them out. Worst case, all I need is a quick break-up (read: early contract termination) and I’m off into the arms of another communications gadget. Sorry. It really isn’t you. It’s me. For the past couple years I’ve been telling myself (and others) that the reason I change phones so frequently is because I’m “in the industry.” It works to some extent. Honestly, you’re either with me or against me on this, and I’m willing to bet you’re against me. I can’t blame you. Here’s why. I’ve tried them all: iPhone, BlackBerry, Nokia, Palm, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, HTC, Samsung, LG, Sanyo and even Ericsson (before they hooked up with Sony). The point is, I’ve been around the mobile block. But after so many devices and so many broken promises of a connected and (mostly) always fun mobile experience, I still feel a void. I’ve gone after it all on my mobile phones – music, web, camera, video, TV, contact synchronization, roaming, dual-band, quad-band, locked, unlocked, TDMA, CDMA, GSM, Edge, 3G, 2.5G, anything at all. Looking back, some of my former mobile companions were really ahead of their time. Few of them did one or two things great, but none of them achieved everything. The one I let get away? Ericsson T28 World. That phone was awesome. The most svelte, best-in-your-pocket smartphone? Nokia E71. Best browser? iPhone. Best email? BlackBerry. If one thing is true when it comes to mobile phones it’s that no phone will ever do it all. Is it because it can’t be done? No, it’s because handset manufacturers, patent holders, carriers, software developers, tower owners, bureaucrats and many others in the mix won’t let it happen. They’re not all to blame each and every time, but the next time your mobile phone comes up short, it’s very likely because at least one of those forces was at work, not at work, or not even invited to the table. I’d like to say I’ve reached that point where I’ve learned the wrong of my ways and will commit to do better, but I just can’t take that step. I’ve improved, sure, but I’m nowhere near being “cured” and I doubt I ever will be. I’m having too much fun in the meantime. And even better, it’s given me something to write about. I’ll leave you with this short video from Green Day’s show in Las Vegas last Friday.