We’re texting, not talking

Is it time to change the name of the "cell phone" to the "cell computer?" A story in today’s New York Times ( details how Americans use their mobile phones. Not surprisingly, talking on them is not the primary function any longer. It’s all about the data. That small word — data — includes a wide range of things people do with their phones, or should we call them minicomputers?

Think about it. Most mobile phones these days can deliver your e-mail, send and receive text messages, update social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, play your favorite music and connect to the Web, either directly or through special applications that deliver customized information designed to be displayed or played on your mobile phone.

I’ve been on the more-data-than-talk side of the fence for a long time, probably a couple of years. It’s especially evident to me when I look at monthly bill from my friends at AT&T. My plan includes me and my two sons. Text messaging is far and away the most-used feature on their phones. I’ve thought about turning off their voice plan (although this isn’t possible) to see if they’d even notice.

My portion of the bill reveals that data transfer for Web viewing and applications is my most-used feature. I’ve carried a smartphone for several years, and don’t see a day when there isn’t a powerful, small computer catching a ride in my pocket. Yes, I do still use it to make calls, but like the rest of the digerati, I’m finding it easier and more efficient to contact people by text or through social media.

Alexander Graham Bell has no idea what he started.

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