Cell phones are PDAs are ?

My girlfriend just bought a new cell phone. She has had cell phones before, but usually she could just call and receive phone calls. This one has all these options, and so we sat outside on a bench, waiting for the movie theatre to open, passing the time trying to figure out the long, detailed menu. “How do I make phone calls,” she asked as I searched through the menu. A woman, also waiting, sat near us. “I don’t have a cell phone,” she said. “How nice,” I replied, still not finding what I wanted, although I found a section for changing the picture that appeared on the screen. “Too expensive,” she said. “I have a pager, and people can get a hold of me if they want to, but it harder to find payphones.”

Yes, it is harder to find payphones. People are using cell phones more and more. There are less and less people who don’t have cell phones, and cell phones are doing more and more. According to an article in the Mercury News, reprinted from the Dallas Morning News, cell phones are now doing what PDAs used to do, and people are not using PDAs so much anymore. Or perhaps it should be said that the two are merging together into some sort of hybrid. You don’t just use your phone to call people, you also take pictures with it. You can play games on it. You can surf the web with it. It has become a PDA, and the PDA, if it hasn’t added all these features, has fallen by the wayside.

Cell phones will be able to do more and more. When they can clean the cat box, I think I will be first in line for the upgrade. The latest thing, according to an article from the Chicago Tribune, reprinted in the San Jose Mercury News, is that the phones will get alerts of abductions, and other crimes. Amber alerts for your phone, just when you thought you would only see them on the freeway signs. The writer equates it with being like Dick Tracy’s Crimestoppers, although I don’t suppose anyone remembers Dick Tracy any more if they are any younger than 40. The point is that cells will take advantage of text messaging that is so popular in Europe. In fact the BBC recently was trying to teach adults how to text message, since it was so popular with kids, and they thought it would be a good way to connect with them.

But wait, there is more. Now there are cell phones that will act as GPSs, according to another article in the San Jose Mercury News. Because of the federal government’s E-911 mandate, all cell phones must transmit their position in emergencies by 2005. The easiest way to do this, at least with Nextel, is to build the GPS receivers into the phones. None of the other companies are there yet, but they will be.

But then there are the people who wish that cell phones weren’t all over the place. They are made fun of almost as often as lawyers, which is saying something. They are so all inclusive that there is now technology that will make it so the phones will not work in certain places, either because of jammers, which jam the signal, or by signs (which often don’t work), and building materials that block cell phone usage. Who would have thought there was an industry, such as the anti-spam industry, that would spring up that way.

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