why must cell phones be so annoying?

I now have a new cell phone and besides vibrate mode it doesn’t have a single, normal ring that I’m willing to use. Of course it has a cat meowing, a horse neighing, jazzed up versions of all your classic music and gobs of other rings that will annoy and distract others with ease.

Another annoyance is that there’s no way to silence the ringer before answering. I have to either answer or reject the call while it’s still ringing or vibrating in my hand, and that’s not even the default setting. The default is to answer the call the moment you flip open the phone and it doesn’t have an external LCD to see who’s calling before you open it. The setting to turn that off is called, “Active Folder” under Phone Settings -> Extra Settings. Why couldn’t they have called it “Answer on open” or something a little more clear? I initially thought Active Folder had something to do with instant messaging.

I don’t understand why cell phone designers can’t make them less obtrusive instead of moreso. I keep my cell phone on vibrate so it only alerts me that someone is calling instead of bothering everyone in a 3-mile radius. The only thing I can think of is that I’m in a small minority, assuming cell phone manufacturers are catering to the majority of the market.

The phone isn’t all bad. It’s extremely light and small which is a big plus, and the screen is bright and has a high resolution. It also turns off the screen entirely so the battery lasts for several days.

I just thought that as time went on, cell phones would become more configurable and convenient so people with all sorts of different preferences could configure them how they wanted, but it seems like the features I use most are being done away with.


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  1. I don’t like any of the weird rings either, but the horse neighing is pretty funny.

    Comment by katie on October 19, 2004 @ 9:03 am
  2. What bothers me is that companies like Sprint sell phones with a few ring tones in them and then charge extra for the ability to use their network to download ring tones and then an additional ($1-$5/3 mo.) for the ring tone itself. It is a joke. I do like the new polyphonic ring tones that are available now.

    Two features that I like in cell phones are 1. Speaker phone. It comes in handy when talking to family. I would have never guessed that I would use it so much on a cell phone. 2. Caller ID display on the outside of the phone. So you don’t have to flip the phone open to see who is calling.

    Comment by scott on October 19, 2004 @ 10:37 am
  3. Alas, I have so much I want to say, but it’s too much effort to type. I too am fed up with the cell phones. They focus on cutsies instead of functionality. I don’t give a hoot about cutsy rings or really even a color screen. I want a phone that’s very useable and has a great signal. The old Nokia 6290 I had was great for that.

    Also, I’m in the don’t-annoy-others crowd, but judging by others at work, it seems to never cross their mind. They have their ring on full volume in a meeting and then as it’s ringing, they just sit and stare at it deciding whether or not to answer it. It’s enough to bring in the friggin sharks with laser beams.

    Comment by Cameron on October 19, 2004 @ 7:28 pm
  4. I don’t think we have developed effective or acceptable social norms regarding cell phones. People do not seem to have a common courtesy when using cell phones; like leaving the room to talk – and they talk SO loud that there is no way of avoiding listening to the conversation.

    It would seem that the cell phone companies are using their annoying features as a way to advertise their products. Negative publicity is still publicity.

    Comment by Babs on October 20, 2004 @ 7:48 am
  5. Are your ringtones polyphonic? Those are terribly annoying…and yet I want one even though my phone is set to vibrate-only.

    Comment by Meredith on October 28, 2004 @ 10:24 am
  6. The worst I’ve ever seen was during the last trout season. The guy about 20 yards upstream was in the water in his waders, fishing rod in one hand, and yakking on a cell phone with the other! Geeez, I wanted to drown the S.O.B. It’s time for relaxing and fishing. What’s so damn important that you need to talk on a cell phone?

    Comment by Jay on March 18, 2005 @ 11:25 am

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