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New Tech – Why Do I Need It? Part 2

Monday, November 24th, 2014 by | Filed Under: Android, Hardware & Peripherals, I've Always Wanted To Know..., iOS

In Part 1 of our series, Lillian from Milwaukee wrote:

I don’t know the difference between an I-pad, or I-phone, or a tablet, or a smart phone, etc. etc.  And not only that, They seem to be always changing.  So…could you possible explain all of the differences, in them.  And what exactly is wi fi, and blue tooth?  there are so many new gadgets since I first took computer courses.  And I don’t know how to text.  I am 70 yrs old, and don’t find it necessary to text someone.  If I want to say something to them, I’ll just call, or e-mail.  So why is it necessary to have a laptop, or a tablet, or a I-pad, or a touch screen phone?

In a previous article, I broke down the basics of WiFi connections. Today I’ll get to her questions about devices.

Lillian, basically a laptop, tablet or smartphone is the same thing as your desktop computer. It’s a computer. It’s just smaller and more portable. A smartphone is just a small tablet with an app that allows you to make and receive voice calls.

Smartphone Data Usage

The main difference between the phone and the tablet and laptop is the SIM card. This allows the phone to have a phone number and make and receive calls from land lines or cell phones. It also allow you to call 911.

The reason you would want a laptop, tablet or smartphone is the same reason you want your desktop. You want a computer. The advantage to a laptop is that it is portable. Instead of having sit in one place in your home, you can use it anywhere in the house or take it with you. Tablets and smartphones are especially portable, a smartphone will slip right in your pocket.


You have e-mail, Internet access and other programs like a word processor, spreadsheet program or photo editing software with you wherever you go. In addition, most smartphones have excellent cameras that can take photos just as good as most point and shoot cameras. Plus it also takes videos. If you have a storage card, you can take thousands of photos.

Smartphones also work as music players and you can store thousands of songs conveniently on that small phone to listen to while you walk or work. You can usually plug your phone into you care stereo system and listen while you drive.

Since many people read eBooks these days, it also functions as your library in your pocket. Being able to access thousands of books, your music collection, a word processor, a still and video camera and a phone in your pocket is pretty darn convenient. A tablet or a smartphone will also allow you to watch television shows, movies and other videos on the go.


As for texting, if you can type an e-mail you can text. A text really is pretty much sending a brief e-mail to someone. Texts are generally shorter. And these days with smartphones that receive e-mail and texts, many people use them interchangeably.


I was originally a bit skeptical about texting myself, but there are times when it’s preferable to making a phone call. A phone call is a bit of a commitment. You end up stopping what you’re doing to talk to that person for however long the conversation lasts.  With a text you can send information quickly, but the person doesn’t have to respond to the text until they have the time.  It’s also convenient for cases where it might be too noisy to hold a phone conversation. Plus it allows you handle two or three conversations at once, an especially appealing feature to teenagers.

The other amazing thing about texting is that opens up communication for the hearing impaired or those unable to speak clearly. With no extra special equipment, the hearing impaired can now use a pocket to device to send and receive messages.  Compare that to those special devices that hook to the phone and require the person on the other end to have one.

You may not need any of these devices, but they certainly do come in handy.

In my final article, I’ll explain why mobile devices use touchscreens.

~ Cynthia


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2 Responses to “New Tech – Why Do I Need It? Part 2”

  1. Shanker says:

    Good Explanation Cynthia!

  2. Duane says:

    You can’t get any clearer in your explanation. I learned a whole lot.

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