Thursday, 18 November 2010

Back to basics

Was it just a matter of time before the backlash began? Well it may have just started as this week saw the launch of the new ‘John’s Phone’ – the world’s simplest mobile phone on which you can only make phone calls and has been aptly dubbed the ‘anti-iPhone’.

Multi-functional iPhones, Blackberrys and Androids have become an everyday staple that some claim they couldn’t live without as you can make calls, text, listen to music, watch films, email, play games and surf the net - not to forget the whole host of apps available too. None of which can be done on John’s phone – even the contacts function is old school with a mini address book and pen incorporated into the back of the phone. However, on the upside, the battery will last you an impressive three weeks!

The brainchild of a Dutch advertising agency, is it a genuine, serious mobile product that will sell in its thousands or just a bit of a gimmick? I can see it having both pros and cons for various users. In theory it may be just for thing for the more mature mobile user that doesn’t want to embrace all the whizz bang technology of modern day phones and simply wants to make calls. Or at the other end of the spectrum for young children who may simply need to make a call in an emergency. If I were a parent I think I would feel much happier in the knowledge that I could give my young child a way of getting in touch if they should need to without them having the access to the wider web world from which I might want to protect them from for a little longer. Or it may be just the ticket for those elusive types who hate the fact that they are contactable 24 hours a day as this puts them back in control as you can only make outgoing calls on the John’s Phone.On the other hand, doesn’t it seem a little mad that you can’t even receive incoming calls? Plus there’s the argument that £70 seems like quite a hefty price for a one trick pony phone when there are other multifunctional phones available out there for a fraction of a price - are you paying the price for the novelty?

The bigger argument here is whether or not trends will emerge where things, more specifically technology and media, go full circle. In a year or so time can we predict that library memberships soar as people revert back to more traditional methods of media consumption as opposed to reading your latest novel on an iPad? Personally, and as with most things, I believe it all comes in waves but guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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