Iconic Devices

The research that had gone into the portability of cell phones was responsible by Bell Laboratories scientist. They made a replacement of the bulky vacuum tubes with the transistor through the 1970s, making the cell phone easier to use. Bell Labs developed a lot of innovative technologies that contribute to making the cell phone possible. AT&T couldn’t compete with Bell and was forced to itself of local telephone service but they remained a service for long distant communication. AT&T lacked the ambition on jumping on board with the new wireless services. Charles Brown, a chairman at AT&T, said they weren’t going to offer cellular services.

Citizens’ Band radios became popular in the 1970s when trucks were in need of communication and when the movie Smokey and the Bandit came out. CB Radios were made possible because of integrated circuits. This type of technology allowed having radios, calculators, and two-way radios. Push-to-Talk mobile services became popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Millions of people liked the idea of paging services and devices for paging were even patented in 1949 by Alfred Gross. He was also credited with making the first walkie-talkie, CB radio, and cordless phone. (Goggin, pg. 28)640px-CB_Base_Station

Motorola coined the term “spectrum” in 1959 but the FCC approved it for public use a year before. Motorola manufactured the first successful pager, Pagebay 1, in 1974. A person would call an operator, whom would text the sender’s message to the receiver. Pagers were used widely for business and industrial practices. Especially by doctors who couldn’t be reach because he was mostly on the floor or in surgery a majority of their work shift, this is perhaps the most iconic view on how pagers were used.

While all of these devices are being made past, present and future the idea of using a phone is still hard for many people. The idea a person not being able to actually use the phone is due to illiteracy is true. Many people struggle with day-to-day issues of not being able to communicate efficiently like their peers.

The idea of having a mobile phone based on icons would be a way to solve an illiterate person’s issue of not using a phone. Designing a GUI that relies solely on icon usage cannot be done because it varies from person to person. Icons cannot be only the GUI itself because each icon would have to represent many task of the phone. For example, if iPhone did away with file names on each of their icons when iOS 7 was debuted, I wouldn’t have known what the Photo and Game Center was. I would have thought it was something to draw with at first glance and probably ignore it like I do with the Stocks app.

Besides turning on the phone and answering the call, the challenges present itself when a person cannot write a message, save a number, or remember it. Literate family members will usually make a contact book in different colors to help the person remember who to call. Sometimes the illiterate person will also remember how many calls ago did her cousin call, was it three calls or five? (Chipchase, pg. 84.)

When people are rote, they usually face errors, when they make a mistake they have to usually to start over again. “Textually nonliterate people are required to make assumptions for the textual prompts based on how the device responds to their actions.” (Chipchase, pg. 84.) As with any tools, once you learn it, motivations to go forward with learning are lessened. People are using the full potential of the device as much as they can.

Nonliterate users choose wisely when making a decision to explore the phone and actually learn the settings. Straying away from making a call or answering a call can result in loosing data, changing settings, or even breaking the phone. Users wouldn’t want to chance something that could prevent them from an opportunity like a job.

The answers to having a phone with minimal features would be a start to the issue. Menu buttons could be solely icons. All buttons, soft keys, should only be one button. Standard settings should not have to be altered. Audio menus should be spoken when a button is pressed.

The product placement would be great for nonliterate users. This could possibly be extremely profitable depending on how this device is made and how well it works. Mobile phones are extremely important regarding a person’s need in governmental, commercial, and social service space. These services are much-needed since a majority of them are online such as applying for SNAP or other social needs. Phones are almost a need in today’s world and one that could provide help to some feeling confused and lost could go a long way.

Coxworth, Ben. “Voice game helps introduce the illiterate to phone-based services.” Voice game helps introduce the illiterate to phone-based services. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. <http://www.gizmag.com/polly-telephone-service-voice-game/27161/>.

Goggin, Gerard. (2006). Cell Phone Culture: Mobile technology in everyday life. London: Routledge. Chapter 5, p. 89-103.

“Citizens band radio.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Feb. 2014. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_band_radio/>


4 thoughts on “Iconic Devices”

  1. This essay is a little bit unclear because you never stated what your thesis is. You started off with a brief history and transitioned into the accessibility of phones concerning illiterate users. It would have been better if you tied in the history while arguing that phones need to be more accessible. You could have talked about how inaccessible some of the technology that led up to the cellphone were. There are a few grammatical mistakes and you discussed a lot about the solutions to fixing accessibility. I believe you should have discussed a little more about the specific problems that illiterate people have to deal with to make a more convincing argument.

  2. Overall your essay Iconic Devices was really well written. Your thesis should have been clearer in the beginning. I liked the fact that you went into detail about how devices changed throughout time. You explained the examples from the readings well. I think you should just incorporate the timeline and the readings a little better. You talked about how phones could be changed for illiterate people. You related examples from the readings to your own experiences. Maybe you should have more specific example from the readings. Overall great job though.

  3. Hello,

    Your essay has a lot of grammar errors and you have no introduction. I was a little bit confused as to what you were trying to get across throughout your essay. The beginning of your essay includes a lot of great history, but you immediate jump from history to cellphone accessibility for illiterate individuals. I felt like I was reading a summary about cellphones and telecommunications companies, then jumped right into how accessible cell phones are or should be. I get what you were trying to do here, but I think it would have been better if you tried to include the problems that illiterates have with new technologies since the beginning of the introduction of cellphones into the making of the cellphone and telecommunication companies. I had a little bit of a hard time trying to include the time line into the article that I read, and make it less than a thousand words, so I understand. Next essay just keep that in mind. Also, proof read your work. Good job anyways!

  4. Hello!

    I loved the history lesson at the beginning of the entry. Especially the paragraph regarding pagers. Some pictures and additional media would have been awesome to enhance the read. It seems to me like your fourth paragraph is aiming to be the thesis. I like the idea, but organization could have made it a little more clear. Try incorporating that idea in the first paragraph so the reader knows what to expect from the post. Nice job applying the paragraphs revolving around accessibility to real-world scenarios. I really liked the conclusion of your post, but wanted to read more. Expand on your ideas a little more because they are good ones! Great read.

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