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Why Are We Still Calling the Things in Our Pockets 'Cell Phones'?
Old 07-10-2017, 07:26 AM   #1
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Why Are We Still Calling the Things in Our Pockets 'Cell Phones'?

Why Are We Still Calling the Things in Our Pockets ‚€˜Cell Phones‚€™?
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Today, when I get a call, I think: Who died? Who’s trapped on a mountain? What awful global calamity is unfolding? I use apps and text messages for everything – ordering dinner, hailing cabs, telling friends I’m running late – and I rarely check my voice mail. I don’t have any friends who regularly call me; even my parents have switched to texts.
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Regardless of its implications on wireless carriers, it’s odd to refer to these vast, all-encompassing gadgets merely as “phones.” It would be like calling a car a “radio box,” or a microwave a “popcorn maker.” All smartphones can make calls, sure, but what makes one device different from another is how well it can do everything else.

So let’s call these devices something that more accurately reflects how we use them. One idea would be to take a cue from the British and start referring to them simply as “mobiles.”

All of these words sound more awkward to our unaccustomed American ears than “phone” or “cell phone.” But they’re better descriptors of what these devices are.
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Old 07-10-2017, 07:32 AM   #2
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A lot of concern this week on this forum in what is in people's pockets, IMO.
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Old 07-10-2017, 07:33 AM   #3
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A lot of concern this week on this forum in what is in people's pockets, IMO.
So true!
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Old 07-10-2017, 07:37 AM   #4
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for me, it's still mostly used as phone (and some as text device). I may be the exception, but I use very little data (I share 100MB/month with DW and we hardly ever come close to reaching 50)
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:26 AM   #5
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""Today, when I get a call, I think: Who died? Who’s trapped on a mountain? What awful global calamity is unfolding?""

To true. I haven't talked to my brother on the telephone in years (I do see him face to face infrequently).

He has called me twice in the last two months. First time, to tell me our sister had a heart attack (she is fine now). Second time, to tell me our aunt passed away.

I hope he doesn't call me again for many more years.
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:32 AM   #6
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I call the thing in my pocket, My Expensive Pocket Computer/Newspaper/GPS/Text/Video Player/Weather/Calendar/Clock/Camera/Phone Machine That Sits Next To My Handkerchief.

My sons laugh at me. That makes me sad. Maybe I should put my handkerchief in another pocket...
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:41 AM   #7
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Because they are cell phones?
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:49 AM   #8
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I live in England where they have always been called mobiles. The UK usually calls a new device after what it does rather than the technology it currently uses. Over here a "GPS" is called a "Sat Nav". Way back in the 70's when computers started having electronic monitors and keyboards we called them VDUs (Visual Display Units) rather than CRTs which is what our US collegues called them.
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:54 AM   #9
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Yeah , When the house phone rings late at night, Ive been know to say many times : "Oh God who died". It seems to always be bad news. Yeah my 10 cent a minute phone that I sometimes carry I call a cell phone. OK Ill bite, what should I be calling it?
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:57 AM   #10
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That device in my pocket can do a lot of things, but I only use it for it's namesake
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:58 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by euro View Post
for me, it's still mostly used as phone (and some as text device). I may be the exception, but I use very little data (I share 100MB/month with DW and we hardly ever come close to reaching 50)
Funny, I'm the exact opposite. I ONLY use data. I intentionally disabled the phone and text capability using Ting's device setup page. I still send texts and make calls occasionally, but I use apps like Hangouts on the data network, which is WiFi about 90% of the time.

I haven't used the term "cell phone" in years. I usually refer to it simply as my "phone" or maybe "smartphone." I don't like either word, especially given my usage which is rarely phone-like. But I'm not a linguistics expert... whatever the masses decide to call it, I'll go along. Hopefully we won't revert to some earlier names: "PDA" and "Pocket PC."
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:58 AM   #12
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I think "brick" would make for good slang.
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Old 07-10-2017, 09:00 AM   #13
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My brother still calls me on my cell phone. He rarely texts me. My sister texts more but still calls me, but not often, once or twice a year.
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Old 07-10-2017, 09:06 AM   #14
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We could start a thread similar to this re: Cars, computers's, refrigerators, etc... So many things are muti functional.
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Old 07-10-2017, 09:21 AM   #15
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I think "brick" would make for good slang.
Whenever I hear a phone referred to as a brick, it reminds me of the days when I had to carry one of these for my job. They were the size, shape and weight of an actual brick, so that's what we called them. They did have texting, email and access to search online databases over 20 years before the first iPhone though.

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Old 07-10-2017, 09:35 AM   #16
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Maybe because that thing in your pocket relies on a cellular connection to make a phone call. I know almost no one who uses wifi calling on their device unless the reception is really poor...which equates to a small percentage of murica!
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Old 07-10-2017, 09:56 AM   #17
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Maybe because that thing in your pocket relies on a cellular connection to make a phone call. I know almost no one who uses wifi calling on their device unless the reception is really poor...which equates to a small percentage of murica!
My carrier now and when I was living in the USA defaults to calls over wifi whenever I have wifi, and since most of the calls I make and receive are at home then almost all my calls don't use cell towers. ( we don't have a landline at home). It's a great feature to have particularly when traveling overseas.
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:00 AM   #18
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About the leave the door and didn't read the article yet.

But my hunch of still calling them cell phones is probably similar to saying "I taped the program on TV tonight". Tape jargon from the old days of VHS.
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:28 AM   #19
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My carrier now and when I was living in the USA defaults to calls over wifi whenever I have wifi, and since most of the calls I make and receive are at home then almost all my calls don't use cell towers. ( we don't have a landline at home). It's a great feature to have particularly when traveling overseas.
My wife uses project fi and she gets no reception at our house...so all of her calls go through wifi. Shes still in the minority group though when it comes with wifi calls vs cellular calls.
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Old 07-10-2017, 11:28 AM   #20
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Maybe because that thing in your pocket relies on a cellular connection to make a phone call. I know almost no one who uses wifi calling on their device unless the reception is really poor...which equates to a small percentage of murica!
I use WiFi for all calls and text as long as I'm in a WiFi network, which is most of the time. It has nothing to do with the cellular reception. WiFi calling is free, whereas Ting mobile data usage is not. The only time I connect to a cell tower is when I'm actually mobile, i.e. NOT on a WiFi network.
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