Phone Frenzy: Why smartphones are taking over the world

The iPhone, Blackberry, and the HTC Sensation. Gone are the days when you could rest your ear against one of the brick-like contraptions of yesteryear, pulling the 4ft aerial high into the sky in an effort to attain some semblance of reception. Without us realising it, mobile phones have been insidiously taking over our lives. When they work – and work brilliantly – they assume their rightful title of smartphones. When they don’t, they’re dismissed as the Stupidphone; the Slowphone; the I’m-gonna-trade-you-in-for-a-4S-phone. As with all advancements in technology, inherent dangers lie ahead – we are entering unchartered waters here.

Smartphones are in a league of their own when it comes to techno-wizardry. Considering the leaps and bounds at which mobiles have advanced over the last decade, their evolutionary potential is surely limitless. Each new generation of smartphones is foisted upon us before we’ve even had time to get to grips with the extant one. Five-mega-pixel cameras? So last season. Texting your phone instead of talking to it? Get with the times! And all the while we, the gullible consumers, gobble up anything those mobile-manufacturers waft in front of us, knowing full well that we’ll succumb to their tempting fruit.

Most of us would be lost without our smartphones, and yet an over-reliance on our mobile mate can be just as dangerous as venturing out for the night sans phone. Here are just three reasons why becoming too attached to your smartphone could prove costly:

Death by laziness

Just like driving to the corner shop to get a pint of milk instead of walking, there is a real danger that smartphones are making people lazier. We want it now and we want it instantly. Let’s take the iPhone 4S as a case in point: it includes an A5 Dual-Core CPU, eight-mega-pixel camera, 1080p HD video recording, iOS 5 and a new voice command protocol called Siri. We are now in a position whereby we can command our phone using nothing more than our vocal chords, because using just our fingertips was obviously too much effort.

You’ve been hit by a smooth cyber-criminal

One of the main benefits of smartphones is being able to surf the net to go on Facebook or Twitter, send emails or use Google to cheat in your local pub quiz. If your phone were to be lost or stolen however, what’s to stop unscrupulous ne’er-do-wells from accessing all the login details that are saved in your browser preferences and using them to facilitate identity fraud? Cyber-criminals could steal personal information about you that could bankrupt you, turn your friends against you and spell the end of civilisation, as we know it. This is only a worst-case scenario, it must be said. Still, you really don’t want to go losing that phone if you can help it – and not just because it’ll cost a week’s wages to replace.

Appy days?

‘Apps’: That silly little word that has become synonymous with smartphones. You really can find an app for anything these days, including filling up a virtual pint glass and pretending to ‘drink’ your handset. Programmers have been swift to realise just how easy it is to create these apps. What’s worrying however is the amount of personal information such companies can retain should you decide to download their app. That’s not to imply that such app developers are on a mission to steal all your details and sell them on to unscrupulous third parties. Nevertheless, when browsing for spurious applications – especially for Android-equipped phones – you should be aware of who the developer is and, more importantly, whether you really need your phone to emulate a whoopee cushion.

So there you go: three reasons why you should keep a close eye on your phone. The average smartphone has around 1,000 times more processing power than 2001: A Space Odyssey’s ‘super’ computer, HAL, and yet we all know how that one ended up. Treasure your phone; love it if you want to, but keep it at arm’s length wherever possible. It’s for the best.

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