When mobile phones became popular during the 1990s, it was a giant leap for mankind. We, as humanity, had managed to remove the cable from the landline telephone and also add a new exciting feature called a Short Message Service (SMS).
To make it even more useful than old telephones, we also added the Address Book.
The Address Book meant that we got to know who is calling without having them introduce themselves, and we could easily avoid picking up calls from other people like our debtors. The benefits of this technology cannot fully be measured, and maybe only the former landline service providers know what the mobile phone did. Imagine the dates that were cancelled because someone called while you were in the shower, or job interviews missed because you could not be reached using the nearest telephone booth?
In my opinion, the mobile phone stands as one of the greatest inventions since the flush toilet.
Evolution of the mobile phone
Over the 30 years of its existence, the mobile phone has undergone some evolution. Initially it was big and heavy, then every manufacturer was in the race to make smaller phones.
Once mobile phones became small and sleek, touch screens were introduced. Now, there was a need to make bigger screens. Other additional features influenced this trend.
This includes better and more powerful processors, 3G and 4G networks, and better operating systems. Apps landed in their millions, and the data transfer speeds increased. Mobile phones became mini computers, and gave birth to smartphones and tablets.
It is said that the average smartphone today has more processing power than the computers that were used to land man on the moon some 5 decades ago. The mobile phone has really grown.
Herein lies the problem. While we thought we had put a mobile calling device in our pockets, we ended up with powerful computing devices in our pockets.
Powerful devices in our pockets
Mobile phones, specifically smartphones, can do so many things.
We can now access our offices away from work. We can answer e-mails at any time. We can read the latest people magazine article as soon as it is published. We can keep up with hundreds of friends and fake friends all over the globe. We can follow proceedings of war in Yemen, a musician from Korea, and Donald Trump theatrics from the USA. We can publish videos and websites that can be accessed from all over the world within minutes, and we have access to millions of books, games, and apps. We use the smartphone to find directions, to book and remember our appointments, to apply for jobs and source for talent, and even to study online.
The small window that is our smartphone opens into a world of endless opportunities.
This has brought about challenges like information overload, privacy concerns, problem of being always connected and lack of separation of work and rest. We have no time to reflect and meditate. We follow strangers on social media, but do not know our neighbors. We have enough time for social media, but not time to read the good books. We play games with strangers millions of miles away, but have no time to play with our children.
Many times we call everybody except the people that we need to talk to, and end up feeling guilty. We seem so full of life, while inside we are void of anything. We are fixated on superstars far away, and forget everyday heroes on our doorsteps. We download cool wallpapers, but forget to notice flowers growing in our yards.
Like the famous horse that led to the fall of heavily fortified city of Troy, the smartphone can easily bring us down. We need salvation from our smartphones.