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Smartphones Aren't A Luxury, Says WIRED

Guest Kloaked

internet access and something that can use the internet, sure.  necessarily a smartphone?  no.

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Smartphones not being a luxury is starting to become true, a really decent one can be had for the price of a few skipped lunches, and it will do everything you might need a smartphone to do (except maybe gaming). However, an iPhone is most DEFINITELY a luxury product in the smartphone market.

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I agree in the sense that it's pretty hard to exist in this day and age without a form of remote voice communication, whether it be landline or wireless.  If you live on your own, there's a pretty strong case to be made for just having a smartphone.

 

Aside from voice communication, most if not all of the other stuff is a luxury, though.  I have no data with my smartphone plan and I manage to get by just fine.  I also use my phone for offline GPS, for taking pictures/videos, and for music/podcasts.  All of those are luxuries that I could pretty easily do without.  Still, having everything in one package does offer a pretty nice bang for your buck depending on how much you're spending on the phone in the first place.

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A $20 prepaid smartphone works surprisingly well. The one I picked up for my sister as a beater came with a 1.3 GHz dual core (A7) Snapdragon 200, 512 MB of RAM, and a 480P display. Not exactly cutting edge, but this is probably one of the cheapest means of getting onto the internet. 

The pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge.

Forever in search of my reason to exist.

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3 hours ago, M.Yurizaki said:

Okay, here's another point.

 

A friend forgot his phone when we were going out of town for a convention. He still needed a phone so I gave him the idea of buying a pre-paid one from CVS or something.

 

$50 got him a decent Android smartphone. It was probably as good as the OG Motorola Droid I had if not a bit better internally.

 

Smartphones aren't a luxury anymore. Sure $600-$800 flagship phones are out of the realm of many people to buy outright, but if I can get a $50 smartphone (and that includes a month of minutes and some data), then I can't call it a luxury anymore. At least in the US.

Some cheap crap droid phone isn't really anywhere near as nice as something like an iPhone though.

 

Those cheap so-called smartphones at a Walgreens or wherever aren't really what I'd consider a true smartphone to be.  They barely a step above a non-smart phone  (idk what to call those) I'd say.  My grandmother has one last I knew and you could tell it wasn't very good.  It did what she needs it for so it's like it's junk.  Just not really a true smartphone or anywhere near as good as nicer phones like an iPhone are.  

 

An iphone at least is definitely a luxury unless you're like me and got it for free.  I'm still able to get subsidized phone pricing because I still have a Verizon contract.  By getting the "budget" iPhone I guess the SE might be considered like the 5c was I only had to pay a $40 upgrade charge.

 

1 hour ago, Magnetorheological said:

Smartphones not being a luxury is starting to become true, a really decent one can be had for the price of a few skipped lunches, and it will do everything you might need a smartphone to do (except maybe gaming). However, an iPhone is most DEFINITELY a luxury product in the smartphone market.

This.  I agree with this.  Cheaper smartphones aren't a luxury if the price isn't much more than a basic cell phone would cost.  Though an iPhone is still very much a luxury if you're stuck paying hundreds of dollars for it.

 

53 minutes ago, Zodiark1593 said:

A $20 prepaid smartphone works surprisingly well. The one I picked up for my sister as a beater came with a 1.3 GHz dual core (A7) Snapdragon 200, 512 MB of RAM, and a 480P display. Not exactly cutting edge, but this is probably one of the cheapest means of getting onto the internet. 

I wouldn't say a prepaid phone is suitable for Internet use.  I assume you'd pay icky rates for data use wouldn't you?

 

 

Is your sister one of those people who keeps having oops moments and destroying their phone?

 

I had a cousin who used to do that.  lol

 

She kept managing to lose or break her iPhone multiple times.  I'm surprised her parents kept paying to replace it.   

 

 

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Just now, Bleedingyamato said:

Those cheap so-called smartphones at a Walgreens or wherever aren't really what I'd consider a true smartphone to be.  They barely a step above a non-smart phone  (idk what to call those) I'd say.  My grandmother has one last I knew and you could tell it wasn't very good.  It did what she needs it for so it's like it's junk.  Just not really a true smartphone or anywhere near as good as nicer phones like an iPhone are. 

This is moving dangerously close to the "no true Scotsman" argument.

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I live in nyc and you dont need a smartphone to do anything. Having one and being connect just means a company is going to take advantage of the fact that you own one.

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59 minutes ago, M.Yurizaki said:

This is moving dangerously close to the "no true Scotsman" argument.

What's that?

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2 minutes ago, M.Yurizaki said:

If you want to say I'm being stupid just please come out and say it...  

 

If I'm wrong I'm wrong.  ?  I wasn't trying to make some kind of #truesmartphonerace rant.  

 

I just was noting a difference in quality and features of a so-called "true" smartphone like an iPhone or equivalent droid phone vs a cheapie smartphone like you'd find at Walgreens/cvs/similar store.  

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Just now, Bleedingyamato said:

If you want to say I'm being stupid just please come out and say it...  

 

If I'm wrong I'm wrong.  ?  I wasn't trying to make some kind of #truesmartphonerace rant.  

 

I just was noting a difference in quality and features of a so-called "true" smartphone like an iPhone or equivalent droid phone vs a cheapie smartphone like you'd find at Walgreens/cvs/similar store.  

I'm not saying you're stupid. I'm just pointing out your argument is flawed.

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7 minutes ago, M.Yurizaki said:

I'm not saying you're stupid. I'm just pointing out your argument is flawed.

Flawed is a kind of stupid.  lol

 

It's ok to say I am if my argument was.

 

Like I said was just trying to comment on the difference between budget smartphones (why did it take me until now to think of the word budget?...) vs higher end ones like an iPhone. (sorry idk any droid models or I'd give an example of that too)

 

It seems I stated my comments poorly in a way that as you pointed out got rather close to trying to decide what was and wasn't a smartphone without official (I assume there must be some widely agreed upon definition for a smartphone) basis for deciding if a phone is one or not.

 

I have no problem admitting I made a mistake if I did which it seems I did.  So I'm sorry. 

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Entitlement is almost as bad as cancer these days, sometimes hard to tell the two apart.

Currently have an Asus TUF 3080 with a Ryzen 5 3600.

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2 hours ago, Bleedingyamato said:

 

 

I wouldn't say a prepaid phone is suitable for Internet use.  I assume you'd pay icky rates for data use wouldn't you?

 

 

Is your sister one of those people who keeps having oops moments and destroying their phone?

 

I had a cousin who used to do that.  lol

 

She kept managing to lose or break her iPhone multiple times.  I'm surprised her parents kept paying to replace it.   

 

 

The floor for smartphones went up considerably in recent years. A mere few years ago, similar money would buy you a single core ARM11, 128 MB of RAM, and a display that would legitimately give one a headache.  Once such abomination I've come across is the Huawei Prism. 

 

This phone I got my sister plays most games on the app store quite nicely (before dropping it in the toilet). The GPU is the same as used in the Snapdragon 400 variants. 

The pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge.

Forever in search of my reason to exist.

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10 hours ago, zMeul said:

making fun of homeless people? mate, you missed the point entirely

I'm making fun of the imbeciles who think a homeless person's priority is a ~700$ smartphone

 

have you ever lived to the limit of subsistence?! try it, then tell me having a phone is a priority

i never said anyone is making fun of homeless people, but your undertone was that a phone is low priority when in fact it really isn't. i have been there, i have lived on the streets and i can tell you how much of a savior a phone can be. its the difference between being off the grid and on the grid.

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1 hour ago, Zodiark1593 said:

The floor for smartphones went up considerably in recent years. A mere few years ago, similar money would buy you a single core ARM11, 128 MB of RAM, and a display that would legitimately give one a headache.  Once such abomination I've come across is the Huawei Prism. 

 

This phone I got my sister plays most games on the app store quite nicely (before dropping it in the toilet). The GPU is the same as used in the Snapdragon 400 variants. 

That's nice that even the cheaper smartphones are getting better.  ?

 

She dropped it in the toilet?!  ?  (I'm guessing it broke?)

 

Idk about cell phone CPUs sorry...  That 400 thing is decent?

 

 

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Plenty of people including myself are fine without smartphones. They're still ultimately a convenience, not a necessity. My stipulation is that the convenience doesn't outweigh the potential costs that smartphones currently pose, and at that point I'd rather have something else fill the niche of a ultraportable computing device. It's why I'm interesting in machines like the GPD Win.

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2 hours ago, tlink said:

i never said anyone is making fun of homeless people, but your undertone was that a phone is low priority when in fact it really isn't. i have been there, i have lived on the streets and i can tell you how much of a savior a phone can be. its the difference between being off the grid and on the grid.

living on the street means that you don't have income and means you can't afford even a room

 

so, what you're telling me that instead of eating, clothing you're gonna' pay for a cellular plan .... O.o

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5 hours ago, Bleedingyamato said:

That's nice that even the cheaper smartphones are getting better.  ?

 

She dropped it in the toilet?!  ?  (I'm guessing it broke?)

 

Idk about cell phone CPUs sorry...  That 400 thing is decent?

 

 

The snapdragon 400 is common in lower to mid end ($50-200) phones. The series consists of 4 Cortex A7 cpus, and an Adreno 305 GPU. The Snapdragon 200 used in my sister's phone brings it to two cores, and a slightly lower clocked variant of the GPU called the Adreno 302.

 

Arm11 is an old cpu design of about half the  IPC of the Cortex A7, and much lower clocks. 

The pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge.

Forever in search of my reason to exist.

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5 hours ago, zMeul said:

living on the street means that you don't have income and means you can't afford even a room

 

so, what you're telling me that instead of eating, clothing you're gonna' pay for a cellular plan .... O.o

you don't need a cellular plan to use a phone, you wouldn't even be able to get a cellular plan since you don't have a home.

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15 hours ago, M.Yurizaki said:

Smartphones aren't a luxury anymore. Sure $600-$800 flagship phones are out of the realm of many people to buy outright, but if I can get a $50 smartphone (and that includes a month of minutes and some data), then I can't call it a luxury anymore. At least in the US.

I think you are taking "luxury" as a synonym for "expensive" or "un-affordable". and then talking about expensive vs. cheap. The article, however, uses luxury in a more precise way, and talks about luxury vs. necessity.

 

Smartphones, Arduinos, and the like are certainly the cheapest form of computer you can buy, if you don't go for the overpriced versions. Whether any of them is a necessity rather than a luxury stricto sensu is a different question (e.g, bubblegum can be cheaper than a bottle of water, but it's more of a luxury and water more of a necessity).

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24 minutes ago, SpaceGhostC2C said:

I think you are taking "luxury" as a synonym for "expensive" or "un-affordable". and then talking about expensive vs. cheap. The article, however, uses luxury in a more precise way, and talks about luxury vs. necessity.

 

Smartphones, Arduinos, and the like are certainly the cheapest form of computer you can buy, if you don't go for the overpriced versions. Whether any of them is a necessity rather than a luxury stricto sensu is a different question (e.g, bubblegum can be cheaper than a bottle of water, but it's more of a luxury and water more of a necessity).

I figured it was leaning more on that, but I figure that's a whole 'nother can of worms. Like for instance, I could make the argument computers are still a luxury for every day life. I had a colleague at my last job who'd only recently gotten an email address. Until then he had no personal computer (he used a computer at work, obviously) and the most advanced piece of technology he had was probably his TV (which he wouldn't mind getting rid of, it was just around so his guests could have something to do) or his landline phone. And I know a few people (granted they're much older than I) who either don't have a personal computer or don't really have any use for one.

 

So really, technology being a luxury or a necessity really depends on your lifestyle and how you can cope with societal pressure.

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2 hours ago, Zodiark1593 said:

The snapdragon 400 is common in lower to mid end ($50-200) phones. The series consists of 4 Cortex A7 cpus, and an Adreno 305 GPU. The Snapdragon 200 used in my sister's phone brings it to two cores, and a slightly lower clocked variant of the GPU called the Adreno 302.

 

Arm11 is an old cpu design of about half the  IPC of the Cortex A7, and much lower clocks. 

Ok.  Thank you for the info.  

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On 03/08/2017 at 2:03 PM, Bouzoo said:

I am sorry, what? 

Come on now, we all know that $20 I gave to the homeless person the other day is going towards his next fifth of vodka or his next dimebag lol

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