Mobile Phones VS. Tablets
Take a look at your mobile phone then take a look at your tablet. Are they really different?
To see the difference you have to be really honest with yourself and leave aside the influences that the telecommunication and mobile phone industry has implanted in our society.
The first touch screen tablet ever invented was the iPad “Extra” Mini and if you have never heard about this gadget before, it’s because that’s how I call the iPod Touch. Let’s see… If you ask someone what is the difference between an iPad and an iPad Mini the answer that you will get is that they are the exact same thing, only that the iPad Mini is smaller. But when you ask what is the difference between an iPad Mini and an iPod touch, something strange happens in our heads. It’s like we were secretly programmed by an alien race from planet Pome (Google it) to believe that the iPod Touch is the evolution of another totally different beast called the iPod so the most popular answer is that the iPad Mini is a tablet and the iPod Touch is an MP3 player. Go figure!
I don’t know if I should be proud or ashamed to be one of the first nerds to make a regular phone call with my first generation iPod Touch for the ordeal that it was to improvised a microphone in this bloody thing. Everything changed one year later when I got my second generation iPod Touch (32GB, $400 in 2009) that with a minimal investment of $20 for a pair of iPhone’s ear buds with microphone integrated and the help of some free VoIP applications, I was able to make and receive regular phone calls in any free Wi-Fi area that I could find, and living in a big city, that wasn’t hard at all. The thing worked so well that I decided to end the contract with my cell phone service provider ($40/month in savings) and sold my ugly Motorola Razr. To me there was no difference between my humble iPod Touch and his big brother, the venerated iPhone, until one day… I found love in another city.
It didn’t take me long to realize that there wasn’t too much free Wi-Fi access in open roads and rural areas around this new city and I was missing a lot of calls from friends back home, not to mention that I wasn’t even capable of making an emergency call if I need it to. I had to face the truth and accept that there was a real important difference between these two gadgets which was network accessibility. Then I said to myself: If only this @#%&@$# thing had a 3G antenna, it would be perfect.
Today we can get a beautiful unlocked Android telephone or tablet capable of connecting to the 3G/4G network for less than $200 with enough power to perform as well as any $700 iPhone or iPad. Even for less than $600 you can buy a brand new high-end device from Samsung, LG, HTC or Motorola. Boy! if only I had one of these jewels back then!
Using a Data Only device as a mobile phone over Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G networks has been possible for more than ten years now. But the telecommunication industry, helped by the general media, have succeeded in making us believe that there are significant differences between these products as well as the illusion that we need a voice plan in order to connect our smart phones to the networks. They make it impossible to connect your mobile phone to a Data Only network preventing, in this way, the lost of hundreds of billions in revenue every year. On the other hand they will be very pleased to connect your tablet to a Data Only network. But why?… you may ask.
Remember…a mobile phone is a phone and a tablet is NOT a phone.
So as long as you keep on believing this statement, you will continue buying mobile phone, tablets, and iPod Touches. Also you will keep paying for voice and data plans.
Most people have the ill-founded idea that a tablet has to be substantially bigger than a mobile phone. In America and most of Europe, people will make fun of you if you get caught in public talking to a device bigger than five inches long whereas in most of Asia, this is totally normal.
Today more people are opening their eyes opting to go for a Wi-Fi and Data Only solution. Small businesses are building better and more reliable communication applications and governments are pushing the communication industry to provide more affordable services to their customers.
I believe that in a very near future the mobile and telecom industries will have no other choice but to stop making up differences in communication devices and communication networks because it is a fact that today’s devices, either mobile phone, tablet or whatever name you prefer, are perfectly capable of relying on Wi-Fi and Data Only to provide the exact same results.
It is until then, that we will see the real difference.