How have modern mobile devices affected your work and leisure? How have they changed the way you feel and behave? It’s no doubt that you no longer have to carry multiple gadgets but basically two: a smartphone and a tablet. Or perhaps naming a smartphone is enough. Could be you decided to use a combination of these two – a phablet. Although these devices cannot replace laptops (and probably won’t in the observable future), they have become irreplaceable themselves.
Modern smartphones and tablets are designed to be perfect for consumption of content, which often emphasizes the entertaining side of mobile devices’ nature. Smartphones have replaced mediaplayers for most people, while tablets are perfect for flipping through photo albums. Let’s not forget that OS-powered devices serve as great portable gaming platforms. That makes the device an all-in-one entertainment center.
Smartphones have dismissed some of the most boring activities – standing in queues and waiting. But well, not all the queues vanished, and if we have to stand in one, now it’s not that boring. A quick surfabout in the Web, several minutes to kill while playing a game, or just checking some social account or e-mail – there’s always a smartphone for that.
Besides leisure, mobile devices have incorporated much more features that make it a perfect work tool for many tasks. The standard features were already present in so-called ‘dumb phones’ – alarm clock, calendar, notes, reminders, contact list etc. Now we have advanced note-taking and task management tools, navigation apps, weather apps, and various editors. Having everything in one gadget has never been bad – if only the battery life was longer.
This is where a phone evolved into a smartphone. These are various communication apps for instant text/photo/audio messaging and video chats across different mobile platforms. It’s easier to ‘meet’ anyone you want – just find that person and have a Skype videochat. Numerous messengers are at our service. What could be better, except meeting in person?
Tablets are just perfect at browsing and reading books and news. Once there were newspapers and a cup of tea or coffee, now there are tablets, digital books and Internet blogs. When we want to read what happens in the world, we use news aggregators; when we want to know what our friends are up to, we scroll through feed in social networks. Meanwhile browsing various websites and reading books are the original purposes of such a gadget.
Smartphones and mobile apps have become a great means of interaction between businesses and people. Successful businesses involve mobile communication with their clients. Numerous businesses revolve around mobile software. This makes money and brings convenience to customers – it’s a win-win.
Smartphone has become a perfect assistant to document its owner’s life. We have cameras on smartphones, thoughts in our minds, and social networks to share our life with people we know. That’s very convenient – to share a photo taken in a moment of inspiration, to share a thought with your friends. What’s bad in all that?
Nothing, except when people start developing a bad habit called oversharing. Having all the world on our screens, we already have an excess of information, and we always quickly forget what we know we can easily find again. But having the same excess on social networks is often less informative or even overtly pointless. Let’s remember all those overused quotes, Instagram clichés, badly taken selfies and things similar. We check our social feeds daily, and this overflow isn’t for better really.
BEING ONLINE 24/7
What’s the cost of constantly being online? Now as everyone has at least a mobile phone, a smartphone, it’s simply expected that we are always online, ready to answer the phone or Skype message, ready to find out that there’s another task for us to handle. It’s like working 24/7, like never leaving the office. We should never forget that the most precious moments are those we spend with our families and friends (not online), and these moments mustn’t become less frequent.
DISTRACTION AT WORK
While productivity apps boost our own performance at work, social apps can easily decrease it with the same speed. When it comes to focusing on a task, it’s quite a challenge for anyone. While we can do things quick and easy, as well quick and easy it is to distract us. Endless notifications, when turned on, are a real downside of smartphone use. Probably turning them off will work to reduce the temptation of checking your smartphone one more time.
Have you felt anxiety when your battery runs out? It means that you are no longer able to look one more time through your feed, and you may miss something important – or only seemingly important. This can become a driving force that will make us check it over and over again.
Another side of anxiety is the update anxiety, which was induced upon us by device manufacturers and short gadget lifecycle. Each new iPhone makes the older one a thing of the past; devices that run Android 2.3 Gingerbread are also considered outdated, although they still hold a considerable share. We need new devices to keep up with the pace of technology. This pace not only keeps this anxiety kindling, but as well hits our wallets. So this temptation is worth being fought. Many iPhone fans skip an iteration or two and are okay with that.
Mobile gadgets have firmly taken over our lives, with all the comfort and functionality they offer. The problem is that it’s easy to get lost in the enormous amounts of information, while a lot of it wouldn’t really mean that much to us. Perhaps we can’t break smartphone addiction – it’s too tempting to have an all-knowing and all-doing device in the pocket. Helping us get through daily routine, keeping in touch with people we love, reading about things that we are interested in – it’s all definitely for better. But it’s the misuse that’s for worse, no matter if we talk about mobile devices or anything else. And how has mobile affected your own life?