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The three things you have to pay to get a Smart Phone

One of the reasons that getting a Smart Phone is so complicated is that there are so many options. I just visited the Verizon site, and although I'm sure they mean well, it's absolutely dizzying looking at all of the options. So, I'll break them down to three things:

  1. The phone. That is the chunk of plastic that you hold in your hand. It's actually a mini-computer, and although it's small, there's a lot going on. They're so expensive that it becomes a good bargaining chip for the carrier to offer you a discount on it. What Verizon wants more than anything is to get me to sign a two-year contract. I have no problem with that, so I will. If I do that, I get a discount on the phone.
  2. The line charge. The line charge is what you have to pay to get the phone to actually work just as a phone. That is, to talk with it. The term *line* goes back to the days when telephones were connected with wires that plugged into walls that connected to telephone lines. Even though those lines are gone, the term is still used. Before Smart Phones, that was the only monthly charge, and it was, and is, a maze of complex plans that give you the option of different amounts of minutes, coverage, all that.
  3. The data plan. In addition to the line charge, you have to pay for the data that you will be using. Data is another old-fashioned term that goes back to the invention of computers, and simply means information stored and managed. With regards to a Smart Phone, it means how much you will be using the phone not as a telephone, but as a computer, doing things like surfing the internet, checking emails, etc.
In case anyone asks, and I doubt they will, the modern term phone is an abbreviation of the world *telephone*, which just mean sending sounds over a distance. Television is the same thing, but with the stress on visuals. A modern Smart Phone is actually a device for sending and receiving both visuals and sound. The term iPhone, by the way, is short for internet Phone, which seems to make sense.