Cellular phone technology

These devices advance very quickly, yielding new features and new product generations more often than most sectors of the computer industry. What's next? Uraniun235 suggested in the forum that Star Trek communicator-like phones should be made.

Well, the industry already has those annoying push-to-talk phones that everyone seems to enjoy using in public for some reason.

"Hey bro, where you at?" *
beepbeep "KSKHSHKKHSKKSSSCH" beepbeep
"Dude! You going tonight?"
beepbeep "KCHCHKCKHKSSHSHKSSH" beepbeep
"Yeah, I can pick you up."

Cellular phone companies keep inventing technologies that allow us to speak less efficiently on the phone. While push-to-talk is a great example, nothing compares to text messages:

"Hey, I have a device here that allows me to connect immediately to anyone wherever I am and speak clearly in full duplex with very little effort using very cheap or unlimited minutes. Rather than doing that, I think I'll attempt to type a message! And while computer keyboards have over 100 keys to efficiently represent our 26 letters, 10 digits, and various punctuation characters, I think I'll try this with just 12 buttons."

Many people have theories or justifications for the success of these technologies. Sometimes, especially in Europe, it's much cheaper to send a text message than to make a call. But that doesn't apply very well to the US market. You could get far more content into a 1-minute phone call than you could with the equivalent cost in text messages.

My theory is much simpler. These technologies are successful because people want ways to make it appear as though they actually have something to say. It's as simple as that. A phone call requires some actual content - granted, not much anymore - but this call would seem pointless to the receiver:

What's up?
Nothing. You?
Where you at? *
Home, chillin.

In a phone call, this would probably generate an uncomfortable response such as, "So why did you call me?" or "Uh, I'm gonna go now." Text messaging allows users to have a conversation with equivalent content that takes 4-10 times longer and doesn't generate such a negative response from the receiver.

Push-to-talk is the compromise between the two extremes, and allows users to make valid, unquestioned conversations with the above content and simple additions such as "How's the weather?" and "Are you going to [location/event] tonight? You were [modern synonym for ' very drunk'] last night."

Really, all of these technologies are simply ways for people to create unquestioned conversations without content.

* This abomination of language seems to have been popularlized by the cellular phone culture. I don't really understand this. The correct, equivalent phrase, "Where are you?", is very similar and has the same number of syllables while not sounding overly academic or nerdy. At least "ain't" can save a syllable or two. But I can't justify this one for anyone.