For those who read Wireless News (a.k.a. none of you... probably) you probably came today across an article about Samsung launching to the market a mid-range phone. First I was confused. What's that "mid-range"? Like these won't work on the upper ends of the radio spectrum or something? That would be nuts, forgive me to say, but then again, I'm only an economist, what would I know about the usage of the spectrum? So I went digging in the matter, thinking that maybe, if it was too technical I'll just book it as "one of those things I'm not supposed to know about, therefore I won't waste my time and my pretty head on it".
So I went to this really tiny article to find out that the "mid-range" means "no high end, high tech" little crime-bait. Ohhh, talking of the "phones that do the basic". It has been a while since I heard about them. Do you remember when the sole function of your phone was to do "calls"? And that was all it did. You kept your activities and appointments in your PDA or filofax or agenda, or in a tiny notepad or maybe in your head. You took pictures with your camera, kept your numbers and contacts in your address book (or your filofax, PDA or agenda), listened to your music on your walkman, diskman or mp3player (or iPod, iTouch or any similiar thing), and used the Internet with your computer, whether it was a laptop, a notebook, netbook or a desktop. Actually, there was a time back then, when you didn't knew who was calling you until your caller identified itself. And there were no ringtones, only one annoying bell ring.
Today your phone does everything (allegedly), which could seem very convenient, only it's not. At least I don't really like it. For instance, I insist in keeping my PDA and my mobile separated. After all, I wouldn't really like to lose my phone or run low on the battery and suddenly be left with no access to my info. Or having to juggle around when I want to give someone a number I have in my telephone, or arrange appointments through the phone when I have to write them down IN my phone. Absolutely inconvenient.
On the other hand is that we do are getting used to have a lot of things crammed into our phones. SMS, MMS, EDGE, Bluetooth (maybe even infrared), a camera for photos and video, a memory card, mp3player (specially since many phone's batteries last longer than those of mp3players), and so on. Personally I'd love to have an mp3recorder that goes up to 2 hours, so I could record a few meetings, but then again, there are convenient mp3players for that. Once an ancient acquintance of mine, who praised herself about being rational and "frugal", said she needed a phone that did the "absolute basic", nothing fancy, just take pictures and video, SMS, MMS, make calls and that's it. (The mp3player was an understatement.) But is that really "basic mobile phone" functions? What do we think of our mobiles? What do we expect them to do?
The proposal from Samsung is model that will go under the name s3100 (probably closer in look to the one to the right, the 3110) aimed for a market that seeks an affordable handset that does the job and offers good quality. The offer does seem strange, almost refreshing in a world ruled now by the choking competition for the newest, coolest succesor of the legendary iPhone. All the possible candidates line up, shamelessly looking more and more like the king they want to overthrow. Palm Pre, Nokia's N97, just to mention two of the many. Because, really, where have we gotten today, that we are downloading 65 thousand different apps into our phones and profiles and Hyne knows what else? It's like we are still kids that need to pile up every corner of the universe with toys to keep us amused, to keep us from getting bored, because we can't really pay attention to the real life (unless it's being broadcasted through a reality show and it has nothing to do with us).
So what does this refreshing S3100 has to offer?
The phone adores a music player, FM radio, Bluetooth 2.1 for wireless connections to accessories such as headsets, USB 2.0 port and a microSDHC slot to boost the internal memory. The screen is of 240 x 320 pixels. The handset also has a built in camera but the resolution is unknown at the moment. The price and release date are not yet revealed.
... And that, my friend, is what's called "mid-range" today. Simplicity is over, convergence is on board for as long as it can get in our way.