Friday, August 12, 2011

Downgrading Phone for Greater Productivity

My experiment with using a feature phone with an Android tablet seems to be paying off in terms of mobile productivity. The theory of the experiment is that I will have greater focus by not having a smartphone. All information needs are being served by the tablet or desktop. My new handset is a Nokia 1616.
I was previously working with a Sony-Ericsson Equinox handset in the experiment. It's not a bad phone; it is absolutely more basic than your average smartphone. However, like many modern phones, the battery life is not all that it could be.
My Android phone, loaded with apps, can go about half a day without recharging. Leaving it stock without apps and very light web browsing gets me a full day.
The Equinox can pull three or four days of service on one charge. I think its talk time is rated around 7 hours. That is three days of not worrying about a charger. Unfortunately, the Equinox has a camera, bluetooth, and a WAP browser. It's too tempting to fiddle with the phone. I think it's just habit to whip out the phone and check things on it, having owned an Android handset for some time.
So, why switch to the cheaper and less featured Nokia 1616? The little Nokia has a meager 800 mAh battery; but, it can squeeze out 13 hours talk time or 1 month standby from one charge. It can achieve this because it pretty much only makes phone calls. It has no camera. It has no browser. It doesn't have an MP3 player.
That is not to say the Nokia 1616 is devoid of any fun. It has an FM radio receiver and a flashlight (torch for you non-Americans). It's probably a guy thing; flashlights are cool. Other than that, it makes phone calls. Technically, it has some apps and games; but, I assure you they were cool back in the day, not now.
So, what are my results so far?
No more texting while driving. All sms is redirected to my tablet.
No more checking news while driving. Same reason. It's too easy on a smartphone; too clumsy with a tablet.
More attention at meetings. You simply can not sneak peaks at a tablet. It's very obvious.
Fewer check-ins. If you have to change devices, it's too much work.
Overall, having a simple phone forces you to be more deliberate with your Internet and social media.
That is not to say you can't do anything with your feature phone. You can still use voice services. For audio recordings, there is cinch.fm for the die hard podcaster. For keeping track of tasks and general productivity, there is Reqall. Let's not forget, you can call people and either talk to them or, more commonly these days,  leave a voice mail.

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