Remember last year when that massive blizzard hit the east coast? I do. My wife ended up trapped in Washington D.C. for 6 days while waiting for a flight out. It could have been worse though, at least the hotel she was staying at didn’t lose power, and she was able to keep in touch via her cell phone. But what if this had gone from bad to worse? What if the infrastructure hadn’t kept running, and the power had gone out? Her phone — a smartphone — would have been the first thing to go. With big ol’ screens and radios galore, it’s tough to keep these things away from the wall for too long.
So what do you do to make sure you don’t lose communication?
In a recent article on CNN, this is pretty much the situation: The power is out, and you have no way to charge your phone. There’s an active cell tower, but it’s too far away (or just too slammed) to make a solid connection and call for help.
CNN’s recommendation is one we can whole-heartedly support: Go go gadget cheap-backup-phone! Something with low power consumption — and more importantly, texting capabilities. It (generally) takes less power to send a text than it does to initiate and maintain a call, and the networks can (again, generally) handle more texts at one time than they can voice calls. Case in point: During hurricane Katrina the voice service went down, but many people were able to send out texts and were in fact rescued as a result.
So which phone should you get? In a recent Engadget podcast, co-host Myriam Joire (otherwise known as tnkgrl) recommends the Motorola F3, which uses E-Ink to display basic information. Our recommendation? Any cheapo, feature-light pre-paid handset you can find.
Sure, you can’t update your Facebook with it, but sometimes there are just more important things than updating your friends on which coffee shop you’re currently lurking in.