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Article: Am I The Only One Sick of Childish Ringtones?

by on March 20, 2006

Mobile phones are everywhere—that’s a given. But, it seems like every time someone gets a call, we’re subjected to something that sounds like it came out of a late ’80s/early ’90s video game or a distorted-sounding low-fidelity snippit of some pop or rap song. If those are your thing, fine, but it seems like phone manufacturers and providers just encourage this noise pollution.

For example, on many of the phones that belong to my friends and myself, there are a few choices built-in. Of those, maybe one or two actually resembles a real phone. The rest are usually promotional stuff thrown in by the service provider (the Cingular ringtone is one that comes to mind) or cheesy-sounding MIDI files.

It can be fun to pick out certain ring types for particular callers or just finding that special ringtone that fits your personality, but it seems like many people have forgotten that their phone can ring at any time, which is great if you’re in a meeting and your phone starts blaring a synthesized version of “Who Let the Dogs Out?”

Call me a curmudgeon, call me grumpy, and maybe I just don’t “get it”, but what happened to regular-sounding rings? My Sony Ericsson phone has one that sounds something like an AT&T 2500, but I haven’t seen anything like it on other models from Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, or Sanyo. I think a lot of people would go “retro” if given the option out-of-the-box, rather than having to choose between spending money on a ringtone or being a walking advertisement for Nokia, Cingular, T-Mobile, or any pop song.

I get that service providers make money off of ringtones and by selling pieces of pop songs for a few bucks, it’s a great way for added revenue (why hope that someone goes over on their minutes or text messages when you can just get them to buy just one ringtone?).

So, how does this fit in with Apple? There has been speculation again that they’d release their own phone, which would be more of an iPod than Motorola’s ROKR ever was, but also a decent mobile phone. My plea to Apple is that they include a bunch of professional-sounding ringtones, as well as some others that would make the “fun” crowd happy.

Also, I am happy to say that I found a few more “business-like” choices online and downloaded them to my phone thanks to Bluetooth (and my Mac), but there are enough phones out there that do not have this feature, or are crippled by a service provider. Perhaps that needs to change?

Let me say this, I fall in the so-called younger demographic, and although many of my peers have changed their ringtones to something obnoxious, a number of us don’t want those few normal-sounding ones to disappear.

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