Jun 23

I am an IT guy that works with technology all day, every day. I do not own a smart phone or tablet of any type. Is this a little bit odd? Yes, yes it is.  I’m supposed to be a techno freak, not a Luddite!  However, the fact remains, when I answer my cell phone, people look at me as though I am an alien because I carry a flip phone.

“…I am an alien because I carry a flip phone…”

So let me tell you why I choose to live this way. I have several reasons but primarily, I do not own these items because I feel that it is ludicrous to spend thousands of dollars per year on a toy. Yes, I know you can check your email… so what? Mostly, that’s just an excuse to ignore the person/colleague to whom you are supposed to be actually conversing with anyway. How many of your apps are for entertainment purposes? All of them? 95%? I submit that if it’s more than 50%, then what you have is a toy!

Let’s look at how the various Smartphones and tablets are advertised:

  • Timely delivery of messages about flash mobs
  • Storage space for your music
  • Screens big enough to watch HD movies and TV
  • Thousands of apps/games
  • And, by far my favorite, the ability to have Twitter and Facebook on the same screen.

Notice anything missing here? That’s right, none of those are actual, for-serious uses, they are all entertainment.  Apple DOES go out of its way to display a token medical app in the latest iPad2 commercial, but I have seen how doctors use iPads (more on this later).

I read an article today that was aimed at business executives and was examining the business value of the iPad vs. other tablets.  The main argument was that the iPad2 was a better bet.  Not because of the advanced business features. Not because of the competitive pricing. No. Apparently, the iPad2 is the best choice for business because Apple has sold more songs than Google, more Apps than Google, and more eBooks than Google.  In other words the iPad is the way to go because it is the most popular! Similar logic could be used to claim that high-school cheerleaders make the best business leaders because they are the most popular. Fail!

Now, let’s say you DO want a tablet/phone specifically for the purpose of entertaining yourself. Well, I’m willing to bet that you already have devices that do all the entertainment things that you like to do better than your current gadget. A laptop, for instance, is better at ALL of the above-listed entertainment options, with the possible exception of listening to music. Heck, even a Netbook is better.

A tablet is completely useless in a business environment

At least a smart phone can be used to make business calls. A tablet, on the other hand, is completely useless in a business environment. It has three functions 1) Surfing the web, 2) reading email, and 3) playing games. However, in an office, you have a computer that will do all of those things better and faster. That means that the only place you get to use your fun new iPad is at a meeting.  This serves two purposes, it allows you to show off how cool you are with your new tablet AND it allows you to completely ignore the meeting and entertain yourself with Angry Birds at the same time.

Doctors and executives love the iPad for exactly this reason.  It allows them to carry a status symbol with them at all times and ignore everyone around them.  Furthermore, they can usually get some organization or other to pay for the tablet based upon their “business need.”

The short of it is this, if you have the scratch to pay a few thousand dollars on mindless entertainment during meetings and at stoplights, go ahead and use your phone/tablet. Just don’t tell me about how you “need” it for work. Sack up and admit that you use it for games and to tweet to your friends about how awesome you and your new phone/tablet are.

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