If we drop our keys, we can still use them to start our cars, right? If we drop our wallet, we can still use everything inside it, right?
However, when anything happens to our delicate smartphones, we are totally out of luck. And this is the device we are trusting with all our vital information and ability to get into our homes or cars. Are we crazy?
There is so much buzz around the smartphone becoming the remote control for our lives. Enough already! While the promise is enticing, there is a dark side to this story that is never talked about. After reading this, see if you are still convinced.
Now don't get me wrong -I am as excited as everyone else around the future potential for the smartphone. However, something happened to me last week that slapped me on the face and snapped me back into the reality.
We've all read the stories about using exciting smartphone apps to let us control everything in our lives. We can lock or unlock our house doors. We can open or close the garage doors. We can arm or disarm our security system. We can turn lights on and off, all from the smartphone we keep in our pocket.
We can use our smartphone apps to lock and unlock the car doors, and to start the car or just turn it on to warm up on a cold winter morning from the comfort of our home. We can store auto insurance card and someday, our driver license too. We can store credit information and pay by swiping the smartphone over an electronic reader at the counter.
Today we don't leave the house without our keys, our wallet and our smartphone, but tomorrow the phone is all we'll have to remember.
As compelling as that future sounds, there is a dark side to this story. The smartphone is simply too delicate today to be trusted with all the important things of our lives.
Smartphones are not sturdy. Many things can and do happen that make the smartphone unusable. And when the smartphone is unusable, so are all these amazing features and apps. The smartphone can go from an amazing remote control to a useless paperweight in the blink of an eye.
In fact, that's what happens countless times, every single day, to users from coast-to-coast in the U.S. and worldwide. That's why handset makers and wireless networks sell insurance for these devices. Insurance makes fixing or replacing a smartphone more affordable, but it doesn't solve other problems.
When the phone stops working, we are disconnected from our world. That's the problem.
Last week I mistakenly dropped my iPhone and it stopped working. Period. End of the story. Unusable.
I couldn't make a call or use an app. I was instantly disconnected from the world. I could not send email or text, start my car, open my house, use my credit cards or anything else.
I can't explain how isolated I felt. You would never understand until you had this experience yourself. It's very uncomfortable.
I grew up in the 90's. I knew life without wireless phones. It was no problem. Now, when my smartphone stops working all of a sudden, I feel like a flounder out of the water, flopping on a deck.
Dropping a phone is not the only hazard. Phones get stolen all the time. Phones get left behind. The battery runs out. They get wet, or for any one of a million reasons, they simply stop working.
That's right - no phone lives forever. If you are lucky, you will never have to deal with this. However, too many of us aren't lucky.