How smart is our cell phone habit? : my article in GULF TIMES

When decades ago, Nokia was introduced with its catchy tag line “connecting people”, who knew mobile phones would eventually become more than just a necessity? For years after the first mobile phone was introduced, it remained a luxury item, out of reach to most middle-class users. With the advancement in technology, the number of players in the market increased and mobile phones became more affordable, and therefore ubiquitous.

The first phones had just the bare minimum function of dialing or receiving a call. Later, there was a phenomenal growth of SMS or Short Message Service. With these two functions, the requirement of a “mobile telephone” was met. And today, ‘smartphones’ feature many different useful functions like alarm, calendar, portable camera, Internet connectivity, media players, video recorders, and even GPS units.

Lately, the mobile phone industry took a step forward to introduce smartphones. And like every new product in the market, it remained exclusive for the richer class of customer. In the last few years, however, even this trend has completely changed.

More than two dozen companies have now introduced affordable smartphones in the market. So how has this trend affected the recent generation of users?

Read more here :

Please “like” , “share” and give your feedback on the article on the link above.. I would appreciate it 🙂


Also an extensive list I prepared for this article :

Applications to check out

General (an app for everyone)

Wikiweb — a Wikipedia app that serves up the usual content crowd-sourced from willing bodies around the world and also visualises the connections between articles.

* * *

For young kids (age 5-10)

Eye Paint Animals — discovery tools aimed at energising kids to play, create, invent, explore and learn in enjoyable ways without the limitations of set parameters.

Native Numbers — provides a deeper understanding of number concepts and imperative math vocabulary; builds a strong foundation.

Red in Bed — teaches kids about the colours of the rainbow; each colour gets its own musical note, too.

Bee’s ABCs — singing along to the alphabet song, spelling simple words and learning about pronunciation.

I See Ewe — explore more than 50 shapes, colors, objects and animals; adjustable levels of difficulty, verbal prompts and four different languages included.

Preschool Jobs — learn and explore various professions such as a doctor, astronaut, rock star, police officer and a construction worker, see their work environments and examine the tools that they use each day.

* * *

For middle and high school students (age 11-16)

Tense Builder — teaching the tenses; includes the English words that do not follow the rule, otherwise known as irregular verbs.

MyHomeworkApp — keeps track of homework, projects, tests, and other assignments; set reminders for when things are due, set level of priority and keep track of schedule of classes.

TED Talks — customised quizzes, discussion guides, and other supporting materials to facilitate making a great lesson plan.

Ankidroid — perfect for exam cramming; helps students memorise anything through information flashcards which they can create themselves. Once loaded they can quiz themselves anywhere, anytime.

Wolfram Alpha — uses a vast database and various algorithms to answer to any questions of wide range like physics, chemistry, astronomy, maths, etc.

Khan Academy — over 2,500 free videos on everything from basic maths to venture capitalism

Languages — a fast offline translation dictionary app

* * *

For students appearing for tests (age 13+)

BenchPrep — choose your course (high school, higher education, graduate and professional), choose your device, and study independently or with friends.

SAT Vocab Cards — browse and quiz on 1,000 high-frequency SAT words for free, with 1,000 more available for purchase.

SATLadder — a competition-based question answering structure including over 2,000 SAT questions.

MCAT — features over 2,000 flashcards so you can study on the go.

GRE Word Boost — with 500 essential GRE words in its database, study and quiz anytime.

* * *

For teachers

ClassDojo — teachers can create a free account, add their students’ names and customise the behaviours they want to encourage. During class, positive behaviour is reinforced by dishing out feedback points to students; these feedback points automatically compiles the data into reports, letting teachers monitor progress, trends and share information with parents.

* * *

For parents

Famigo Sandbox — a brilliant and free way of making your Android device safe for your kids. It includes a free app of its own for kids to play as well as listing certified safe apps for parents to browse and choose from. There are no ads or in-app purchases and you get shown games and activities that are platform and child specific.

App Timer Mini (ATM) — simple tool to track user’s time on selected apps; the app timer can be set for all the apps, based on how much time should be spent on each which will be shown on the screen while you are using an app.

* * *

Other fun apps

Auryn Ink — digital watercolour-painting app; feels like real watercolour painting, right down to choosing between wet or dry canvases, and watching the paint dry on the page.

Tapestry — offers short stories from various authors, displayed full-screen rather than in e-book style layout; readers are encouraged to give feedback to the authors too.

Celeste — combines 3D graphics of the heavenly bodies with fun facts about astronomy; aim the device’s camera at the sky and see exactly where each object is located, day or night.

Famous Artists and Their Paintings — learn about more than 100 famous works of art from Michelangelo, Rembrandt, da Vinci and more and test your knowledge with a time-trial quiz.

Britannica Kids — encyclopaedias come alive on a range of topics; info presented alongside videos, games and quizzes.

Robots for iPad — learn about electronics and robotics through videos and interactive examples of more than 100 real life robots like Sony’s Aibo dog.

How it Works: Machines by Geek Kids — get an introduction to engineering and learn how various machines work by taking them apart and reassembling them.


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55 thoughts on “How smart is our cell phone habit? : my article in GULF TIMES

  1. I’m one of those who does not have a cell phone. I’m surviving to much surprise of most of my friends and some family members. There are times I wish I had a cell, and maybe some day I’ll venture to get one.
    You’re article was well written and very informative.

  2. Awhile back I felt like I was too distracted with a smartphone, and I made the horrible decision to get a small push button phone that only makes calls and takes pictures. You are so right! Smart phones have been integrated into our culture so much that they are a necessity! It’s bizarre how often I’ve needed one – switching back to a smart phone soon.

  3. I love my phone! It has become a daily necessity! But I think I could go without it for a while, it would force me to engage in other activities that I find myself neglecting haha! But loved the article!

  4. Thank you for liking my post(:

    This is a great collection of resources. With the new Google Glass coming out I believe that we may begin to see even more learning apps, but perhaps hands-on. We are not far from bringing technology to react with us in the real world, and not behind a screen.

    Nevertheless, it is an exciting development to see technology being used for the betterment of all.

  5. Pople are interuptong business all the time for their phones. Once they have more time harassment free with thier persoanl time and work where they everything does not require immediate attention, the amount of cell phone use will go down. No more overbooking with need in business is going to send cell phone use down as well.

  6. yes. phone nowadays are necessity. its mobility helps us, just like ‘connecting people’ mean. But… some just using smartphones just for some ‘pride’ also. as they see their friends using one type of smartphone, they bought it also. IMHO

  7. I’m re-entering the smart phone world, I haven’t had anything more than your basic since 2008 living overseas… I’m looking forward to being connected but a little leary of being TOO connected. Android vs. iPhone is a popular search on my browser

  8. Hi! Thank you for finding my blog and for liking! Please come back and visit. Up until a month ago, I had a burner – it took calls, made calls, took ditzy pics. I was happy with it – I only used it for emergencies, which don’t happen very often. I did get an Android powered phone a month ago and often forget to put in my bag. When I see people walking around and talking, I want to say to them like people say to people showing too much PDA, Get A Room! I don’t understand this obsession to constantly be connected to a person – always having to talk to someone, to tell them where you are, what you are doing…..constantly texting. Maybe a sign of the times that we are so insecure that we have to be connected all the time to someone, something? Anyway, I mainly now use my phone to take pics and play some games. Amazing. My family is totally amazed I finally caved and bought such a phone. My cat loves to watch me zip the screens back and forth – he loves it.

  9. Pingback: How smart is our cell phone habit? : my article in GULF TIMES | AsmaGHali

  10. I don’t have a smartphone because it hard for me to read small things with poor eyes. I do have a tablet that I use for reading and fun too. I enjoyed your article 🙂

  11. Hi, Thanks for liking my post. I see from your profile that you went to college in Trichy. I am from Tamil Nadu too and I would have never met you if not for this blogiverse (that I live in sometimes 🙂 Thanks for the Apps list, I need to get some new Apps for a long-haul flight for my two kids- iPads are essential like food and water on long journeys with kids of age 4 and above 😀

    • Hehe glad to help. Let me know if there are other games your tiny totes like, I will include them in my list. 🙂
      And where in Tamil Nadu were you put up? Glad to meet you btw 🙂

      • Glad to have met you too. I am a newbie to blogging – no full-time job anymore, see 🙂
        I was brought up in MAdurai. But after living in a few other places, now we are back in India but in Goa. Have not lived in Tamil Nadu for the last 15 years. Perhaps I missed that in your profile, do you live in Tamil Nadu?

      • No, I live in Delhi and Doha (middle-east) -to and fro sorts.. I was in TN only for NIT-Trichy 🙂
        Haven’t been to Goa..but in next 2 years, I plan to check that off my bucket list for sure!

  12. Glad you liked my post, and yours is a great blog! Will check out Class Dojo and will be following!

  13. Am one of those people who feels bare without my phone! I can’t even turn it off at night! Sometimes I feel like the cell phone “discovery” was a bad idea 🙂 Thanks for stopping by my blog

  14. nice article!

    I had my first mobile phone wayy back in ’99. back then I wasn’t as attached to it as I am to it now. I do make a U-turn if I remember in the middle of the road that I left my phone at home. Will check out your article in the gulf times as soon as I get the time.

    Currently a blackberry user (not z10, the older models) trying to jump to android.

    Thanks for stopping by at ragingcamel, hope you enjoy your time there. Hope you get to read the Indonesian articles too!

    • I din’t like Blackberry tat much- it became a rage when it was introduced- every professional worker wanted a blackberry!!

      I would love to look at your blog again..

  15. I know a few with smart phones. I am not one. I know that my grandson under three can operate his father’s phone to play videos. The advancement of technology can be overwhelming. Perhaps you could design an app to remind people to actually spend face time with people, breath fresh air outside and also learn to turn the media off so that nature can be heard. 🙂

  16. Wonderful article!! I think the positives of the new technologies outweigh the negatives, as long as people (kids in particular) incorporate them into their lives and don’t use them as a replacement for face to face communication and social development. Thanks for stopping by and liking my blog!

  17. I finished taking exams such as the SAT recently (I’m young), and I have to say that buying SAT practice apps was the best preparation I did. I could do it while riding the bus, I could practice in public, and I would get instant feedback. Highly recommend studying this way- my score went up over 300 points in 3 months.

  18. great post, I really like the apps for kids. Monitoring your child’s usage on a smart phone is so necessary these days.

  19. Nice article very cogent! I love articles on applications and this one is full of good information. Thanks for sharing it.

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