My phone doesn’t do email.
It doesn’t synch with my calendar.
I can’t browse the Web (well, technically it can, but it’s quite janky).
For crying out loud, I can’t even view or edit an Excel spreadsheet on it!
I have, sigh, a dumbphone. And I love it. I don’t have my office in my pocket. I don’t get interrupted during dinner with some email that didn’t need to get to me until the next day. I can taxi from the runway to my gate without developing callouses on my thumbs. I don’t have to worry about cutting and pasting anything. Are there times where I wish I had an iPhone or other boxy-but-good smartphone? Sure.
It turns out there’s an amazing amount of things I can do with my phone without needing a lot more “smarts” in it. Here’s a list of services I use to augment my phone’s experience. The common theme, as you’ll quickly notice, is it’s all about SMS.
- Check a flight status: text to GOOGL (46645) the word “flight” followed by airline and flight number (e.g. “flight AC 759” or “flight UA 09”), you’ll get today’s flight time
- Check a stock quote: GOOGL the word “stock” followed by ticker (e.g. “stock AAPL”)
- Set/receive calendar events: if you use gcal you can configure it to text you alerts, and even set calendar appointments by text. I use this all the time.
- Send yourself a reminder: use kwiry‘s sms-based reminder/to-do system
- Get a restaurant/business phone number: again, GOOGL and the name of the place (add the zip code for more accuracy). this one isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty impressive
- Research a question: try out chacha by texting your question to 242242, you’ll get a (typically) useful answer. this is one of my favorite “tricks”, especially if I’m near a screen-pinching iPhone addict trying to find out the same information, but with oh so much more effort
- Get a sports score: yup, GOOGL, the word “score” and your team (e.g. “score Canadiens”).
- Lifecast: if you must, you must. twitter, flickr, 12seconds, and other services all accept SMS and MMS messages.
- Financial services: there are lots of new options that let you get financial updates via text, including mint.com and others
- And the rest: Here’s a full list of all the things you can do with GOOGL. Pretty impressive, eh?
Here’s my “killer missing app” for a useful SMS service: LinkedIn/Plaxo lookups. I have all my contacts organized – why can’t I just send in a text and get someone’s phone number or address without much effort? Seems like a nobrainer.
So no, I won’t be shelling out a fistful of cash for any of this year’s crop of smartphones. As I’ve said many times, all that “convenience” isn’t much of a benefit in context people becoming less detached from their real world experiences while being overly connected to their worklife. If your name doesn’t rhyme with Harack Okama, odds are pretty good you aren’t getting recurring emails Saturday at 9pm while you’re at dinner that you *have* to check. If you are, you need a better job.