Remember how your telephone options used to be so much simpler in the 20th century? The phone company (there once was only one) asked you if you wanted service, and you were given the opportunity to freely answer “yes” or “no.” A “yes” answer would afford you a blocky chunk of what we now call retro tech that was designed to give your designated dialing finger a workout, and it was tethered to a selected (by the phone company) wall of your abode by a cable that would give you access to conversations with the world at large. Of course, you would sometimes have to share your line with the neighbors, but that was just another way to get to know the people on your block who might otherwise be strangers.
And sometimes, you realized, some people should remain strangers. But it was a mixed bag. You might get lucky and strike up a lifelong friendship with someone on the party line. Who could say? Ma Bell played the part of matchmaker and great destroyer. What could you do? It wasn’t like you could go to another phone company or get a private line. Not until later in the century, anyway.
Fast forward to now, and some might say that we have too many choices. (Let me go on the record to say that I’m not among them — consumer choice is always a good thing.) Not only can we subscribe to one of many phone companies, but we can pick phones and plans that generally correspond with our needs and budgets more than was once possible. You like the Android OS? Excellent! Get an Android phone! You dig Apple’s iOS? Terrific! Grab yourself up an iPhone! Don’t even need a mobile phone, but you want something at hand in case of emergency when you’re home? Superb! Get a simple landline or use a VoIP solution to contact the outside world on the rare occasion that you want to deal with other people. It’s really up to you.
Now that the iPhone 5 has been announced, of course there’s going to be a flurry of back-and-forth… conversation (yeah, let’s call it conversation — it’s a much nicer word than argument!) about which available smartphones currently on the market are the best. On that note, let’s just remember that someone else’s “better” doesn’t always equal your “better.” Embrace the diversity of opinion and celebrate the fact that we no longer have to endure the whims of one phone company!
Yep. I’m a fanboy, all right. I’m a fanboy of having choices. Let freedom ring!