What it would cost for your devices if you didn’t have a smartphone

30 03 2011

Taken from Complaining About the Smartphone: a Lesson in Diminishing Returns
Post by: Stephen J. Dubner
March 29, 2011 at 9:30 am

In the Times, Sam Grobar has written a great article — a great screed, really — about how much people love to complain about their smartphones even though they accomplish so much for so little cost. The gist:
Consider what a smartphone can do, and the devices it replaces, and its value increases. A refurbished iPhone 3GS is currently on sale by AT&T for $19. With the least-expensive data and voice plans and a two-year contract, a customer would pay around $1,800 over 24 months, including taxes and fees.
But to do all the things a smartphone can do without buying one, that same consumer would need to buy the following:
A cellphone (at least $800 over 24 months: $20 for a device, plus $25 or more per month on a prepaid plan, plus taxes and fees).
A mobile e-mail reader ($430: the Peek 9, an e-mail reader, is $70; two years of service costs $360).
A music player (an iPod Nano is $149).
A point-and-shoot camera (around $200).
A camcorder (around $200).
A GPS unit (they start at $80).
A portable DVD player (they start at $60).
A voice recorder (around $40).
A watch (around $30).
A calculator (around $10).
Total cost: $1,999
You would also need a sherpa to carry around all that gear, rather than slipping it into your pocket in one little box.
I shouldn’t be surprised by this any more but I still am: why, with so much progress in the world on so many dimensions, is there so much complaining about the very fruits of that progress?
The only answer I can come up with is that there are sharply diminishing returns on satisfaction. Other explanations?




One response

30 03 2011
Andrew Webb

Or you could always just buy the ipod touch and use google voice + wifi!

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