There are those who upgrade their phones every six months and others who have to be dragged to an upgrade kicking and screaming...

I don’t like smart phones very much. Or rather they don’t like me. They run out of charge the days I get home late, by which time my frantic family is on the verge of ringing up the local police station. The touch screen doesn’t respond to me when I want it to (sort of like a man you love to bits who doesn’t feel the same way about you), the applications flummox me and the device is often so fragile that you end up having to visit the phone repair shop every time you drop it (which in my case is often).

I acquired my first smart phone three years ago and I still struggle to deal with it. It took me two whole years before I opted for an internet plan and downloaded WhatsApp. I still haven’t figured out what the rest of the little icons stand for and I just about manage to make calls, send texts and occasionally browse the internet on my phone. Most of the time, I long to turn back time and go back to those big, durable, unwieldy phones of yore that were so eminently user-friendly and did what a phone is supposed to do fairly well.

I appear to be in the minority though, it appears. Most people have taken to the smart phone like a fish to water and they love what they can do with it.

According to Rajan Chellappa, a HR professional who has bought two phones in the last two years, “The one thing I’ve learnt about phone is that it is no longer about simply making calls. We’ve moved perspective from seeing it as a calling device to a communication device.”

He’s right. From email to twitter, Facebook, whatsapp, blackberry messenger and chat forums—nearly everything can be accessed on a smart phone.

“It’s become a one stop shop for everything today,” continues Rajan. “And the technology is constantly being advanced so you need to keep upgrading to keep up with it.”

Irfan, Manager of a store that sells phones agrees, “Earlier people would come here to upgrade their phone once every two to three years. Now it happens in six months. The younger people, especially, love keeping abreast of new technology.”

“Personally I love experiencing this new technology,” adds Kartik Kumar, another management professional. “Some of these new phones are amazing. I also think it’s a bit of a status symbol, especially since many of the more advanced models cost close to half a lakh.”

Technology is not everyone’s cup of tea. There are also people who get intimidated by it.

“Well I normally buy a new phone when I lose a phone or it is beyond repair,” smiles Ananya Das, a communication expert. “It took me a lot of coaxing to graduate to a smart phone but once I got it, I realized it was worth it.”

So what are the features that people look out for when they chose to buy a smart phone?

“I always see how much memory it has and how good is its battery life,” says Ananya. “And I like a good camera too.”

“For me it’s the processor, battery life, display, screen and brand,” says Kartik. “I’ve had a couple of bad experiences with some of the new phones user interface and also battery life. So I traded those phones in and changed it to ones that were more user-friendly.”

“Most customers today who opt for a smart phone, prefer the ones that use touch technology,” says Irfan.

Popular though it is, touch technology does take some time getting used to, “When I first got my touch phone, I didn’t know how to pick up calls. I figured out how to make them but not to pick them up. My phone bill was rather high that month, I must admit,” laughs Ananya.

There are others who continue to grapple with the technology, “I’ve had a touch phone for nearly a year now but I still miss the physical QWERTY keypad of my old phone,” moans Piya Bhaskar, a stay at home mother. “I can’t type very well on this phone.”

Kartik recalls a friend who had an even worse experience with a smart phone, “I had a friend who still hadn’t figured how to use his new phone and ended up sending a flirty message intended for an attractive female colleague to his wife. The rest was history, as they say. He’s back to using a basic mobile phone with absolutely no add-ons. So much for multi-tasking,” he grins.

Jibin George, a pensioner refused to succumb to the lure of the smart phone, “The purpose of a phone is to stay in touch. My basic phone manages to do that without any added complications. I like keeping it simple. At the end of the day a phone’s actual function is to make calls. I think people should remember that. We seem to be doing everything but calling people on a phone now days,” he says.