I don’t have a Smart Phone. Actually, I don’t have a cell-phone plan, and my ultra-tech geek husband doesn’t even own a phone at all.
Okay, you can pick your jaw up off the floor. Yes, Daniel, who works in new media for a university, does not own a cell phone. Nope.
Here’s how he does it, calling it a “reverse-techie” style:
Daniel decided several years ago that he didn’t want a phone since he’s surrounded by technology all-day, everyday. Additionally, cell phones are expensive. While he considered purchasing an iPhone – a quick calculation of the data package plan for two years plus the price of the phone came to around $2,500 for two years (someone can correct me if the prices have changed since then – this is what we had figured when the iPhone first hit the streets).
Imagine all the things we could do with an extra $2,500 – put it into savings for our future, use a down payment on a vehicle, or take a dream vacation.
It’s important to note that being without a cell phone doesn’t leave him without communication. In fact, with all the devices he has, it’s almost the opposite.
He uses an iPod Touch that we received free with our old laptop we purchased a couple of years ago. The iPod Touch is essentially an iPhone without the calling or data options (note: supposedly there are ways to hack new Touch into making calls, but we have not done this). You can use Wi-Fi on the Touch to access apps, play games, and most notably use Google Voice.
Google Voice is a free service that assigns an actual phone number to your account. You can access the Google Voice both on your computer and as an app, and use it for texting. You can also use to make a phone call from another phone – i.e. he can push call on Google Voice, and the home or office phone will place the call for him. When his friends want to text him, they simply use the assigned Google Voice number and proceed as normal.
In addition to the iPod Touch, he also uses an iPad. Unlike the Touch, data can be purchased for the iPad. It doesn’t need to be purchased as a plan, so it can be used when needed. You can purchase 250 MB of data for $15 that lasts for 30 days, or more if you’d like. However, he only purchases the data plan when needed, and uses Wi-Fi the majority of the time. Again, he uses Google Voice for texting.
He also uses both Twitter and Facebook for communicating. Like Google Voice, both of these offer pop-up alerts on your device when connected to Wi-Fi. He keeps a Facebook chat log going with a band he manages, so he is constantly connected.
There are some disadvantages to not having a cell phone, but he’s found them to be few and far between. The biggest negative is simply the emergency concept – if he was stuck with a car problem somewhere or had a legitimate emergency he wouldn’t be able to call home or call for help. Also, there have been times where someone really, just needs to speak with him, and they aren’t able reach him.
To be honest, as his wife, sometimes I think it’s maddening that he doesn’t have a cell. I do wish he had an “emergency” cell. Other times, I think he’s genius.
What do you think? Maniacal or pure genius?