My phone was stolen. So I do need a new phone. I am currently using my aunt’s old phone, which is fine, texts, calls, alarms, no problem. However… I miss my old smartphone. Not just because it was shiny and kept me in contact with all my friends and had access to the internet and all manner of silly games if I was stuck waiting for a bus with no-one to talk to and no book to read. I think all those are big reasons why smartphones are popular, but the reason I feel like I *need* one is because actually, being able to check your emails, read over documents people send you, add things to your calendar — which then syncs with your email calendar and then beeps to tell you not to be late, and do any number of other useful, grown-up things, is brilliant. To someone like me, who really struggles to remember things like doctor’s appointments and even regular weekly rehearsal slots and so on, it’s a lifesaver. And when you’re desperately trying to get somewhere, and you’ve got no sense of direction and you’re going to be late? Google Maps. In your palm. Bang.
So I do feel rather lost without my smartphone. I’ve not had it for three or four months now and I still miss it and I still struggle without it.
So I’ve come to the conclusion that, wonderful as it is that my aunt has given me her old phone ‘for as long as you need it’, I do need to replace my beloved smartphone sooner rather than later. Cost is a consideration for me at the moment, but I’d rather get something pricey and futureproof (ish) than something outdated or poorly made which won’t last above a year. I don’t like buttons, I’ve decided – when my hands are cold or I’m walking and texting it’s far, far too easy to inadvertently delete or send texts when I’m not ready, which wasn’t a problem at all with the iPhone I used to have. I do want something which is a pretty object to have in my handbag, let’s be honest. And maybe the crucial concern is that I don’t have much patience with technology. I have plenty of friends, and a boyfriend, who can pick up anything electronic and use it straight out of the box. It’s like my friends are all Chip-Whisperers or something. Yes that is a thing. It is a thing which I am not. But I can’t stand being confused by technology and I can’t stand it if I don’t find it reasonably intuitive and I can’t be doing with spending too long ‘getting used to’ how it works.
So for me the iPhone was pretty much perfect. It worked right out of the box, there were definitely shortcuts and things I didn’t know about for far too long but once I knew them they seemed like magic to me, and had I never discovered them, my life would not have been the poorer for it. It practically talked to me and told me how to do everything I needed to do.
I’m worried that other smartphones won’t do that. I don’t know – and I don’t know how to find out. Ideas?
The thing is that up until about ten minutes ago this wasn’t a problem. I was just going to find an iPhone that was as new as possible, preferably a fully refurbished 4S or something, at the most affordable price I could, from somewhere reputable, and that was going to be lovely.
And then I thought, ‘shouldn’t I try to be vaguely ethical about this’?
The answer is that no, you can’t get an ethical smartphone. Wherever you look, the workers are unhappy, trade unions are a rarity or a sham, they’re working with toxic materials in unsafe conditions under regimes that we don’t really like, and it’s all a bit horrible. Out of twenty, the highest any phone manufacturer scores is 10.5 (taken from this article, courtesy of Ethical Consumer, which I can’t afford to pay to read). Amplicom don’t make smartphones, but we’ve all heard of Blackberry, in 2nd place, who do.
I don’t want a Blackberry though! They’re clunky and buttony and complicated and I’m neither a lawyer nor an MP so I just shouldn’t have one!
Apple score 7. Is that OK? No, it’s shit, it’s 35 percent of ethical, which is hideous. But if the best I’m going to get is a grudging 50%, is that OK?
I hope that last paragraph or two explain the title completely. #Firstworldproblems indeed… .