Sunday, July 25, 2010

Design Observation:My yUcKy Cellphone!

It would be best that this yUcK design observation stays here in this blog.
Because I would consider the next sentences as infidelity to a friend who has served me for quite some time now.
I’m even starting to think of letting him rest from his service.
But not before delivering this eulogy. A cellphone eulogy.

I bought my Samsung M620 cellphone as a birthday gift for myself last January 2009. What made me buy it? The best reasons.
First, I was sick and tired of the plain bar-phone which I’ve had since my Nokia 3210 ages ago. This one was a slide-phone, which was cooler and more sophisticated! Second, it had a dark-silver color, which added sleek-iness and elegance to it. Third, I was ready to face a new texting and calling experience, which by then was getting too boring. I don’t know if it’s just me, but isn’t everyone up to some “harmless” adventure sometimes? And finally, I was earning. And I believe it was the first “four-digit-big-purchase” that I made since I received my first paycheck.

 It was the best buy of the month, but not exactly of the next month, let alone the next year.
But I had to learn it the hard way.
And recalling what my formators told me before I left the seminary, “When we enter (the seminary), we tend to enter for the greatest reasons. The irony is that when we leave, we leave most often because of those same great reasons.”
That proved right for me then. And I see history being repeated, only now with a phone.

And if I may, here’s what makes my phone yUcKy.

Moving Parts. I should have listened to my brother. Moving parts require a ribbon cable. Ribbon cable equals weakness. Weakness equals more trips to the warranty department, and eventually to another cellphone retailer if it doesn’t last you.
What are the symptoms? Once you raise the phone, off goes the screen. Once you fold it back down, on goes the screen. So how do you expect me to text with that? What’s worst, it would tease you into thousands of broken screen images when you try and flip it up and down in irritation! This has happened to me in three separate incidents. Each time the same ribbon cable, and each time, the same hope that it will get better.
It seems that the only solution available to me was to literally tape the phone open.
The tape’s already quite dirty and stained, but at least it stops the moving parts, which I thought were cool in the first place.
Resolution? Buy a solid piece of technology. The lesser the moving parts, always the better.

Color. I haven’t given up on the fact that matte silver does make a gadget look cool. At least it’s not bright red, nor yellow, nor printed with some Winnie the Pooh, or Pok√©mon characters! But having my iPod and cellphone lying side by side, gosh! I couldn’t but wish all gadgets were metallic silver!
A lot of my friends who look at the phone are surprised because I’ve had it for more than a year, and it still doesn’t have major scratches and doggie-bite marks. That works for me, because I keep it safe. But next time, I’m sure to leave the matte colors first, in place of more metallic-looking ones!

 New texting and calling experience. As I already mentioned, who isn’t game for some safe, harmless adventure? A lot of my friends tell me that they’re loyalists to Nokia. Apparently, they’ve memorized all the shortcut keys, the navigational keys, the applications, the services and whatnot that they’re simply not going to change to any other phone brand.
I should’ve listened again.
Texting is supposed to be a non-threatening, fun and easy task for an ordinary joe like me. And just when I thought I had the “new” adventure going on, I realized some things: Samsung phones don’t have “sent messages” folders; their “vibrate” mode is more like “buzzer” mode; I’d have to do more “small talk” with a new friend, before I figure out a way to organize and save his name into my contacts; and the worst part of all, you’d have to make a lot of “choices” and “confirmations” before you could send a message. You’d have to click “ok” FIVE TIMES before it actually says: “Sending Message…” Then a couple more times if you’re unlucky, and the sending doesn’t succeed.
I used to be a stickler for conformity. But now that I thought I would break the rules and make my own, I was discouraged, and am now looking for the old road home.
My final resolution: Look for the familiar in the gadgets you buy. The more you can relate to it, the better it will relate and make your life easier.

The final factor isn’t really part of the yUcKiNeSs of the product, but I’d like to point it out nonetheless.
Price. If you’re going to buy a gadget, don’t be fooled by its low price (I’d like to emphasize that I’m quite stingy when it comes to buys like those).
This product was a steal because it was on the decline by the time I bought it. I thought I could still run after fads and take advantage of its cheap price. But I learned a lesson.  Most often, if it’s a shirt, or a pair of shoes, go ahead and buy in the ukay-ukay. But if it’s a piece of equipment, go for the higher-priced one, especially if you’re assured of its brand and quality.

The Samsung M620 was a true friend.
It was unique (none in a room would share the same kind of phone).
It was useful.
It was good while it lasted.

But it was more of a liability than an asset. With the considerations of moving parts, color, texting experience and price, I’d have to resort to something safer, and something that will justify the use of what a cellphone really is.
And having said all these, I’ve just mustered enough guts to buy a new phone. I just hope I have the time!


  1. At least my load migs!!! :-p hahaha i love your taped mobile phone... injured!!!

  2. hahaha a eulogy of cellphones, homage to Lumbera's roaches. i should have done that for my cellphones and other stuff after ondoy


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