BuzzFeed's newest vertical, a tech news section called FWD, looks great (we like the headlines like "It's the Software Stupid" and "Puppies Playing with iPads") but we have to take issue with one of editor Matt Buchanan's first posts: "A Smartphone Isn't Smart Anymore. It's Just a Phone." We've got three specific points of disagreement:
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1) Dumbphones are awesome and still very popular throughout the world. Dropping the smart from smartphones would confuse iPhones and the bricklike things with rubber buttons that we call dumbphones. Dumbphones are amazing, even though they're not as smart as smartphones. In the developing world, dumbphones are lifelines, much needed tools for connecting with the rest of the world. The Atlantic's Technology channel has written about this fact a fair bit. One post worth reading Jamie Holmes, a policy analyst at the New America Foundation, who called texting "the most important information service in the world." His argument in brief: "Simple messaging is the driving force behind technology-enabled changes in commerce, crime, political participation, and governing." Sounds smart. Should we should now simply call dumbphones, phones?
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2) Smartphones are indeed very smart and getting smarter. Think about high school. When you graduated, you didn't simply become a young adult; you became a smart young adult with a high school diploma. Imagine the evolution of smartphones is in the college phases now. Having set the standard, the iPhone is well on its way to a Ph.D., if not already enrolled in some grad school classes. It's only going to get better. As everyone eagerly awaits the release of the iPhone 5, theories of what it could do reach to the moon. (Literally.) If you don't believe us about iPhones getting smarter, read this long-form exploration of the device's ability to help the handicapped in Capital New York. Apple's little piece of glass and metal can practically allow a blind person to see. They can also help you drive your car more safely. Isn't this all very amazing?
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3) We're waiting for a new name for the next generation. This is inevitable. Maybe it's the iPhone 5 or maybe it's the 6, but we're due for a major technological leap. Clues as to what this might look like are floating around the Internet. We've written about technology like bending touch screens and wearable computers in the past -- it's only going to get better. So at some point, we'll need a new name to separate the smartphones from the smarter phones. Will it be geniusphones? We hope so.
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Let us know in the comments on what you think we should be calling the communication devices that the majority of Americans are carrying around in their pockets and purses.
- Technology & Electronics
- Handheld & Connected Devices