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So I'll admit I've never been a cellphone guy, and usually bought the cheap stuff or basically "inherited" it from either my mother or my younger brother when they moved to a new one. Recently, though, I decided to shell out a bit of that hard fought job money and buy a cellphone with all the whistles and bells that have become common since the first iPhone released back ten years ago - a "smartphone", if you will.

And what I found out was disgusting.

First of all, the operational system and the applications had to "update" themselves a couple of times after I charged it the first time. Hours later, I found out the smartphone was packed with a huge number of useless applications which you basically can't uninstall unless you root the smartphone first. Remember back when MS was heavily criticized because of Internet Explorer and so? This feels like ten times worse.

That's not all, of course: I go check the internal memory... and find out half of it was already filled by an OS and apps as huge as a desktop Windows 10 install. Every couple of days, I notice suddenly the cellphone runs slower and starts to lag: more updates in the background being carried for my "convenience", including the ones I never used and deemed useless from the get-go.

Also, somehow the data storage points out those apps are saving dozens and even over a hundred MB each of "cache" and personal data... from somewhere. I try to clean it up - the data comes back in a few instants afterwards. It's useless unless you manually block each of them and that doesn't uninstall them, merely hides them and keeps them from updating, it seems.

Not to mention the security and privacy concerns, with the keyboard app logging and saving the words you use for God-knows-exactly-what purpose. The site of the keyboard app developer mention they are "good guys" and would never ever use that data unless you explicitly authorize them. Right. The same goes for Whatsapp and the Facebook Messenger.

Look, I'll put it on simple terms: privacy is a modern invention, since back when we lived on small tribes or villages, everybody knew everybody's lives. But one thing is to be known by the people you know in turn, instead of some faceless stranger with unknown purposes. Most animals feel uncomfortable when started or spied from afar. There is probably a good reason why such instinct exists.

Of course, you might be naive enough to believe it's all being done to your convenience and nothing else. But do consider that you certainly believe there are plenty of bastards and shady people in the government, on those gaming or oil corporations you dislike, roaming around the streets, even in your family sometimes. To think the same doesn't go for the Silicon Valley or MS or Samsung feels more like an irrational belief than it is to suspect their intentions.

Not to mention, finally, that people often swap these smartphones around every two years or so, and do I wonder about the destination of those mountains of garbage plastic and cheap electronics.

TL, DR: the smartphone market is based on 1) planned obsolescence; 2) breach of privacy and personal data; 3) near-monopolies; 4) gimmicks and other feature creep intended to catch more guileless consumers, or force the old ones to update.


I guess next time around I'll go for one of those featureless retro cellphones. At the very least some clients won't pester me anymore on WhatsApp.