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View Full Version : Why Don't They Make Dumb Phones?



Mike Null
08-13-2010, 9:59 AM
I have just acquired a Blackberry "Smart" phone. I figured being semi-literate on a computer would qualify me to use one of these gadgets. But I was wrong. I've been using cell phones for about 15 years--back then I thought I understood them.

These new phones are just too complicated--after all when you're on the phone everything is instantaneous so to speak so you don't have time to look things up in the manual which isn't that good anyway. The frustration and embarrassment of not being able to make this thing work is wearing on me.

Why don't they at least make you pass an IQ test before being allowed to buy one of these things. Failure would leave only the option of a DUMB phone. If they still make any.

Dave Lehnert
08-13-2010, 10:12 AM
I use a Tracfone. Makes phone calls and thats it.
Works for me.

mike holden
08-13-2010, 10:12 AM
They still make "dumb" phones, just check the ads in Readers Digest and the AARP journal. Believe they are called: "jitterbug"
Thinking seriously about getting one when my contract runs out.
Mike

Dan Hintz
08-13-2010, 10:31 AM
Mike,

Once you get used to how one "smart" phone works, the other ones are significantly easier to use. It's a different way of thinking, for sure, figuring out what features are available and how they affect operation. From phone to phone, though, it's more of a game to find where they hid a specific feature, not necessarily how to use it.

Ken Fitzgerald
08-13-2010, 10:42 AM
Mike,

Did the phone include a manual?

I bought a GPS yesterday evening at Costco.]

It came with a 4 page manual. If you aren't computer literate, you would be in a world of hurt with that thing.

Mike Hollingsworth
08-13-2010, 10:45 AM
I'm always amazed when my five year old nephew shows me all the things my iPhone can do.

Jeff Bratt
08-13-2010, 10:47 AM
Quote from Bjarne Stroustrup (actually a big-time computer guy)

"I've always wished my computer could be as easy to use as my phone. Well, now my wish has come true - I no longer know how to use my phone..."

Jim Rimmer
08-13-2010, 10:58 AM
Mike,

Did the phone include a manual?

I bought a GPS yesterday evening at Costco.]

It came with a 4 page manual. If you aren't computer literate, you would be in a world of hurt with that thing.
It seems that more and more products are putting a minimal "get started" manual in the box and if you want the full manual you have to go on-line. I bought my wife a nice digital camera recently and the manual that came with it was just a folded up piece of paper. On-line manual was multiple pages with lots of detail.

glenn bradley
08-13-2010, 10:59 AM
Believe they are called: "jitterbug"

That's one. Co-worker's parents have it. Love it.


Mike,

Did the phone include a manual?

I bought a GPS yesterday evening at Costco.

It came with a 4 page manual. If you aren't computer literate, you would be in a world of hurt with that thing.

My Costco Garmin came with a BOOK and a CD. There's more in there than I ever want to know about this thing. Talk about the two extremes. :D:D:D

Mitchell Andrus
08-13-2010, 11:00 AM
Mike,

Did the phone include a manual?

I bought a GPS yesterday evening at Costco.]

It came with a 4 page manual. If you aren't computer literate, you would be in a world of hurt with that thing.

SAME HERE.... HA! I though for sure they forgot to put the manual in the box.... nope.

My dad doesn't have a computer. My sister wondered if we should get him one for Christmas.... I said sure, I'll disconnect all of my phones first - YOU can get all the phone calls.
.
.

Dan Hintz
08-13-2010, 11:07 AM
Bjarne Stroustrup (actually a big-time computer guy)
Considering he invented/developed the C++ language, which keeps me (at least partially) employed, I'd call that an understatement :)

Mike Null
08-13-2010, 11:09 AM
I managed to operate my Garmin without too much difficulty but this phone is a bear. The manual is lousy not to mention quite incomplete. There is a cd and you can help on line.

It's not just this my wife has to program the house phone-I jsut don't have the time nor inclination.

I hadn't heard of the dumb phone others have mentioned but I'm kind of locked into T-Mobile due to a very low rate plan that dates back several years and they don't offer it.

Myk Rian
08-13-2010, 11:39 AM
I hadn't heard of the dumb phone others have mentioned but I'm kind of locked into T-Mobile due to a very low rate plan that dates back several years and they don't offer it.
Does T-Mobil charge extra for it being a Blackberry? Verizon charges $30/month, and is why I don't have one.

Ken Garlock
08-13-2010, 11:52 AM
They still make "dumb" phones, just check the ads in Readers Digest and the AARP journal. Believe they are called: "jitterbug"
Thinking seriously about getting one when my contract runs out.
Mike

A vote for Jitterbug. We were paying nearly $80/month to ATT for a service we didn't use. We have been on Jitterbug for a year, and our out the door cost is $37/mo for two phones with their own numbers. If you don't use your allocation of minutes per month, they roll over automatically. Jitterbug uses Verizon as it carrier. I have only list service once and that was on the Oregon high desert when we were 100 miles from nowhere.

The actual phones are made by Samsung.

Chris Harry
08-13-2010, 12:29 PM
No dumb phones because they cant charge you data access fees for a phone that cant access data!

There are even "semi-smart" phones too. I have one (Env3) on Verizon. Once my current contract is up, Verizon plans on requiring me to pay for a minimum 10.00 data plan. I use ZERO data...a cell phone is for making calls. I have laptops and desktops for everything else.

I have about 9 months to figure out what I want to do. Pre-paid is sounding good, but my wife doesnt like "cheesy" phones. Maybe she should get her own plan hehe.

John Mark Lane
08-13-2010, 12:58 PM
I just got a Droid X. I absolutely HATE the thing. I want my Blackberry back!

Dan Hintz
08-13-2010, 1:11 PM
Hmmm, really like my Droid (1). I think I would like the Droid X better as it gets rid of the (mostly) unused keyboard. If I wanted a keyboard and was in the market for a new phone, I'd consider the Droid 2.

Jim Koepke
08-13-2010, 2:45 PM
Mike,

Did the phone include a manual?

I bought a GPS yesterday evening at Costco.]

It came with a 4 page manual. If you aren't computer literate, you would be in a world of hurt with that thing.

My GPS has a 200+ page manual, it is called a Thomas Guide.

If I want the power to go out, all I have to do is set the time, date and outgoing message on our cordless phone.

We have the Samsung brick cell phone. I am not sure why. Most of my use is to find my wife when she has wondered off when we are shopping. That is especially frustrating. I will ask her if she brought her cell phone when we leave home. We do not get any signal at home.

She answers that she has it in her bag.

Now I have to remember to ask if it is turned on. To me, it only seems natural to turn it on if you are going to bring it along. Not to her. She wasn't expecting any calls.

The thing I now hate is that T-Mobile has decided that they need to send me text messages all the time. Of course, I do not receive them until I hit a spot where I get a signal. I do suffer from noise startle syndrome. There is a fancy medical name for it, but knowing what it is called doesn't make it go away. I often jump when the phone rings or at other sudden noises. My wife gets great entertainment when we are watching a movie and I jump at the same places as the last time we watched the movie.

Anyway, I will be on the highway and get in range of the nearest cell tower. All of a sudden some God awful noise blasts from my shirt pocket and causes my blood pressure to jump 50 points and it is all I can do to stay on the road. Thanks T-Mobile.

That Jitter-Bug sounds good. As long as they do not want to keep telling me about world events and other special offers to scare the heck out of me.

jim

Joe Pelonio
08-13-2010, 2:45 PM
There are still dumb phones, though Verizon calls them "Feature" phones. I just upgraded and refused to get a phone that required an additional minimum $9.99 or more for data time. I can check e-mail and access mobile internet at $1.99/MB if needed, but went for a new model flip phone that is durable to military specs. Yes, I may drop it from a high ladder, and it should survive. I have had it just two days but am very happy with it. Samsung Convoy.

Dan Hintz
08-13-2010, 3:38 PM
Jim,

Any chance you have mild autism (Aspberger's, etc.)?

Dave Lehnert
08-13-2010, 4:41 PM
A vote for Jitterbug. We were paying nearly $80/month to ATT for a service we didn't use. We have been on Jitterbug for a year, and our out the door cost is $37/mo for two phones with their own numbers. If you don't use your allocation of minutes per month, they roll over automatically. Jitterbug uses Verizon as it carrier. I have only list service once and that was on the Oregon high desert when we were 100 miles from nowhere.

The actual phones are made by Samsung.

Like all phones you have to look at the cost vs minutes etc....
I buy the one year service at a time and TracFone cost me $8.34 month.
Unused minutes rollover each year. I only use about 1/2 each year. Most times when camping etc... My phone will be the only one working. Funny everyone with their I-phones, blackberry's etc with plans at $50+ a month and they are all needing to use my phone I got for $5 at Dollar General.

Chris Padilla
08-13-2010, 5:41 PM
I dunno...I use my cell phone to make, uh, well...phone calls. That's it. My wife still has her RAZR from 5 years ago and I have a newish Samsung A430 (or something like that). Nothing fancy...no data plans, might send 1 text a month...never use the camera...I have the cheapest plan I could get with a 22% corporate discount and I still have thousands of rollover minutes that I'll never touch. hmmm, might be time to look at my plan again....

Rick Markham
08-13-2010, 6:04 PM
The only dumb phones that I have had were the ones that made me feel dumb for having spent money on them. The Palm Pre for instance, there was a phone that deserved to be dropped in the toilet, and for a manual it only had pictures... apparently it was supposed to be "easy" but if you had more than a brain stem, then it was probably a little too "easy". I apparently hadn't "brushed up" on my modern heiroglyphs. Talk about cheap... only using pictures so you don't have to translate anything into more than one language. My Sprint account (of 12 years) was cancelled after they were "less than willing" to help a long time customer get a suitable phone. One that you could actually answer and call out on.

I have been happy with my I phone, but I like to text... I know, I know... Younger generation all running around with "hammer thumbs" from texting. I personally don't care to talk on the phone, unless it is business. I prefer the cold impersonal (like me) nature of the written word :D

Matt Meiser
08-13-2010, 7:25 PM
I'm loving my Android phone (EVO 4G here.) Easy to use and very powerful though sometimes it fixes words for me in ways I don't want. Posting this from it..

Neal Clayton
08-14-2010, 2:41 AM
I just got a Droid X. I absolutely HATE the thing. I want my Blackberry back!

i just replaced an iphone 3g with a motorola krzr (same phone i had before the iphone).

made a profit on it too. sold the iphone for 140 bucks, bought the krzr with no contract brand new for 80 bucks.

and i guarantee you the woman who bought the iphone from me charged it twice before i charged the motorola once.

i get people who ride the subway for an hour to get to work every day wanting a computer-capable phone. that makes sense. but for me that fad is over with. if i plan on traveling far enough away from home that i need to get online to look for something, i'll bring my laptop anyways, so why do i need that on a phone?

Mike Null
08-14-2010, 6:24 AM
I have been using a cell phone as my only business phone for about 10 years. It's saved me a lot of money over the ATT business plan land line I had to have at the time.

Since almost all of my transactions are done over the internet I thought it would be great to have a phone which could alert me to email messages as well. I do like that part of it.

T-Mobil and, I think, all other carriers, require internet or messaging service on smart phones. With T-Mobile I pay $20 per month for full service and I have a 1500 minute per month anytime plan at 39.99 per month.

I have a friend who has the I phone with ATT and he pays $90 per month.

The dumb phones that some of the guys have mentioned seem to be a smarter way to go.:)


I recently visited my daughter in Germany. She has two smart phones, a blackberry from her company and an I-Phone for personal use. She travels in her job so it's kind of necessary for her. But I went along on a trip with her to a town in northern Germany and was amazed at how well her hands free phone worked in her car (the blackberry synced with the radio) and how safe it was. I had to have that too so I changed out the radio in my car and now have a very good hands free phone feature. It evens displays my contact list. (use of hand held cell phones is not allowed when driving in Germany)

Belinda Williamson
08-14-2010, 8:00 AM
. . and for a manual it only had pictures... apparently it was supposed to be "easy" but if you had more than a brain stem, then it was probably a little too "easy". I apparently hadn't "brushed up" on my modern heiroglyphs. Talk about cheap... only using pictures so you don't have to translate anything into more than one language.

I got a new company phone back in May and like Joe, it's one of those drop it and it keeps on ticking phones. I finally have text capability, which just annoys me. It's one more way that people can irritate me! (yes, I would prefer to be a hermit)

Rick, I thought I was the only one that really dislikes the photo instruction method. Jeepers, if I need to insert tab A into slot B just ell me.

Curt Harms
08-14-2010, 9:19 AM
I have about 9 months to figure out what I want to do. Pre-paid is sounding good, but my wife doesnt like "cheesy" phones. Maybe she should get her own plan hehe.

I'm using a pre paid plan from airvoice. (http://airvoicewireless.com/) The service offers either GSM (AT&T & T-mobile phones) or CDMA. I don't know who their CDMA carrier is but they use AT&T's GO phone network for GSM. I bought an unlocked GSM phone off Ebay and bought an AT&T SIM for a couple bucks. Go to someplace that offers Western Union prepaid services. (My Supermarket and chain drug store both offer it, as does KMart.) Give customer service cash, they give you a sheet of paper with 16 numbers on it. Call AirVoice, give them the SIM number, maybe wait a little while. Insert the SIM card, turn the phone on and follow the directions. When you run low on minutes, go to the Western Union place and repeat the process, or buy minutes from Airvoice.

It works well, coverage is the same as AT&T's GO phone coverage. I don't know about their CDMA phones. I don't use a cell phone for social networking much so I probably use 100 minutes/month. $50 buys 550 minutes and they don't expire for 6 months. I was paying around $55/month for regular cell service and cell numbers are portable. If I lived on my phone or needed data, prepaid wouldn't be a good option.

Paul Ryan
08-14-2010, 9:46 AM
Being away from home in the car most hours of most days, I use the internet on my phone often. Most of my works comes through email or text messages, so with out a smart phone I would be basically unemployed. I use a blackberry. I have recently toyed with the idea of an android phone. But after using them I cant stand them. The blackberry is so much easier to use, and much more customizable (if that is a word). The nice thing about the blackberry is if you want to just use it as a phone you can very easily, but it can do much more. I use mine as my laptop when on the road, my mp3 player, a phone, and often a camera. I haven't used an I phone much but if they are anything like the android I wont touch one for a while. The touch screen is nice for internet browsing since the large screen size. But other than that I think the touch screen is a hinderance.

John Mark Lane
08-14-2010, 12:57 PM
i just replaced an iphone 3g with a motorola krzr (same phone i had before the iphone).

made a profit on it too. sold the iphone for 140 bucks, bought the krzr with no contract brand new for 80 bucks.

and i guarantee you the woman who bought the iphone from me charged it twice before i charged the motorola once.

i get people who ride the subway for an hour to get to work every day wanting a computer-capable phone. that makes sense. but for me that fad is over with. if i plan on traveling far enough away from home that i need to get online to look for something, i'll bring my laptop anyways, so why do i need that on a phone?


My thinking, exactly. This stupid Droid won't even get thru 24 hours without being charged. What good is a "mobile" phone if it constantly has to be plugged in? Not to mention all the stupid "features" that execute on their own every time I tough the damn thing.

Dan Hintz
08-14-2010, 1:10 PM
This stupid Droid won't even get thru 24 hours without being charged.
John,

I'm not sure how you have your phone set up, but I easily get 2 days before I plug in my charger (I typically do so when the charge hits around 35-40%), and sometime I'll push for three days if the charge is high enough.

I have noticed that if I don't shut down the browser after looking for something, the battery quickly gets eaten up (well within 24 hours). I work in a near-zero signal zone, so for 9 hours a day the phone is maxing out its signal strength, and I still get a few days of battery life. I mostly text, only a few calls here and there (when not at work and in a good signal strength zone).

John Mark Lane
08-14-2010, 1:15 PM
John,

I'm not sure how you have your phone set up, but I easily get 2 days before I plug in my charger (I typically do so when the charge hits around 35-40%), and sometime I'll push for three days if the charge is high enough.

I have noticed that if I don't shut down the browser after looking for something, the battery quickly gets eaten up (well within 24 hours). I work in a near-zero signal zone, so for 9 hours a day the phone is maxing out its signal strength, and I still get a few days of battery life. I mostly text, only a few calls here and there (when not at work and in a good signal strength zone).

Yeah, I do need to work on how I have it set up. A couple of people have recommended some apps that will help with that. But I can't help thinking...why buy a phone that has a ton of features, if you're just gonna have to disable the features in order to use the phone? I mean, I can "text" with a cheap cell phone.

Dan Hintz
08-14-2010, 1:32 PM
I did not have to install anything special, I just had to pay attention to what I was doing... for example, the browser does not shut down if you hit the "home" button, so I normally hit the "back" button several times to get me back to the home screen. That way, I know the browser has shut down. If you don't, it eats up a ton of power. I also have Bluetooth enabled 24/7 so I can hop in the car and not have to fumble with the phone shoudl a call come in. I set up the Wi-Fi, but I keep it disabled because if I'm at home where the Wi-Fi is setup for, I just hop on the computer.

Rick Markham
08-14-2010, 6:24 PM
I got a new company phone back in May and like Joe, it's one of those drop it and it keeps on ticking phones. I finally have text capability, which just annoys me. It's one more way that people can irritate me! (yes, I would prefer to be a hermit)

Rick, I thought I was the only one that really dislikes the photo instruction method. Jeepers, if I need to insert tab A into slot B just ell me.

I think it would be a whole lot easier if we weren't able to follow directions Belinda... those must be for the vast masses of people with no concept of how to follow simple instructions. I think it is a case of "dumbing it down" to the lowest common denominator... Unfortunately if that is the "lowest common denominator" then I fear for humanities existence.:(