by Shane White
Lets make this intro short. Doomsday has just happened and your cell phone no longer works. You don't have a signal, you cannot charge it. Lets say for this scenario that your cell phone is no better than a hunk of plastic and burnt out circuits. What do you replace it with?
Communications - You can not longer contact people with just a couple of clicks. If land-line phones still work, you will have to find one, call whoever you are trying to reach, and hope that they are there to answer. It would be like going back to the seventies because nobody has answering machines anymore. Sending a message to someone would involve finding a computer and sending a message with it. If there is no electricity or land-line telephones, you will have to walk to your friend's house and hope they are there or hope that there is a postal system to deliver a letter.
Navigation - Many smart phones have navigation build in. Programs such as Google Maps and Telenav have made it so we no longer have to pull out a road atlas or a map to figure out where we are or how to get somewhere. In a world without cell phones, we would have to use these again, or use our dashboard mounted GPS. If the GPS system no longer works, or you are unable to get your GPS recharged, or get batteries for it, then you will be forced to use paper maps. My suggestion is to buy a road atlas or some maps right now if you do not already have some.
Internet - Now, many of us use the internet on our cell phones to get information about anything we need or can think of right where we are. Without a cell phone, you will need to do this on a computer, but without electricity, there is no internet. If you have to find information about something, you will need to go to the library or the bookstore and get a book. My suggestion for you is if there are any books that you know you will need in a catastrophic event, you should buy it now.
Idle Time - People use their phones to kill time. Right now people do things like text, surf the internet, and play games on their phones. In a world without cell phones, you will not be able to do any of these things. You would have to use a laptop or a tablet on WIFI to do anything close to this. If you do not have electricity, you will be forced to read paper books, play with a deck or cards, whittle on a piece of wood or something like that.
Other Stuff - Right now you may use your phone to store your contacts, as a calculator, or use it for the many other useful apps that we have grown accustomed to. You may still be able to use a handheld calculator for a while since most of them are solar powered and have extremely long battery life. Your best bet is to keep a supply of pencil and paper. You should have your friends and families information written down now or it may be lost forever. Also, paper is great for doing math problems, writing notes, etc. Get some now.
If you have ever been in a short term event, you already know that your cell phone is the probably the first tool that will become unusable. Without a place to plug them in, they are difficult to charge, and they may be useless anyway if the cell network goes down. Hand crank chargers will give you quite a workout and will quickly get old so that you end up not using your cell phone for much.
Be prepared for cell phone Armageddon. It will happen.