The phone

In the midst of the announcement this week I went for a run. While running I began to think about how much longer we will actually need phones. When I say phones I’m talking about the dialing a number, hearing a ring, and someone answering so you can talk. The least used feature on a smart phone these days.

Right now, in my house, we have one prepay cell phone for our phone use. And other than some business calls I can only do via phone, we use it less than an hour a month. Don’t get me wrong, we talk to people, but now it’s all via FaceTime or Skype. Texting happens via Messages and we use email a lot to be able to communicate across platforms.

The phone, paying for cell minutes, seems the toll to have a pocket sized data enabled device. And it’s a toll I won’t pay anymore. And I don’t believe that I’m alone in that. Cell carriers are quickly becoming data carriers, but due to the desire for more profit, they just aren’t ready to admit that quite yet. (Ask anyone how much they use their smart phone as a phone and most admit to hardly ever.)

So instead, I carry an iPad mini with data for when I need it outside a wifi area. I almost never carry a phone anymore. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but there were times people couldn’t get ahold of you in the not so distant past and I’m OK with that being the same now.

But the question I have is, when I’m 80 (if I live that long) will it be gone, will dialing a number, hearing a ring, and talking be done? G and I were wondering if people thought about this in the early 1900s when phones came out, were they wondering how long the telegraph would stick around? If history is an indication, the phone will be leaving us, just as the telegraph did.

Note: I do realize that the most important reason for having a phone is the ability to call emergency services, so that is the big thing that will need to change for phones to truly be unnecessary. But eventually, I think that will change.