Smart Again

(This post is in continuation of an older post titled On a smartness diet : Back to Basics which discussed about my experiment of moving from a smart phone towards a feature phone)

This rather took long but has been an experience. I had planned to use the feature phone for a week and write down my experience but for some reasons, I decided to stretch that period of a week to several weeks:

  • - The smartphone's (Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro) headset speaker failed and I couldn't hear anything from it.
  • - I had decided to buy an Android phone which is more developer friendly - Galaxy Nexus (till that time)
  • - Most importantly, I was having no problem using that Nokia 1202
Still, after a few more weeks, I realized the strengths and weaknesses of having a smartphone.

The main reasons why I left the smartphone were:

Technical Reasons:
a) The phone not being able to perform basic operations of telephony. Making one call after another was a real job and used to take almost 3 minutes. Miserably slow
b) The phone had become miserably slow
c) The battery performance was pretty bad.
d) It was still using Android 2.1, keeping me from trying and developing new apps, not good for a developer

Psychological Reasons:
a) The constant connect, the sync, emails landing on the phone as soon as they arrive, whatsapp, viber, twitter, facebook.. too much of involvement which is often not required.
As with emails, I would rarely be able to do something about them even if I read them on the phone, but they kept giving that feel of urgency alive all the time, adding to anxiety and stress.
Similarly, facebook notification, whasapp chats, all are something that can wait until I get to a computer, and don't require my immediate attention. These all bared me from living in the moment, focusing on what was happening around me right at the moment.

b) Google Maps : Although a perfect application for travelers, but I realized my natural way of path-finding was becoming weaker the more I used the maps and navigation. When I switched to a phone and had to find ways on my own, this realization occurred.

What I noticed:
Although I guess I would enjoy the disconnect, and I somehow did, but it wasn't a phenomenal change. I never felt that I was too addicted to the connection I talked about above and I should go back to the smartphone as soon as I can. No, it just didn't happen. What I did notice I was missing was quite surprising.

a) I missed the ToDo app that I used the most. THE MOST.
b) After that I missed the full qwerty keyboard.
c) Then I missed the non-volatile call-log memory of smarter phones
d) Then the (almost) unlimited memory for storing Text Messages

Then there were some limitation with that phone specifically (the poor quality microphone, used to catch too much noise; the poor headset speaker), because it was a very inexpensive phone (Nokia 1202)

What I learned:
I had quite some discussion with one of my dear friend over G+ about how he manages his emails and stuff, and am now following those tips plus some of my own when I have moved back to Galaxy Nexus.
a) Stop syncing emails, mark a time, and read your emails on the phone then.
b) Proactively check if you're falling into the always connected trap again. I keep the viber and whatsapp activity as low as possible now, restrict it to the particular times, adjust notification so that it doesn't remind me of stuff way too much
c) Stop using Maps. This phone has a better GPS and a better Map (because of the multi-touch, and a better screen), so I can get my location whenever I want it, quicker. So I start with finding my way without the maps, and if I have to use Maps I use them only when I am stuck, not always.

What I enjoyed:
a) The battery life is great. 3 days on a single recharge just feels awesome.
b) It was very light-weight, you almost forget its in your pocket.
c) It was pretty small and sleek too, very easy to handle.
d) And the speed, oh boy, everything used to happen at an instant, although there was not much I could do :P

It was good 60 days spent with the Nokia phone.
So far so good and it has surely helped in improving focus. More to go, more to see, but good lessons learned.