It starts with the simple questions: Can I afford not to own a cell phone? Would I still be employable if I didn’t own one? Would I still know what is happening and get invited to parties? The next year, it’s owning a smart phone. Or being on Facebook. Or getting an iPad for the children. None of this is about being aspirational. It’s about keeping up, an imperative sharpened by the economic crisis. So we cut expenses, but not when it comes to technology. Perhaps we eat out less, or travel less. But the cell phone — which by now has become a smartphone — stays. And the thing about smartphones is that in order to be fully functional they need to know where they are — that is to say, where we are. This knowledge defines them. It is what makes them smart.