People who whine about other people using their phones are assholes.
Of course, people do this for varying reasons.
Some will assume that people are playing 21st century Donkey Kong.
Some will assume that people are looking at Facebook.
Some will assume that people are texting their friends about trivial things.
Some... do not know, but given their certainty that computers are harmful to people and phones not plugged into a wall are a little dodgy, the combination of the two must be at least twice as evil.
Can we agree that reading books does not necessarily mean reading good books?
And movies. And music. And art shows. Maybe the medium is not the whole message.
If you are having a conversation and pull a photo album off the shelf, it is to share a memory. Of you pull a book off the shelf, it is to share inspiration. If you are searching on a phone, it is assumed you have left the conversation.
Should we stop calling it a phone? It is not like anyone under 50 uses it to speak with, anyway. Tricorder is probably closer. Communicator. So maybe we should reframe. Pull out your infodocutainment stick! A tablet in Swedish is a surfplatta, a surf plate.
Takeaway action point:
Come up with new word for smartphone
Seriously, it makes more sense to me to acknowledge the potential in having everything available at all time.
Of course, one should not mistake information for knowledge or even wisdom. But one should also not underestimate the potential in using the tools to better oneself. I use Duolingo for language training every day. I have half of what Dostoyevsky wrote as ePub files on my phone and most of the Wodehouse books as audiobooks. The active mind needs intelligent entertainment.
If people cannot handle other people using a different medium from what they are used to, they should not be taken seriously.