Ed from Indianapolis, IN writes:
Due to a requirement with my job, it looks like I’m going to need to finally trade in my old flip phone for a so-called “smart” phone. I’m not thrilled with the idea, to me talking on the phone is good enough. Now I’ll have to pay for a data plan (my job does offer subsidy). But what I want to know is just what is the difference between my phone and one of these “smart” ones. How are they supposed to be better?
The main difference between your old phone is that it was a phone and a smartphone isn’t really a phone. A smartphone is a small computer, more specifically a small tablet computer. This computer happens to have an app (application) that makes phone calls. An app for a smartphone or tablet is like a program for a more traditional PC. What differentiates a smartphone from tablets is the ability of your phone carrier to assign a phone number to the device. Your phone can also access your carrier’s 3G or 4G network to make calls, but you can also use your device to connect to WiFi to avoid using too much of your data plan.
When you tap the phone icon on the device, it will open up a touchscreen keypad that allows you dial a number or select a contact.
Your smartphone also offers the ability to send SMS messages just like your old phone. But with a smartphone, you’ll find a variety of other messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp that allow you to communicate. As long as your phone has a front facing camera, you can also use it to make video calls as well.
Many people’s favorite feature of a smartphone is that they have cameras, most of them pretty good ones. For a large number of people, their phone has replaced the point and shoot for taking photographs and short videos. In addition to taking photos and videos, there are a number of apps available that allow you edit photo and videos and share them your friends.
You can also access e-mail accounts on your smart device and social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Smartphones have contributed greatly to the popularity of social networks like Facebook because users always have access to them. They don’t need to wait until they go home and fire up the PC to share a thought or a photo.
Most phones can also be used as GPS to offer driving and walking directors or find out where the nearest gas station or restaurant might be. These devices also have mobile browsers that allow you to access the Internet wherever you go.
You can also read and edit office documents created on your PC and, depending on the program you use, create documents. Programs like Microsoft Office 365 allow you to share Office documents, spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations between work and your phone.
Other things your smartphone can do with the right app include: scanning UPC codes, scanning documents, processing credit cards, reading eBooks, watching videos, measuring and even working as a remote control for you TV. Not to mention taking the place of an iPod or and MP3 player for music listening.
Another big difference is that touchscreen interface. You usually find very few physical buttons on a smartphone. Usually just power and volume control and perhaps a home button.
You might ask if you really need a device that does all these things when you just want to make a phone call? That’s up to you. But I think once you have the convenience of a smartphone, you’ll wonder how you got along without one. Of course, your going to pay for this convenience. Smartphones are priced like the small computers they are and you will pay a premium price for a data plan.