MCCULLOUGH: Second phone no smarter than the first, and neither am I

Nate McCullough

Nate McCullough

I have a new smart phone, but I don't know how smart it actually is.

I also don't know how smart I am for getting it in the first place.

Actually, to be totally accurate, it's my second new smart phone, my third overall, because the second one that replaced the first one had to be replaced. More on that in a minute.

I wrote two years ago about my moving into smartphone territory by getting a BlackBerry. I was more than a little intimidated, but with much practice and perseverance I grew to love that phone. It did everything I wanted it to do: Email, web surfing, texting, calendar -- oh, and the weirdest thing: You could make phone calls on it, too.

Two years later, though, it was so outdated that I couldn't use it for much of anything anymore. So off to the cellphone store I went.

My wife has an iPhone, and the thing mystifies me, which makes no sense because I've been an Apple fan and user for 20 years. But I was kind of hoping to get something a little more advanced than a BlackBerry. So I looked at Droids.

I looked at $200 Droids. I looked at $400 Droids. I thought, "These are not the Droids you are looking for." ("Star Wars" fans will get that joke. The rest of you, go watch the movie. Since it doesn't have horses or cowboys in it, my dad is exempt.)

Then the nice girl offered me a Droid at a price I could afford: Free.

Sign me up, I said. Home with my new smartphone I went. And for one 24-hour period, my Droid and I were wonderful friends.

Then the trouble started. I thought I had learned long, long ago the old adage that you get what you pay for, but apparently not.

First, emails quit showing up. Gmail wouldn't come in at all. On software made by Google, their email wouldn't show up.

Then I had the crazy idea of trying to talk on it. The speaker sounded like the blown one in the door of my truck, which meant the person on the other end sounded like they had a mouthful of bees. Because of the in-and-out reception, I apparently sounded like this:

"I ... uld've kn .. b ... ter tha- to ... et -his ... -upid piece o- ...ap."

Then, the phone got mad at me. Or at least that's what it felt like.

It would just freeze or shut down in the middle of a text message or a call. "Was it something I, uh, said?" I asked.

"DROOOIIIID!" It growled back at me as it restarted itself.

Then it started turning itself off and on even when I wasn't using it. I was in the middle of a very important conversation earlier this week when it yelled at me from my coat pocket: "DROOOOOIIIIID!" Afterward, from the cupholder in my truck: "DROOOOOIIIIID!" That night from the nightstand: "DROOOOIIIID!"

"I know what kind of phone you are! Stop yelling at me!"

By Wednesday, I was cellphone store -- and iPhone -- bound, or so I thought.

The same nice girl, who reminds me of the girl from "Juno," (again, go watch the movie) and is as persuasive, convinced me I just had a dud. (Herself having a Droid in the holster on her belt, she seemed kind of disappointed that I would even consider an iPhone.) She promised to really check out the replacement before handing it over to me. She showed me how she wiped all my data from the old phone. And I have a black case coming to replace this sort of girly looking blue one they gave me.

And all for the low, low price of free. So far, the phone is in perfect working order, and it hasn't yelled its name at me once. So maybe this time I got a better deal on a smartphone. Maybe I'm not so dumb.


Email Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.