With WiFi connectivity spreading like wildfire, the mobile phone is not as important as it used to be. Is it time to dump it, just like the landline that came before it, asks Monty Munford
On the way to a Sussex Downs railway station with time to spare this week, I realised I’d left my mobile phone at home. I had eight meetings planned in London, a networking party in the evening and I was staying overnight.
It was a 15-minute return trip to walk back home to pick up my device, but I weighed it up and decided that it wasn’t worth the bother. I went through the ticket barrier and sat on an uncomfortable seat and read my book until the train came. Not a single worry in the world … well, except the mortgage and school fees.
Even three years ago, the thought of spending two hours, let alone a whole day, without my mobile would have been anathema. I would have walked miles and paid loads to have retrieved it. It was as necessary to my being as the Ventolin inhaler that I always carried with me.
So, it appears a revolution has happened and a very unexpected one. Of course it was only a matter of time before it happened. With WiFi connectivity spreading faster than wildfire and a laptop or tablet in one’s bag, what’s the point of a mobile nowadays?
I appreciate that this may be controversial to you Telegraph readers, my so-called audience. From the comments I’ve received from you over the past five years, I see you as teatime adopters as opposed to early ones, let’s just say your glittering future is some way behind you.
Consequently you may have some time to go before you come to my world, but I assure you it will happen to you as well.
Moreover, I expect that ticket barrier I mentioned earlier to be another form of technology hub in the future. As soon as I put my digital ticket through, I will receive (even if I haven’t opted in) a mass of downloaded data around my body in the various chips secreted within it. I may, literally, start talking out of my arse.
In some ways, this is similar to what happened to the landline. When I was a kid, our family was the last one to have a phone number. The idea of having that form of technology in my house was as far-off as having a colour TV and for three decades after its initial installation it was the most important thing to own; that landline was the technology hub for everybody.
The advent of the mobile phone gradually wore that addiction down to the point that I forebore to have a landline number activated every time I moved adresses or rented another flat. I was early to that, and I’m early to this as well, nowadays landlines are just hubs for other technology, for connected consoles or TVs or fast broadband connections.
Of course, some still hold on. Aging parents and grandparents still ring up landlines, but even for those Skype is a better option; you can see people at the other end with that technology; grandchildren etc.
The mobile phone may have been evil as well. I remember even up to my early thirties that I could remember at least 25 different phone numbers of my close family and mates. As soon as I could store them in a device, I started to forget them and now I sometimes find it difficult to remember my own mobile number.
The mobile phone destroyed my brain as it is destroying yours, so let a screen do it to you instead, at least your ears won’t ring.
Unfortunately, when I returned back to my Sussex Downs railway station after two irritating journeys to London, my realisation that the age of the mobile phone may be coming to an end, was not shared by my fellow passengers on the train.
Trill, trill, yell-yell, no manners, no class, no style, yack-yack, no sense of propriety or privacy. Most of these deformed people, like you Telegraphreaders, may also have some time to go before they get with a much better programme.