Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Smartphones and Me

Smart Phones and Me

Smartphones and Me

I recently watched an episode of The Fairly Oddparents. For those who don't know the show, here is a brief summary: kid named Timmy, miserable life, has fairy godparents, manages to screw things up more through bad wishing. Also, lots of slapstick comedy. Basically, imagine you are watching the 3 Stooges tripping on acid - while you are tripping on acid.

Odd picture
For example, this is one of the least weird parts.

The episode I was watching was the one where Timmy got a smartphone. Up to this point, he was the only person he knew that did not have a smartphone. Mind you, he did have a basic cell phone, but everybody else had a smartphone. He wished for one, and it took over his life. When he fought against it, it turned on him. Just like Apple does.

What really struck me about this episode, besides the talking dog referring to the '90s as a time before fun as he was driving a car (just go with it; you'll feel much better.), was how prevalent smartphones have become in our society. I got my first phone in 2002, and I have yet to have a smartphone. It's not a feeling of wanting to simplify my life; it's just that the usage I would get out of the magical smartphone that I am meant to have is not worth the expense.

But I know the day is coming when that will change. During my time working for a Verizon call center, I noticed how most of the free phone deals and the best discounts were for smartphones, with the basic phones being the crumbs that were thrown out.

How does this affect me?

This affects me because it will be a short time before all phones are smartphones. In essence, everybody will soon be carrying around little phone-like devices that tell time, check e-mail, text, send videos, browse the Internet, check the weather, buy stocks, sell stocks, order flowers for your wife because you lost money on the stocks you bought and sold, and - occasionally - make a phone call. As more people use smartphones for their everyday lives, they will use more and more apps and not just for games or texting. The new Windows phones have a fully functioning version of MS Office on it.

All that to say that being a developer will have to include doing apps, or at least understanding how they function. The good news is that from everything I have come across on this (and I research has been limited - I've been busy.) suggests there are the three big phone operating systems.

  • iOS, used for iPhones. Its main language is Objective-C. That one is declining right now, as people are getting tired of Apple's desire to control your life.
  • Windows Phone, used by Nokia mostly, but a few others as well. Microsoft's entry back into the smartphones has been gaining steam. Its main language is, shockingly, C#, a Microsoft variant of C++.
  • Android, used by Samsung, Motorola, Droid, and many others. If you're not using an iPhone, you probably have an Android one. Its big language is Java, though there are a few others clamoring.

I'm not a big fan of computing on a phone. I like the actual keyboard on an actual computer and I like adding accessories to it, such as hard drives and printers; adding accessories to a smartphone would be defeating the purpose after a while. The good news for me is that smartphones, useful as they are, are not being treated as primary computers. Especially because I don't have a smartphone.

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