I have resisted the smartphone trend, partly out of general contrary reluctance but more out of parsimony: the dang things are expensive, and they cost a lot to use. I do have a mobile phone. I've had one for something like ten years, since I embarked on a long drive alone and my wife talked me into getting one just in case I needed it, and to let her know I was all right. I've gone through several of them now, because she is rather attached to them and interested in them, and whenever she got an upgrade I got her hand-me-down, up until the point a couple of years ago (I guess) when she got an iPhone.
For a long time I rarely used the mobile, mainly for simple purposes such as calling home or work to say I'd be late. But of course the usage has slowly grown, and people at work have the number, so that I can be reached if I'm away from home and there's an emergency there. I even learned to send text messages.
Last Christmas we upgraded the iPhone belonging to one of our children, and I got her former model as a hand-me-down. It doesn't function as a phone, because I have no intention of paying the monthly fee for that service. But I took it because in my job I really need to have some familiarity with these things, and this was a way to do so without spending any money. It does have WiFi, so I can do all sorts of things with it if I have that connectivity, including reading my email. Mostly I've used it as an mp3 player.
This week I'm at a technology conference. I've been away for the whole week, and there are a lot of problems that come up at work every day that no one else knows how to handle. So I've been carrying around with me both the ordinary mobile phone, for emergencies, and the iPhone, for less pressing matters that can be handled by email (the convention center has Wi-Fi, naturally).
It's crazy-making. I sit in a conference session in which someone is talking about some terribly complicated technical matter, and the phone buzzes with a text message. I try to handle whatever problem it presents me with while not completely losing the thread of the talk. If there's a lull I pick up the iPhone and check my email, to see what's transpiring with the problems I've been dealing with that way, and probably encounter a new one.
My attention span and ability to concentrate, not so hot at best, are so attenuated that there is never a moment when I'm entirely focused on one thing. It doesn't help that being in a large crowd always tends to make introverted me uneasy and distracted.
When I leave this conference I won't be tied to these devices anymore, but such seems to be a normal way of life for an awful lot of people. Setting aside the introvert part, I can't believe that the adoption of these habits isn't going to have the effect of making people in general less able and/or willing to think deeply and to reflect. I hope they're more resilient than I am.