In this article, I need to address something that not many tech bloggers have not addressed and that is if digital life is the way to go moving forward. I may be a tech enthusiast but I am also wary of the vulnerability of being too reliant on tech. I am afraid to adopt a digital door lock because I am afraid that it will be easily hacked or worst, unlocked on its own because conflicts with some random frequencies in our ever-growing wireless environment will unlock it.

What Happens When Your Phone Breaks Down?

This is why I am slow to adopt digital payments like Google Pay. But I started doing so last year when I upgraded from Samsung Galaxy S21 to Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4. I used the device to pay for public transport, purchases, and meals. It was a convenience that I never knew I have missed. I even have my Virgin Elevate on Google Wallet along with my proof of vaccination.

I was totally into going digital. I do banking on it and have all sorts of membership digitalized, ready to be used whenever I need them. Then, it happened. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4’s screen conked out. I had to send it to have it replaced under warranty. To make things worst, it wasn’t in-a-day service. It would be in a week before I can get it back and during this time, life still goes on which means commuting, paying bills, and banking.

The problem was obvious: everything was set up on the daily driver. This prompted me to think: are we too reliant on our phones? Our daily conveniences are at the mercy of the quality of the phone.

Is It Really A Convenience Or An Inconvenience?

During the time that the main device was at the service center, Google Pixel 7 became my daily driver. Thankfully I have some stuff set up on it and it did cushion the inconvenience slightly. But here’s the thing. I was reluctant to rely on Google Pixel 7 to do, say, pay for my daily commute. I was afraid that if I tapped in and it froze on me when I was going to tap out. The same goes for digital payment which would then make payment a little longer when it was supposed to be a quicker way to pay and go. The same question keeps coming back: are we overly reliant on our phones?

What if we can’t trust businesses to provide issue-free phones to enable the convenience that was advertised? The problem is more than not having the phone for convenience. When I got back the device. The data on the phone was completely wiped and I have to reestablish everything that I did the first time I have gotten the phone. You may think it is a one-time minor inconvenience for all the conveniences after but it is not.

It Is Setting Up The Phone All Over Again

I have gazillions of apps that need reauthentication and some of them aren’t as easy as keying in the username and password. All told, I spent no less than two hours doing so. Two hours! That is a time that I will never get back.

It makes me think, what if it happens again that I need to do a factory reset (knock on wood)? I dread the thought. I guess I will just have to keep my fingers crossed (which makes typing this article really difficult!). Sure, I could probably leave my security to the cloud and free myself from the hassle of logging into some things but would I?

Speaking of which. I do use Samsung Pass for some stuff. Apparently, it (Samsung Pass) encrypts biometric information and saves it in Trust Zone. Logically speaking that should be wiped when the data are cleared from the device during the repair but it did not. The saved passwords are all there.

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However, everything else including the apps and logins has been wiped. That brings us to another question: how safe are services like such?

But it is not the be-all and end-all. After all, it is just a phone. Without it, we can go back to using cash, go to the bank, or use ATMs, which kind of makes us less reliant but you can’t say the same for TVs and EVs.

Software-driven EVs Allows For The In-app Purchase Era For Automobiles

I don’t understand why should a car lean on OS so heavily. I see no problem with the usual electrical or mechanical way of winding windows. Why should I have to go through a series of touch interfaces to adjust the climate control or wind the windows, or open the glove compartment?

It is counterintuitive and more so if remember that it is software that is calling the shots. It (the software) will lag and have the risk of freezing. It is inevitable. And being software-driven also means the age of in-app purchases has arrived in automobiles. This means you need to pay more if you want extra features like a heated seat, for example.

The thing is, the hardware necessary for the heated seat is there and what the automaker did was locked you out so you can’t use it. Unless you are telling me that this hardware cost wasn’t factored into the car of the price, I don’t believe this is ethical.

Why would any businesses risk it by not including the cost of the heated seat in this example when they cannot be sure if everyone will buy into it? It is obvious that it is part of the car’s cost. What they make you pay, if you so choose to, is just extra profit to them.

If that’s not bad enough, having a car that runs like a phone also allows automakers to push advertisements to you on the glorious huge OLED screen you are so proud of. If you weren’t doing anything, it is probably just annoying but if you are using the navigation and an ad popped up, it is going distract you because you will need to dismiss the ad while driving.

Software-driven TV Heralds The Age Of In-app Purchase For TVs

The ad issue is also found on modern Android TV, albeit only in China. Android TV sold in China offers a world of entertainment and in some of them, you have to watch an ad when you boot up the TV and sometimes right before you access certain apps. Trust me. I had an imported Xiaomi TV that does that.

Recently, consumers in China throw their hands in the air in disbelief when almost everything in this “world of entertainment” needs separate payment. Aside from free-to-air TV, anything you want to watch requires membership. If you think it is no big deal and it is just like a Hulu or Netflix kind of subscription. Well, apparently not.

If you don’t know. Android TV in China is pre-loaded with mind-blogging number paid membership entertainment. There is free stuff but not a lot that is legit. In the event you choose a streaming service and pay for, say, movies, you may need to pay more if you wish to watch series or children content. It is that bad.

Conclusion

The point is tech, specifically software-driven devices, allows businesses to squeeze out more from consumers. The question is: is this even ethical?

Featured image by Clay Banks/Malte Helmhold/TCL.

Published by Mike

Avid tech enthusiast, gadget lover, marketing critic and most importantly, love to reason and talk.