Thursday, March 5, 2009
The High Price of Technology
I've been buying technological products for years. (Pocket PC 2002, PSP, Zune MP3 players etc.) I've spent alot of money on these tech toys. 250.00 is what they usually cost. So, I thought I would look into a smartphone that would replace all my other tech toys (MP3 player, Digital Camera, Web Browser, Email and Phone as well as a game machine). So, I ordered a LG Vu CU930 for free (ha ha). The activation fee was 59.00. My first AT&T bill was over 150.00. And on top of that its a 2 year contract to pay off the phone. This really bothered me. A single 400.00 device was going to cost me well over 2400.00 (12 X 2 and then some). So, I sent the phone back and I am waiting to have my AT&T account closed. Most all the smartphones today are about the same. Touch screen or itty bitty keys for a full sized keyboard. Most all have 4 Gig MicroSD slots for more memory to store pictures and music. Most have a 1.5 to 5 Megapixel camera. Most link to a computer with Bluetooth or USB. Most will do all these things, yet the price is outrageous! So, I have a 16.00 tracfone I bought at K-Mart and it came with 110 minutes of airtime (the web browsing is non - existant and just wastes minutes). It has a few little games, but no MP3, No camera, no Bluetooth. Basically, its just a phone. Thats all. Very low tech for a technophile like me, but the cost - 20.00 for 60 minutes. Service expires in July. More sensible and cost effective, yet I miss the LG Vu I had with voice dialing and email and web browsing. I could even watch YouTube videos on it (on a very small screen). But the question is Do I Need It? Of course not! I did not need the Pocket PC, or the Zune or the PSP or the DS. I did not need any of these tech toys. I just wanted them, but after the initial price paid for the device I did buy PSP games and DS games and Zune music and Pocket PC programs. But they are no where near as costly as a 2 year service contract for a smartphone. Ok, so the phone is smart but is the smartphone owner DUMB? Over 2400.00 for a 2 year contract at 60-90 a month plus taxes (117.00 on average). 117 X 24 - you do the math. Thats alot of money. More than a new notebook computer of SLR Digital camera or MP3 player. In fact, you could buy all those several times over for the price on one device with a 2 year contract. Several years ago I bought my daughter a Motorola Razor phone with a 1 year service contract from Alltel. After the year was over the phone was paid off. And, as the phone did not last 2 years (cracked faceplate, sticky keys - she said it was "ghettoed") I cancelled the service. I just cant see a 2 year contract when the device will probably not last that long and in 6 months or less something newer and better will come along. When I sent the phone back and called to cancel my AT&T account the words "Buyers Remorse" came up. Yes, I was remourseful to send the phone back, but I was more remourseful to have to keep a contract for a device that would not last as long as the contract. I enjoyed the phone while I had it, but there was always that doubt. Life has a tendency to throw things at you that are unplanned and unexpected. I could not see paying 150.00 a month for a tech toy. The money would be more useful elsewhere. So. That's my story about my brief excoursion into the cell phone life. I've got another bill posted to pay - another 150.00 by the 21st. Hopefully the account will be closed and I wont have pay 300.00 for a FREE PHONE!