The best sign that the times, they are a-changing

I was wandering around an airport yesterday, waiting for my flight, when I came across this new type of vending machine:


What does it sell? It sells electricity. It’s a box which allows you to securely charge your devices for a small fee.

This kind of machine would have been unthinkable even 10 years ago when the Nokia 3310 was the greatest phone on earth and had a battery life of about two days (although this was dependent on the degree to which you played Snake 2). We’ve never felt this need to charge things all the time before, if our iPod had run out of battery then that was sad but we would wait until the next convenient situation to charge it, not pay for it to be charged.

It just shows how much we value our phones nowadays, that we can’t even imagine going on holiday without them fully ready to go. But it also highlights the sheer volume of phone usage. The fact that we spend a huge proportion of our days now looking down at a tiny screen.

Looking at phone

A phone battery can last a long time. I realise that is an unpopular thing to say as most people would disagree but it’s the truth. If we just used our phone for a phone and the occasional text, I wouldn’t be surprised if the phone battery lasted for two days or more, which really is quite good.

But it’s all the extras we now use our phone for: it’s our source of music, it’s our notepad, it’s our email, it’s our games console, it’s our camera and it’s our newspaper. Our phones are now so powerful that they almost supersede our computers.

Most laptops will only have a battery life of 3 or 4 hours, yet we expect something with a smaller battery to do much the same stuff and last three times as long.

Anyway, phones do run out of battery quickly because we are using them so much, which is why we need these vending machines. Gone are the days of an airport departure lounge full of people reading books and newspapers. The only people now reading print are those who are waiting to get their phones from the charge box.