It used to be that if you saw somebody talking to himself as he walked down the street, you could assume he was crazy. Now, he's probably just talking on his Bluetooth cell phone headset. According to a newsdial.com technology report, cell phone users increased from 7.6 million to 120 million between 1991 and 2001. The many advantages of cell phones have contributed to this immense growth, although they do have some disadvantages as well.
Advantage: Ease of Communication
Carrying a cell phone with you makes communication with others very easy by allowing instant access to anybody near a telephone--many of which are themselves cell phones. This is especially useful in coordinating with people you intend to meet; for example, to be picked up at the airport.
Most cell phones come standard with a clock, games, and organizational tools such as calendars and reminder alarms. More advanced models also come with Internet browsers and even productivity software. With the advent of the iPhone in 2007, the line between cell phones and full portable computers has blurred significantly.
Advantage: No Long-Distance Charges
Cell phone usage is charged by the minute, regardless of where the user calls. With the exception of international calling, long distance is not a factor on the user's monthly bills. Compared to traditional land line telephone service, this can mean a substantial savings.
Having a telephone with you at all times means you are never unable to call for help. From roadside assistance to driving directions to emergency services, the cell phone makes access easy even if you are hurt or otherwise limited in your mobility. Access to 911 emergency calling is free for cell phone users even in areas out of their service plan.
One disadvantage of having a phone with you all the time is that people can call you no matter where you are. This means you're more likely to be interrupted while enjoying activities away from home. You don't even have to be using your own phone to be interrupted: Somebody else talking loudly on her phone can be enough to spoil an event.
Talking on a cell phone can distract you from other activities, which leaves you more vulnerable to accidents. Since the early 21st century, more states have enacted laws banning cell phone use while driving.
As of 2010, the cost of a cell phone plan is still higher than that for a single family land line, even before factoring in charges for roaming or usage above the monthly limit.
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