Devices: Smartphones & Cell Phones

Phones without OS: On the Safe Side with Old-Timers

Phones without OS: On the Safe Side with Old-Timers
Phones without OS: On the Safe Side with Old-Timers

Phones without OS: On the Safe Side with Old-Timers

Once upon a time the word ‘smart’ described people and not the handhelds they used. You might be surprised to know that the ‘dumb’ phones without OS are still around. They don’t feature any OS and their options are cut down to just making calls and texting (believe it or not, using actual buttons).

If you ever could blind text with your phone in a pocket, now is the time to revive this skill, because dull, monochrome, no-browser phones turn out to be safer than our smartphones. Lack of any online features seems to be an advantage nowadays, especially if you’re an Android user.

The downside of the modern mobiles is the OS they run. It should be constantly updated to patch vulnerabilities.

Mobile security relies on software, not hardware. iOS and Android have new versions every year. The phones makers’ approaches, though, are completely different. Where Apple gives five years, Android gives two years.

A year ago in February 2017, 79 percent of Apple mobiles users could upgrade their gadgets to iOS 10 and receive security updates notwithstanding the fact that some devices were five years old. Apple also sells refurbished handhelds and guarantees they’ll be able to cope with the new releases of iOS. Of course, there’s that darn slow-down on old iPhones that we have to take into account as well. The Cupertino company did promise to introduce the user-controlled battery management to improve the situation.

Android is another story. Android 7 Nougat, released in August 2016, is not compatible with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 801/800 chipset, that cuts off a lot of flagships from the previous years. So, if your phone at that time was about two years old, you couldn’t upgrade it up to Nougat. You couldn’t download the latest antivirus scanners, firewalls, security patches, etc. With your Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy S5, LG G3 you were left out in the cold.

That’s why the unprecedented decision by Samsung to roll out Android Oreo for the three-year-old smartphones made the headlines. For now the update is available for T-Mobile subscribers only. For instance, Samsung Galaxy S6 can be upgraded from Android 5.0.2 Lollipop up to Android 8.0 Oreo, while the previous maximum upgrade was limited to Android 7.0 Nougat.

Nokia 3310 (2017 edition)

Nokia 3310 (2017 edition)

But wait, wait, wait! We are talking about the flagships phones here! For instance, Google is very accurate with the latest updates for the Pixel and Pixel 2 phones, but they are way too expensive. People mostly use middle-class or budget phones. Those never got a decent upgrade. As a rule, their hardware is severely cut down to support the current OS on the release date. That’s because nobody expected the cheap Android phones to last more than a year. Oh, perhaps, I found the reason why they are made so fragile as well!

I’m thinking that in two, let alone three years any Android phone becomes very insecure. Updates either stop arriving or arrive at random, often only if a major vulnerability is discovered.The only advice you will get is to upgrade your phone. Not the software but the actual phone itself, can you see the difference?

Well, if you are going to change your handheld all the same, it’s OK. You can sell it. Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel phones can be sold for a good chunk of cash, but what if you can’t or just don’t want to part with your smartphone?

There’s a way out…patch the apps you’ve downloaded from Google Play. As long as you’ve got the free space in your phone or as long as your Android support the patches, remember to upgrade whenever possible.

Another good idea is to turn to the good, old ‘dumb’ phones as a backup. Do you recall, I mentioned that they are still around? That is the reason why. ‘Old’ in our case means ‘obsolete’. Obsolete phones are still made and sold, because no browser and social apps means no Trojans, no malware, no cry. If hacked, your ‘dumb’ phone can leak your contacts list and texts, that is also critical, but this kind of hacking is mostly a hands-on experience. In other words, a culprit has to steal your device first and you’ll have some time to report your phone stolen to block it.

Old phones can also be hacked via spam SMS, but here you are in full control. Don’t open the texts from strangers and even from a familiar contact if the text in question looks funny. Just call back to make sure your contact has sent it.

Add up the battery’s stamina (non-smart phones can work for three days in a row without a recharge) and you have an ideal companion. Most users have both a dumb- and a smartphone so that they can always reach their friends and family in any given situation.

Bottom line is that dumb phones aren’t too dumb and too old to be ditched right away, after all.


Using A Flip Phone In 2017… [Video]

Video uploaded by Unbox Therapy on September 21, 2017

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Devices: Smartphones & Cell Phones

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