Author Topic: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?  (Read 13833 times)

Luck better Skill

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Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« on: September 30, 2013, 08:18:33 AM »
  Got invited to watch the afternoon football games and have a delicious homemade dinner cooked for me.  It was great.  My mustachian buddy and I commented on the number of cell phone commercials.  Comments included, "you have a 5 year old phone or 2007 called wants its camera/phone back."  The overall theme was if you don't have a smart phone poor you.  Does anyone else see a trend of cell phones being a status symbol?
 

RootofGood

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2013, 08:22:50 AM »
I think they have been for at least 10-15 years. 

Even for little kids.  My little girls come home from school and say "Daddy I want a cell phone, everyone else at school has one".  That's not really true, but some do have them.  I imagine most of those are hand me downs after parents get a new phone every 2 years. 

Part of the cellphone industrial complex is the pricing model cell providers use to constantly get you into a new phone.  You pay a higher price each month to essentially lease to own your phone after 2 years on the contract.  Some have started to switch to "you pay full price for the phone, but we'll help you finance it if you can't pay a couple hundred bucks up front". 

I personally prefer to just pay the price up front at somewhere like virgin mobile, t-mobile prepaid, or Republic wireless.  A couple hundred bucks up front, keep the phone longer than 2 years, and save $50/month versus the guys forcing you into 2 year contracts.  Mustachian all the way! 

aclarridge

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2013, 08:25:28 AM »
Yup! Although there are a few die-hards around that are proud of the longetivity of their dumb-phone or older "smart" phone.

I expect that they are more of a status symbol for younger people though. For people say 25 and up, it's more about the traditional status symbols I think, cars and houses.

JR

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2013, 10:40:05 AM »
Cell phones are the new car payment. I am sure we all know people who immediately finance a new car as soon as they pay off their current one. Now those same people buy a brand new phone every two years and forever pay $90 per month to a cell phone carrier.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2013, 11:00:59 AM »
If you pay attention to the current commercials you'll find a subtle change of terminology. All major carriers are now advertising their new "switch device when you want scheme", which is taken straight from the car leasing industry. They even use the word "downpayment" as part of the ad.

The status symbol thing isn't new though. My buddies and I were already comparing the specs of the Nokia 3210s and 3310s in middle school back in 2001. I also remember how blackberries used to be a executive thing that the companies only gave to the top executives, around 2004-2005. By 2008 even secretaries had one. Pretty ironic when you look at RIM's current situation.

hybrid

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2013, 12:50:01 PM »
It's a great racket for the industry.  A lot of folks have phones (smart or dumb) that are pretty beat up after a few years and voila!  Your next greatest phone is waiting for you, two year contract in hand.  People thought sales for the newest iPhones would come in at 6 million on the first weekend, they hit 9 million instead.  I wonder how many were folks upgrading their beat up iSomething.

I agree 100%.  There is a ton of peer and advertising pressure to have one of these toys.  I get grief about my flip phone from fellow IT folks all the time, but I flick that grief away with a quick little Mustachian parry when I ask them how great it is to get company email 24/7.  Their toys are really leashes, plain and simple.  Hey, I'd spend $90 a month to get my employee to work a bunch off the clock too!  Great deal for the company....

GuitarStv

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2013, 01:08:31 PM »
Yet another reason not to own a cell phone . . .

MgoSam

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2013, 02:14:26 PM »
It's sad but it isn't a status symbol, unless you don't have a recent phone. In that case, you are either poor or out of the loop. My phone is a Galaxy S2 from 2011, and I get some comments from people about it. Their comments aren't meant to be mean, they first ask about what model it is because they don't recognize it, and then get embarrassed when they realize it is a few years ago...apparently it is so shiny that they assume it is new.

I do want a new phone, but this is solely as at least 70% of my talking/texts/voicemail/internet use is work-related.

Jamesqf

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2013, 02:43:12 PM »
It's sad but it isn't a status symbol, unless you don't have a recent phone. In that case, you are either poor or out of the loop.

Definitely out of the loop.  (Or perhaps in an entirely different loop...)  At ~$7/month, mine is not keeping me poor.

But I don't know about phones being status symbols, at least in the circles I travel in.  Nobody ever really notices, as far as I can tell.


ichangedmyname

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2013, 02:59:51 PM »
When I was in college cellphones started becoming a status symbol, especially in the country I grew up in. I just got a hand-me-down but my friends would change cellphones every 3 months when the "newest model" would be released. I was 24 when I could afford to buy a new phone and I had it until I was 29.  My Samsung galaxy s2 was buy one get one when I purchased it and I plan to keep it until it dies on me.

Don't get me started on people who NEEDS the new iPhone the instant it comes out. SMH

Spork

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2013, 03:28:57 PM »
.

SnackDog

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2013, 04:55:18 PM »
When it comes to stuff like phones and cars we have always veered towards situations/jobs which provide them gratis. My current employer even provides free mobile service for my spouse - we had to supply the smart phone but I got a cheap Android.

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2013, 05:11:11 PM »
If so, it sure is cheaper than the previous status symbols (car, house). In terms of pure finances, I'd rather buy a brand new phone every year (heck, every six months) than a brand new car every three.

thepokercab

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2013, 06:43:50 PM »
Smart phones are definitely the new status symbol.

Part of my path to frugality has been living without cable, as well as living without a car.  My friends or family didn't bat an eye.  But once I ditched my high priced smart phone for a cheap flip $10.00 a month pre-paid flip phone, you would have thought I was a third world refugee.  I get consistent grief about it- mostly good natured ribbing, but a couple of folks have actually asked me if I was financially ok, because why else would I get rid of my smart phone.   



MrsPete

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2013, 10:38:56 AM »
I teach high school, and cell phones are definitely a status symbol around here.  Random things I see:

SmartPhones rule, of course, but "everyone" has some type of phone.

Some kids actually carry phones that are not activated (some stolen) just so they look like they're carrying a phone.

Theft of cell phones is the #1 crime on campus.  Admittedly, all too many teens aren't responsible with their phones -- they leave them lying about, etc. 

Ratty, cracked screen or otherwise damaged phones are borderline-acceptable, but having no phone is social suicide. 

Every now and then a kid sees my old dumb-phone, and they never fail to think it's hilarious. 

Used to be that at the end of the day the halls were loud with kids talking to friends, making plans for after school, walking out the door together -- now the students walk out the door in silence, all with heads bent over their phones.

I have chaperoned the prom and other dances numerous times.  At any given moment, a surprisingly large proportion of the students are sitting at the tables texting.  It makes no sense:  They've spent money on this event, worried about their dates and outfits, WHY spend any part of the evening texting?  And WHO could they be texting?  Isn't everyone at the event?

Kids are so used to googling things . . . when they have to look something up in a book, they're genuinely confused.  For example, when I had them doing a project that involved looking up biographies a number of students didn't know whether they should go to R for Rosa or P for Parks. 
 


In contrast, I don't think phones are a status symbol in my social group.  We all have phones, but we don't feel the need to flash them about.  We don't have the latest and greatest.  We don't fiddle with them 24/7.  We see them as tools, not something to show off. 

Will today's teens always love their phones, even as they age?  That's something we'll learn in the future. 

Osprey

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2013, 10:03:22 AM »
I think there may be a hipster movement towards old "dumb" phones nowadays. I've seen the phenomenon among kids who are still paritally living off their very wealthy parents. They have iPads though ;)

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2013, 10:13:09 AM »
Back in the early '90s I was managing a software development department.  My boss informed me that he had ordered pagers for me and for the programmers who worked for me.

I looked him straight in the eyes and said, "When my programmers and I write such bad code that we need to carry pagers, I will find another line of work."

Never did see those pagers. :)

Spork

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2013, 10:16:35 AM »
Back in the early '90s I was managing a software development department.  My boss informed me that he had ordered pagers for me and for the programmers who worked for me.

I looked him straight in the eyes and said, "When my programmers and I write such bad code that we need to carry pagers, I will find another line of work."

Never did see those pagers. :)

Wow, so I saw it totally differently.  I saw the pagers as an excellent out-of-band notification mechanism USED BY the programs.  When someone in the early 2000's "upgraded" the pagers to a fancy cellular-based paging system that used "the network" instead of dial up for notification, I told them to stuff them. 

ichangedmyname

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2013, 01:14:00 PM »
When I was in college cellphones started becoming a status symbol, especially in the country I grew up in. I just got a hand-me-down but my friends would change cellphones every 3 months when the "newest model" would be released. I was 24 when I could afford to buy a new phone and I had it until I was 29.  My Samsung galaxy s2 was buy one get one when I purchased it and I plan to keep it until it dies on me.

Don't get me started on people who NEEDS the new iPhone the instant it comes out. SMH

Where did you grow up? My husband lived in Malaysia and Singapore as a teen and it was a lot like this.

The Philippines. :)

DebtDerp

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2013, 04:18:14 PM »
I'll just leave this here.

Quote
Asked which of 4 items mobile phone, wallet, house key and car key would be worse to go without for 2 days, a plurality 42% of American Millennials (aged 18-31) chose their mobile phone...

http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/online/millennials-would-rather-go-without-house-key-than-mobile-phone-for-2-days-37059/

Quote
Millennials would rather give up driving than their smartphone or laptop, a survey commissioned by the car rental company Zipcar finds.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/01/millennials-car-ownership_n_2789454.html


Dr.Vibrissae

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2013, 05:50:33 PM »
Asked which of 4 items mobile phone, wallet, house key and car key would be worse to go without for 2 days, a plurality 42% of American Millennials (aged 18-31) chose their mobile phone...

Well, my phone is the only one I don't regularly go without for days at a time anyways.  I frequently don't carry my wallet (just my ID), I don't lock my backdoor, I only drive 1-2 days a week.  Now if they added office key to the list, it would definitely be worst.  However, I've not had mine for 3 days now, with minimal issues.

To be fair, I carry a 4 year old Boulder flip phone that I mostly use to text people in my office and family.

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2013, 09:38:22 PM »
Quote
Asked which of 4 items mobile phone, wallet, house key and car key would be worse to go without for 2 days, a plurality 42% of American Millennials (aged 18-31) chose their mobile phone...

Well, I'd pick the same. On the average day, I don't need my wallet or car key (don't drive most days), or house key (usually keep it unlocked...sssh, don't tell the neighbors).

Plus, you know that mobile phones can do nearly freakin' everything now, right? I could scan in (or simply take a picture of) my driver's license, so there's proof of my license (not 100% foolproof, but if the police as you for proof of identity, they can probably pull up your info using your license number). You can use your mobile to pay for purchases with the tap-to-pay thingie (unfortunately it doesn't work yet in Australia, but someday...). And I think there's cars that don't use a key now...aren't there? As for a house key...just read that there are door locks that work with NFC...which is in many smartphones now (NFC is also what powers tap-to-pay).

Quote
Millennials would rather give up driving than their smartphone or laptop, a survey commissioned by the car rental company Zipcar finds.

I may not be a Millennial (solid mid-30s here), but I'd make the same choice. As long as there were buses, or I could bum a ride off a family member...I'd sooner give up my car than my laptop and phone.

potatoface

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2013, 11:45:35 PM »
My teenage daughter has a dumb phone due to her being required to babysit her sibling often. Her mom also got her an ipod. When my daughter asked for an iphone I suggested taping the ipod to the back of her phone. At least I thought it was funny.

fauxjargon

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2013, 09:45:04 PM »
I agree, lots of cell phone plans are structured in such a way so as to promote replacement once the plan is up... for instance, my 3 year contract at $50 a month doesn't get any cheaper once I've "paid off" my smartphone, even though I am no longer on the hook for any money should I cancel my contract after 3 years.  So at the three year mark, I will have a (3 year old) phone which I own outright and a contract which is now a much worse deal - I could deactivate the phone I already have and get another phone for the same monthly cost.

That being said, for identical services (minus data, which I find pretty useful), I could have got a dumb phone for $30/mo pretty easily - so over 36 months I pay $720 dollars extra for my smartphone.  Crazy.  However, the value of having internet access anywhere is tremendous, and also I get a lot of use in my private and professional life out of being able to take a picture and show it to someone (later) on the phone - on a dumb phone's tiny low resolution screen that's basically impossible.

However I do plan to keep my cell phone till it dies - I can switch it to a cheaper plan once my 3 years is up.

And that being said, I don't have kids, but out of the many "necessities" that kids now have, the very last thing I would deny them is a cell phone of some sort - not because I think cell phones are great but because of how it would disconnect them from their friends.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 09:49:30 PM by fauxjargon »

dragoncar

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2013, 10:00:40 PM »
My teenage daughter has a dumb phone due to her being required to babysit her sibling often. Her mom also got her an ipod. When my daughter asked for an iphone I suggested taping the ipod to the back of her phone. At least I thought it was funny.

Dad Jokes! 

Ps what is this guest designation?  Is it new?

Spork

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #25 on: October 17, 2013, 08:14:16 AM »

Ps what is this guest designation?  Is it new?

I think it means "they unregistered their user."   ...but I can't say I am sure about that.

dragoncar

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #26 on: October 17, 2013, 10:14:22 AM »

Ps what is this guest designation?  Is it new?

I think it means "they unregistered their user."   ...but I can't say I am sure about that.

The only way to find out is for you to unregistered and get back to us :-)

elaine amj

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2013, 11:15:57 AM »
My dumbphones (and my BBs now) die about every 2 years. So mentally, I think of a phone's lifespan as 2 years. We do use our phones a lot. And I'd give up a lot of things before I'd give up my smartphone. That said, my DH got his first smartphone just 2 years ago and I got my first BB only 3 years ago. We lived on dumbphones (with no texting) for a long, long time before that.

To me, the smartphone is entertainment. Not essential, but SO nice to have. our household is brimming with phones and devices (very anti-Mustachian *sigh*).

I have an iPhone 5 my stepfather bought for me (a surprise and I still feel guilty about how much it cost). I use it as a fancy iPod and primarily my 12 yr old daughter uses it daily. My kids started fighting over the iPhone recently (despite having a perfectly good Playbook and 2 laptops sitting unused), so my MIL insisted on buying my 11 yr old son an iPhone and gave $300 for this. He wanted the iPod 5. We picked up a great condition 32G iPhone 3GS for $150. he is still grumbling that he would have preferred an iPod5 (Yes, he is spoiled *sigh*). I told him for the same price, I prefer him to have a phone so in situations where we need him to have a phone, we can just pop DH's SIM card in his phone. We've done this 1x in the last few months.

I just consider them toys. They could have five $30 toys laying around or one intact smartphone loaded with apps.

DD12 asks me when she will start carrying an activated cellphone. I told her when she needs it. That may be next month or it may be 5 years from now.

Argyle

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #28 on: October 20, 2013, 02:51:12 PM »
I know a family where the two parents have the latest iPhones and the two kids (8 and 10) have the parents' two year-old iPhones.  One of the parents was recently getting stressed and telling me about how much debt they were in because one of their jobs had been cut back -- something they suspected was coming for some time.  "I just don't know how we can save any money," they said.  And I thought: the answer is right in your pockets there.  What are four iPhone contracts costing them per month?  If you're out of debt and not hoping for FI, then go ahead, but in their circumstances...

kms

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #29 on: October 30, 2013, 12:46:33 AM »
Based on observations I would say that the period of the smartphone as status symbol is already coming to an end. It started somewhere around 2007 when Apple first released their iPhone, suddenly it became "hip" and "in" to own one even though at first you couldn't really do anything with it. With smartphones becoming ever cheaper and widespread they've experienced the unavoidable decline from status symbol to matter of course to necessity. I'm not sure yet what the next status symbol will be but nowadays it's hard to impress anyone with an $800 iPhone when every secretary and her mother have one.

I've used my iPhone 3GS pretty much until it broke last year, and got a new iPhone 5. It's a company phone though so I didn't have to pay for it. My wife has used her 3GS until early this year and got a good deal on an iPhone 5 which she now plans to use until it falls apart. I think smart phones have passed through a cycle similar to the one that desktop computers and laptops have very recently. Up until a few years ago you needed to upgrade your computer every two to three years because of software requirements. Somewhere around 2007/2008 these thing had become so blazingly fast that you can continue using them even today without any major annoyances running the latest and greatest software out there. I'm typing this on a 2007 MacBook running the (at this point outdated but still supported) OS X 10.6 that I still use pretty much every day. I have a brand-new 13" Retina MacBook Pro sitting at home that I received last year as part of my bonus and it doesn't really do anything better than this little thing here. Todays smartphones are so fast that one will be able to continue using them for much longer than smartphones just a few years ago, and I'm convinced that this has helped a great deal in turning them from status symbol to necessity.

jamface10

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #30 on: October 30, 2013, 01:04:33 AM »
Why are they so damn big! These new phones are never going to fit into my pocket.

I'm trying to decide whether to save for an HTC One (slowly getting cheaper, and it wouldnt be until early next year that I got it) which I know will be fast enough to satisfy any tech wants for a long time, or buy a cheap old S3 mini which will be good enough but I may get frustrated with sooner.

kms

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #31 on: October 30, 2013, 01:11:12 AM »
Haha welcome to my world :-) I've been annoyed by their growth ever since they passed that goddamned 3.5" barrier. Even the iPhone 5 is too big for me to use with one hand and it's one of the smaller devices. For some reason people seem to like them getting ever bigger and it bugs the living hell out of me, too.

Nudelkopf

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #32 on: October 30, 2013, 03:13:21 AM »
Every now and then a kid sees my old dumb-phone, and they never fail to think it's hilarious. 
I'm a high school teacher too, and one kid about 13 years old had to borrow my old flip phone.. She didn't even know how to open it :(

Spork

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #33 on: October 30, 2013, 08:06:04 AM »
Todays smartphones are so fast that one will be able to continue using them for much longer than smartphones just a few years ago, and I'm convinced that this has helped a great deal in turning them from status symbol to necessity.

Fast was never the issue.  It was always "mine's cooler."  And... as far as smartphones go replacement is also driven by the fact they break quicker.  (My feature phone was made before the original iphone version 1, has been dropped, kicked, tossed, etc.  and still works great.)

Why are they so damn big! These new phones are never going to fit into my pocket.

This has happened before and will happen again.  What is "in" in cell phones is like what is "in" in fashion:  Nothing is new and they cycle what is cool around so that everyone must upgrade or feel some silly personal shame.  I remember a phase of big brick phones back in the early 2000s as well.

netskyblue

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #34 on: October 30, 2013, 08:25:47 AM »
It's sad but it isn't a status symbol, unless you don't have a recent phone. In that case, you are either poor or out of the loop. My phone is a Galaxy S2 from 2011, and I get some comments from people about it. Their comments aren't meant to be mean, they first ask about what model it is because they don't recognize it, and then get embarrassed when they realize it is a few years ago...apparently it is so shiny that they assume it is new.

I do want a new phone, but this is solely as at least 70% of my talking/texts/voicemail/internet use is work-related.

Ha ha, I actually just upgraded to this phone a couple months ago.  I'd had the first Galaxy for several years, got a new (used) phone when I switched to Ting.  I would have liked the newest Galaxy, but really couldn't justify double the price when the ONLY thing that would have been a difference to me was a few more megapixels.  I determined I could buy the S2 AND a digital camera equal to the new phone for less than buying the new phone.  I still haven't determined that I need the camera, so haven't bought it.

Has anyone seen that Nokia commercial for the phone with 41 megapixels.  Like...What?!  Are you printing billboards?

oldtoyota

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Re: Are Cell Phones the new status symbol?
« Reply #35 on: November 01, 2013, 01:04:04 PM »
I got into mobile late and have no regrets.

I had a dumb phone up until 2010 or so. People insisted I could text if I wanted to...and then they'd look at my phone and see they would need to tap the number "two" three times to get to the letter "C" and they looked horrified. Haha!

Finally, we decided to switch. I thought I was the last one on the planet to give up the dumbphone, but I found a coworker who outlasted me.

I supposedly have a great phone now, because I let spouse do whatever and none of us knew better. Personally, I don't care about my phone's shiny greatness since I intend to keep it once it's no longer "cool."