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September 26, 2012

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Smartphones are very cheap. It is data plans that are expensive. But only idiots watch TV shows over LTE. If you are not crazy with data usage, you can have two iPhones for $120 a month.

Also, how does annual spending increase of $100 prevent people from doing anything?

[HS: Verizon charges $200 for a smartphone, plus you need to also buy a 2-year contract at a minimum of $80/month plus a lot of taxes and extra charges. So each smartphone winds up costing $1100/year.]

Yes, but two smartphones cost only $130 a month, not $160. And I think AT&T is cheaper because I pay even less.

Virgin mobile offers unlimited data throttled after 2.5 gb of use per month for only $35 per month. Tmobile offers unlimited data throttled after 5 gb for only 30 bucks a month. Cheap smartphones can be found on ebay.

I've also read that poorer people tend to use their smartphones as their primary computer, which makes doing things like applying for jobs more difficult. Printing and using a word processor on a phone is difficult.

Ivan: http://www.ketknbc.com/news/new-study-says-64-of-americans-have-less-than-1000-in-the-bank


"The study says sixty-four percent of Americans do not have one thousand dollars in savings."


I miss two things about having a smartphone:

1. the ability to use google maps
2. the ability to easily whore for attention by taking cool pictures and immediately posting them to facebook

[HS: You can get a $100 digital camera, but yes, you'd have to go home to your comptuer to upload it somewhere. But the photo would be better quality than the smartphone photo.]

One can increase their spiritual well-being with a smartphone. They could look up quotes by Kant or Buddha on a whim when feeling depressed while riding the bus.

[HS: Or they can carry a book (or even an e-book) of such quotes and not pay $1100/year, just a one-time fee for the book.]

The ability to map and Google search on the go is virtually a necessity these days. Indeed, I'm not sure how we got along without it.

This is not necessarily something that keeps poor people poor but an example of a technology that improves quality of life that isn't as accessible to people as much as it should be.

[HS: Or they can carry a book (or even an e-book) of such quotes and not pay $1100/year, just a one-time fee for the book.]

True, but smartphones can be used as an e-reader, a laptop, gps navigation device, lie detector, breathalyzer and so much more with the hundreds of thousands of available apps. It's versatility is mind boggling. Plus if someone gets a cheaper plans that cost the same or a tad more than just a talk and text plan and gets a cheaper used phone from ebay, they can gain so much spiritual well-being for not that much.

But of course reality doesn't happen that way. A lot of poor people spend a lot on their phone and plan. They also tend to not maximize the utility of smartphones well. They gobble data by watching stupid stuff on youtube or hulu. They blast horrible music on through the horrible sounding tiny speakers. they text back and forth non-stop. They play stupid games like farmville or whatever stupid flash-based games are popular. They use it as a toy essentially. I don't mind, as I think smartphones has a way of pacifying ghetto thugs.

"Seems to me that the “necessity” of owning a smartphone is preventing people from paying off their debts" ... People that manage their personal finances poorly, would find a way to manage their finances poorly regardless of whether smartphones were available.

"$1,226 in 2011 from $1,110 in 2007": a growth rate of 2.5% per annum is probably much the same as the rate of inflation. No big deal.

If you truly need a smartphone... your employer will provide one to you.

Blacks will always spend an overly large percentage of their income on luxuries like movies/entertainment/nightclubs, eating out, smart phones, name brand clothing, etc. And they don't tend to search for deals, either - they would rather spend their last few bucks buying the brand new smart phone and the full plan rather than purchasing the used iPhone that is one version out of date.

And don't forget Bill Cosby's "Poundcake" speech where he had the famous line about black parents spending $500 for sneakers but refusing to spend $200 to get Hooked on Phonics for their kids.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/26/hong-kong-businessman-reward-lesbian-daughter_n_1916277.html

Here is golden opportunity for poor charming guy to become rich if you can marry his daughter.

Actually this might be a bussiness opportunity if you can work a deal with his daughter.

Yep, phones and their fees can really pull you down. I am poor so I decided to give up my cell phone (it was an old flip phone, not a smart phone). The $70/month just wasn't worth it, and quite frankly I am happier without it. When I was a teacher in the ghetto (I'm talking a real ghetto too, the kind that you read about in national newspapers) all of the kids had the latest phones. Your wealth and opportunity are more related to your spending habits than to your income.

"Blacks will always spend an overly large percentage of their income on luxuries like movies/entertainment/nightclubs, eating out, smart phones, name brand clothing, etc. And they don't tend to search for deals, either - they would rather spend their last few bucks buying the brand new smart phone and the full plan rather than purchasing the used iPhone that is one version out of date."

Blacks? _Buy_ phones? Not punch some SWPL in the face for it, or snatch it out of someone's hand right before the subway car's door closes?

Through Assurance Wireless and AT&T, the Federal government provides free regular cell phones and service (250 talk minutes + 250 text per month) to low income US residents.

I used to pay 100/yr for a prepaid cell, 20/yr for VOIP and 25/month for unlimited high speed internet. I don't take cable or satellite so that's 420/yr for everything.

Now I use a cracked smartphones with an Obihai adapter. So my monthly payment is now 25 for unlimited high speed internet, 15 for a mobile data plan and 10 for unlimited VOIP access. That's $600/yr for everything. When you consider that includes internet, home phone and smart phone that's pretty good.

"Blacks will always spend an overly large percentage of their income on luxuries like ... eating out ..."

Everything but that last one. Blacks mostly don't use restaurants, because they'd have to pay (McDonald's takes EBT cards). With blacks these days, the whole game is getting COA subsidized in various ways. I'll never forget walking behind two brothas after a track event in Berkeley. One smirkingly asks the other, "did you pay?"

"Smartphones are very cheap. It is data plans that are expensive."

A portion of each month's data plan payment goes to the real cost of the phone. A new iPhone is over $600 off-contract, which makes sense when one considers that it's basically a laptop with miniaturized components.

Deals can be found. My smartphone (Samsung Galaxy Nexus) cost under $400 new, with tax, off-contract. My plan is T-Mo's $30/month which has enough data that I've disconnected cable. Total cost with expected life of phone is less than $2 a day, which is about 1/4 what I spend on sugary drinks. Of course, cable was $60/month and that's mostly useful for video which you should avoid anyway.

Smartphones are also now the best CC processors. If you do any work off-site where you accept cards, Square and co. offer competitive rates on CC processing by phone. Cheaper, easier, and slicker than any alternative.

Smartphones are productivity machines. They are ubiquitous terminals. Every American should buy one.

Plus if someone gets a cheaper plans that cost the same or a tad more than just a talk and text plan and gets a cheaper used phone from ebay, they can gain so much spiritual well-being for not that much.

If you have a smartphone at all, chances are you're going to have to pay for an expensive plan. It doesn't really matter if you're on contract or not anymore. At least that's true with the big boys.

You can, however, get a used smartphone and go on a prepay plan of some sort and maybe save money that way. If you go that route, then eBay is a great place to get a phone.

//Plus if someone gets a cheaper plans that cost the same or a tad more than just a talk and text plan and gets a cheaper used phone from ebay, they can gain so much spiritual well-being for not that much.//

If you have a smartphone at all, chances are you're going to have to pay for an expensive plan. It doesn't really matter if you're on contract or not anymore. At least that's true with the big boys.

You can, however, get a used smartphone and go on a prepay plan of some sort and maybe save money that way. If you go that route, then eBay is a great place to get a phone.

Poor people tend to have smartphones, yes - there is a show called "luxurytrap" here in Sweden, where people (99 % prole ;D ) gets help with their bad finances (caused by shitty spending) and pretty much all of them have Iphones...

The pricing of Smartphones/mobile contracts seems weird in the US though - with only 3 major carriers on a population of 300 million+ that shouldn´t be a surprise i guess. In Sweden we have at least 4 national major carriers (+ a couple of others who rent their capacity from the big ones) - on a population of 9.5 million.

A smartphone +free surf+10 dollars to phone costs 25 dollars per month +300 dollars upfront(24 month contract)
Smartphone +3000 minutes+3000 messages+ free surf costs 80 dollars per month + 300 dollars upfront. (thats the full cost, no taxes or anything else)

I don't like Smartphones, I view them as a government/corporate tracking device sucking down my personal data and activities. For which I pay plenty. Yes its convenient but that has a price.

I use a cheap voice/text phone, pay $50 a month, and may even ditch that and go with pre-paid, since I mostly use my landline and you can pay around $10 a month for plenty of minutes and unlimited text. No one will mug me for a cheap Nokia. It fits in my pocket, easy. It makes and receives phone calls, and gets/receives texts. That's about all I need.

I know my environment. If I need a map, I have ... Thomas Brothers. I Mapquest where I am going before I go there if it is someplace new. An Ipod Shuffle at $49 (or a Sansa Clip Zip at $55) will give me better and more mp3s than an Iphone. At a fraction of the cost. My phone has a "good enough" camera to take pics. Why would I need a smartphone? So I can post meaningless stuff on Twitter?

Yep HS is exactly right -- poor people spend way too much money on status-whoring and not enough on smart investments. Of course with the Fed screwing everyone over but hard asset investors with unlimited money printing it looks less foolish I guess.

"Total cost with expected life of phone is less than $2 a day, which is about 1/4 what I spend on sugary drinks." -- Secret of NAM

Oh, my. If you're not a diabetic you will be.

Virgin Mobile: no contract at $35/month with decent minutes, text, and 2.5gb. Buy a cheap smartphone for $100 or the iPhone for $600. After-tax price for 2 year lifecycle on cheap phone of $45/month. I've talked to poor people who are really satisfied with this company.

http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phone-plans/beyond-talk-plans/overview/

"Yep HS is exactly right -- poor people spend way too much money on status-whoring and not enough on smart investments. Of course with the Fed screwing everyone over but hard asset investors with unlimited money printing it looks less foolish I guess."

I don't even think a smartphone has anything to do with status whoring.

"Oh, my. If you're not a diabetic you will be."

SWPL-Soda is small batch, so $8 doesn't buy much.

Seconds after reading this, I'm watching Maria Bartiromo on CNBC interview Congressman Tim Griffin (R-AR) who wants to end the free cellphone program. He submitted a bill in Nov. but he has no co-sponsers. The program doubles in size every year.

I'm watching a piece on Fox Business right now saying that the government is subsidizing smart phones to the tune of $1.6B/yr. When the government is paying, how do smartphone keep people poor?

I've had a phone 2 yrs of my adult life. I simply haven't needed it. Granted, I started off in a much better place than many of these people, but a significant part of that is because my family (and me) have some understanding of gratification deferment. What am I supposed to think about this?

"The ability to map and Google search on the go is virtually a necessity these days. Indeed, I'm not sure how we got along without it."

That's . . . sad.


"True, but smartphones can be used as an e-reader, a laptop, gps navigation device, lie detector, breathalyzer and so much more with the hundreds of thousands of available apps."

They're sort of like Swiss army knives in that respect. They do a lot of things, but few of them very well. If you want to do any significant amount of e-reading, for example, then even an El Cheapo reader is a much better choice.

They are certainly versatile, so they're a decent choice for people who want to do all of those things you list. Again, it's a Swiss army knife -- you don't want to carry a knife *and* a corkscrew *and* a can opener *and* a bottle opener, so you carry one multitool. The question is whether or not all that stuff is actually useful. To some, it is. To me, it hasn't been.


"If you have a smartphone at all, chances are you're going to have to pay for an expensive plan. It doesn't really matter if you're on contract or not anymore. "

Why? When I bought a smartphone, via eBay, I just popped the SIM out of my old "dumb" phone and put it into the shiny new Captivate. I never changed plans. I pay a small amount for cell phone service, and have no "data plan" because there are so many free wifi hotspots.

It's the SIM which has service, not the actual phone.

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