“It is not called a telephone, it is called a smartphone” / “It is not called a cell phone, it is a smartphone”. Both are phrases that we have surely heard if we had to live the transition to smart devices.
From yesteryear, before there was even the internet, seeing a mobile phone in action was an experience that seemed like something out of a science fiction story.
Cell phones, as they are known in much of Latin America, derived from the Anglicism Cell Phone, were a rather bulky device and very limited in its functions compared to what is common today.
Those first models could only make and receive calls, with a rather irregular audio quality and with the permanent risk that the communication would be cut off at any second.
Coverage areas were limited to large cities and by the time the first models capable of supporting SMS messages arrived, at the end of the 20th century, we already felt like we were living in the year 2059.
With the launch of the first iPhone and the first devices running on Android, the era of the smartphone opened, but we never called it that.
Why do we still say telephone to the smartphone
Our editor colleague xataka Javier Jiménez recently published an interesting editorial piece on the site, under the title “We continue to call the smartphone ‘telephone’ even though we no longer use it as such”, which has triggered this and another series of reflections on how time and technology advances. , but not at the same rate as our uses and customs of the language.
Jiménez’s piece originates from reading the book Hello? A requiem for the telephone, by Martín Kohan, an entertaining reflection on the evolution of this device that we know today as a Smart Phone or smartphone.
The issue here is that such a device is rarely used to make calls anymore and landlines are a technological curiosity on the brink of extinction.
There are striking figures in the text, such as that only 12% of telephone users have a fixed line. Or that when it comes to the use of smartphones, 98.6% of young people between the ages of 25 and 34 use instant messaging as their preferred medium.
But even so, the phone name, to dry, or cell phone prevails. Perhaps in the end it will be the only thing that survives, although it no longer has a direct relationship with the real use that is given to it.