when being the same is popular, do something different

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@android.police

Samsung is one of the biggest tech companies in the world right now. They have been the benchmark for many products in the past, and they just made history this week, bringing out the first foldable phone ever.

Now, I am an avid Apple supporter – mostly due to the fact that I love how efficient the seamlessness is between my iPhone and Mac. Quite frankly, I’ve never been a brand enthusiast. I’m not very particular when it comes to staying true to a company. I like what I like, and what I purchase reflects this – brands typically don’t have a big influence on that. So my current Apple monopoly isn’t necessarily out of respect for the brand, more so the necessity of work flow.

I currently have an iPhone 6 and a 15″ Macbook from 2014. So I’m clearly not concerned with having the latest and greatest gadgets either. My point is, the product development of Apple hasn’t excited me recently. I had no urge to run out and get the iPhone X, and yet, I have no urge to shop around for other brands. Nothing has caught my attention. Apple tends to stick to the same proportions, aesthetic, and materials. I understand it’s a coherent product lineup, but their over-enthusiasm for the “redesign” of the camera from a horizontal orientation to a vertical one, is ridiculous. They could add 1 GB of storage and say it’s a whole new phone with “revolutionary capabilities” and people would eat it up.

I’m being cynical, but as someone who has been directly influenced by the evolution of phones (I had the Motorola Razr and the LG Envy in middle school) it seems ridiculous that nothing has been extremely progressive in the past few years.

Insert Samsung and their most recent Galaxy release. We don’t know the exact name of the phone yet (rumors have dubbed it the X, F, or Fold), but the technology itself seems revolutionary. There’s a slew of problems that will become extremely apparent after consumers get ahold of it, but design isn’t necessarily supposed to have all of the answers in the beginning.

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@cnet

Innovation starts out with an idea. I had an Apple Shuffle iPod a few years after it came out. It didn’t have a screen, you had no idea what song was coming next, and you had no chance to choose. But, the idea behind it – the most compact music device of the time – was the priority.

I’m trying not to be overly critical about Samsung’s ability to change the phone game – that has been completely stagnant for at least the past 6 years – and frankly, I’m more excited about the prospect that big companies are willing to risk not only their reputation and profitability, but design capabilities, on a new concept.

Decluttering my phone

Welcome to my lock screen and home screen. I have no idea why I had the intense urge to go through my phone and rearrange everything last night. I used to be a big app person, but over the past year, I’ve gotten in the habit of purging things from my phone that I don’t use. I only deleted about 5 apps last night, so the main event was organizing them.

We clean our house pretty frequently. We do laundry often. We clean out our car every few weeks. Yet, for some reason, we never clean out our technology. That seems off. I feel this great relief, knowing I only have apps that are essential. And storing them in folders (color coordination was very pleasing to me) puts them out of sight and out of mind. I’ve swiped through people’s home pages before, and the worst one I ever saw was an ex-boyfriend of mine. He had almost 9 pages of screens, all completely full of apps. I had asked him if he used all of them. He said maybe 50% of them were something he touched on a weekly basis. That enraged me for some reason. If you don’t use it, why is it there?? I’m not judging other people’s habits, but rather, questioning why this isn’t something the general population is aware of with technology.

I’ve been trying to use my phone less and less. If I watch Netflix, I do it on my laptop. If I need to write down notes, I do it in a physical notebook. I’m not claiming to be some guru on time management (because quite frankly I’m a terrible procrastinator). But, I find that if I don’t have anything to do on my phone, I put it down and get on with my life. I remember spending hours, yes, HOURS, on certain apps (RIP Vine). I never realized how much time I was spending on my phone until I’d look up – seemingly rising from a deep sleep – and panic that the past 2 hours were wasted. Time I’ll never get back. Because of that, I am starting to believe that your phone should be used for just that: being a phone. Aka you call and text, look at the occasional email, listen to music, and FaceTime people.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was “don’t do your homework in bed.” It sounds stupidly simple. But the premise is that, your bed should be for sleeping, and a desk or homework area should be for working. Separating those activities and spaces – compartmentalization of your life – creates a more utilitarian and focused approach. But why don’t we do that with our phones? They become a magnet for all of these unwarranted and useless activities. I’m compartmentalizing my phone into a specific use, and hopefully that does some magic for me.

“Put your phone down…

…Your texts will be there later. The person in front of you won’t.”

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@unsplash

I would classify myself as a millennial, and though we get a bad rap, I think my generation is the last one to have grown up without an abundance of technology. As a child, my sisters and I played outside every chance we could get. I didn’t have a phone until the end of 8th grade, and a Facebook until college. I just recently deleted my Instagram after a few years of use (that’s a topic for another day). Now, I witness young kids as little as 3rd grade, have brand new iPhones. And my goodness are they wizzes on those things. The amount of technology they have been subject to since the day they were born, is uncanny. The world has never seen anything like this.

It’s an overdone topic — shaming young kids for living through their devices. Quite honestly, if any of us were in that situation, it would be difficult to know any better. I can remember my sisters and I playing games on the computer, and we’d have to wait at least 20 minutes for an internet page just to load. I had an iPod shuffle, which didn’t have a screen; and you had no idea what song was going to play next. Dial-up has upgraded to the newly prospective 5G. Music devices have upgraded to phones (that are now more powerful than most computers). And I can barely keep up with the new tech that comes out it seems every other day.

What has bugged me for the longest time however, is the lack of conversation people seem to have these days. The art of having a discussion/chat/convo in person — and not over text — seems to have been lost. Especially when I try to talk to someone just a few years younger than me, it feels as if I’m having a conversation with a brick wall. Older generations haven’t lost this social skill because they didn’t grow up texting 24/7. And I’ve tried to limit my screen time (particularly at a restaurant), because talking to people is something I enjoy immensely. I’ll see couples out to dinner, both of them on their phones, not saying a word to each other. It frustrates me; so I tend to gravitate towards activities with friends where phone use is limited. Examples include: bowling, trivia nights, going to the movies, board games, get outside for a walk, etc. Be creative! Put your phone down and experience life and the people around you.

I am being slightly hypocritical right now, since I’m typing this up across from a friend at a coffee shop. But now, I’m signing off and enjoying our time together! Go, have a great day!