iPhone Handy: Calls down - texts, web, apps on the up and up

Posted on by Mike Evans

The phone call is dead. Not quite, but it's getting there. Modern PDAs, including the iPhone, are still classed as phones, but the calling function is being used less and less. In my case, I find I make and receive very few calls these days; almost all my communications come in the form of texts or emails. And even this represents a small proportion of my overall use of the iPhone. 

My iPhone is my newspaper, my book, my music player, my video player, my portable web browser and my little computer. More and more productivity apps with synchronisation mean that the "phone" is in constant use but not for what it was originally intended.

How long, I wonder, before the emphasis switches completely from voice communication to the many other tricks a modern smartphone has in its repertoire? The iPhone isn't a "texter" or even an "emailer", still less a "book reader". But any of these names would be more appropriate than "phone". In the short term, something like "communicator" would be the best description of a smartphone but I expect a snappier name will become popular.

Handyfinder_186x258Oddly, our German cousins, with traditional efficiency, cracked this in the early days of cellphones when someone coined the term "handy" (pronounced "hendy", of course). They're now home and dry with their Handys and can cope with the demise of the phone call.

Left: An illustration from the Vodafone Deutschland site offering the Handyfinder facility. "Handyfinder" is another example of Deutschlish which so annoys the language purists. But Handy does have a future....

Because "handy" is an English word, most Germans now believe it's what we call mobile phones. Yet most English speakers haven't a clue what it represents. Despite this, Handy is actually quite a good description of a little device that does almost everything, including handling a dwindling number of voice calls. 

Maybe someone should tell Apple to get their legal department registering iHandy before anyone else gets a sniff of the action.

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