Why do gadgets have to be so complicated, old-timers ask

What's the point of a mobile phone offering GPS facilities if it can't help an old-timer find his way through a maze of choices?

AD: Hey what's up, you don't seem to be answering your calls?

BC: My mobile phone isn't working. I might have to buy a new one.

AD: Don't look so sad — there are some great mobile phones in the market.

BC: It's not that. When I was your age, anything we bought lasted for decades...

AD: How old is your phone?

BC: I bought it in 2003…

AD: Eight years? Are you kidding? You have a relic in your hands. Why don't you sell it to a technology museum for a few lakhs, get yourself a swanky iphone and...

BC: Very funny. I wasn't worried about the cost. Buying a mobile has become so complicated these days…

AD: What do you mean?

BC: Remember the mid-90s? There were just 3-4 brands to choose from...

AD: Just four brands? Imagine, the IPL wouldn't have had enough sponsors on TV...

BC: IPL reminds me of other abbreviations we had to choose from — CDMA and GSM...

AD: I remember that — CDMA connections had eight digit numbers right?

BC: Yes, and there were only three models — the straight candy bar type, the flip phone and the sliding type.

AD: Each weighing a few kilos...

BC: Whatever! The point is, choosing a mobile phone model was simple. And cellular service providers conducted ‘handset melas'. I remember one where you could buy four phones and get one free.

AD: You're kidding me!

BC: Of course not. In fact, people waited outside the venue to form groups of five — they would then share the discount among themselves. Back then, it wasn't about handsets, it was about going cellular...

AD: How things have changed!

BC: You're telling me! I recall an ad congratulating a service provider in Chennai for reaching the ‘5000 subscribers' landmark… that was around 15 years ago…

AD: Now you're being funny...

BC: No, seriously…

AD: Do you know that we are currently the world's second-largest mobile phone market, after China? I doubt if any other country uses mobile phones as extensively as we do…

BC: Speaking of usage, things were pretty simple back then. There was no life beyond calls and messages. Then came the fancy gadgets — alarm clock, radio, mp3, flashlight, camera...

AD: You call them fancy?

BC: Go ahead, laugh! Then came bluetooth, Internet-enabled phones, Wi-Fi connectivity, add-on memory chips...

AD: That's right, establishing connectivity with other devices was so convenient, wasn't it?

BC: To me, it just complicated things. And it got worse with dual SIMs, QWERTY keypads, touchscreen, multimedia, GPS...

AD: What you need is a landline with a long cord so it can be mobile...

BC: I'm ignoring that. But the latest seems to be 3G…

AD: 4G could be on its way in, and there is a possibility of a futuristic 5G in the next decade…

BC: To me, G still stands for the earth's gravity, which is pulling me down so much that I'm not able to keep pace with your generation...

AD: You'd better start moving fast…  India's racing towards a 3G era…

BC: You're talking of 3G — can you imagine a place that still thrives on .16G?

AD: Which place is this?

BC: The moon — the gravity there is just around 16 per cent of what it is on earth.  

sureshl.india@gmail.com

Keywords: mobile phonegadgets

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MetroplusJune 28, 2012