Living with a smart phone!

Or should that be a dumb phone?

Along with Blackberry’s recent major outage, (which by the way did save lives) I began to wonder, do we expect too much of our technology? Will it ever really replace the older technology (computers, pen / paper etc.)?

Smart phone collectionSo the first question is, what exactly is a ‘smart’ phone? According to Wikipedia, it should combine the functions of a personal digital assistant (PDA) with a mobile phone, and today is expected to also add in features such as a camera, media player, internet browser, GPS navigation and mobile broadband.

Obviously it’s prime job should be to make calls and receive them, yet that seems to be one of the failings of many ‘smart’ phones, including Apple iPhone, HTC Desire, HD7, among others, to the extent that Dilbert  made mockery of them.

HTC HD7My particular recent experience is with a Windows 7 HTC. It has some fabulous features, but is not really a business grade tool. No SMS backup, contacts only sync with hotmail, maps not on phone but only available if data connection available and many other sections of the system are useless without a data connection. Great until you go abroad and turn off data roaming to keep money in your pocket. (over £3 per MB).

Should have got an Apple I hear you say? As one BBC reporter commented when abroad with his iPhone “So I turned off data roaming – and immediately found that what I was left with was a not very smart phone.”

So, smart phones are not so smart, perhaps they are just smart portals to a smarter internet. Using one abroad is an expensive trip. So will they ever replace computers? With a full size keyboard and bigger screen, I would rather type on my laptop than on my smart phone. So the solution might be voice to text. Hmm…… iPhone5 and Windows new Mango update have this feature. But guess what, it needs data access to work!

Do we expect too much of technology? Absolutely, and why not! The media have been Transparent Phonetelling us new horizons are just round the corner, Intel among others tell us technology is the future and will solve all mankinds problems. Technology is in fact amazing, I love playing with the toys, sorry tools of my trade. What we can do is changing the way we think, especially with respect to business. (http://communication.howstuffworks.com/technology-changed-business.htm) I can send emails and talk to people when out of office as though I am in the office.

Where I am physically is no longer important. Thanks Technology. Internet orders, automatic responses to say order processed, same to say order despatched. Thanks technology, you are more in touch with me than some human interfaces!

Mobile phone technology, brilliant. My first phone was a Motorola brick with a pull up Motorola flipaerial. I was forever leaving at my customers because it would not fit in my pocket. Now? I fit it in my top pocket and I’m forever having it fall on the floor when I bend over! Hmm, at least I know I haven’t left it behind!

So, back to smart phones. I would like my phone to be fully voice controlled without internet access, to be usable in replacing all communication features of the PC / notebook range of devices, not just half heartedly implementing some features. and to pick up the time automatically in the UK like it does in the rest of the world!  What do you want yours to do be truly earn it the nickname ‘smart’?

Kens handy phone hints:-

To save battery:

  • turn screen colours to dark
  • turn off bluetooth
  • turn off Wi~fi when not in use
  • turn on screen saver

To save money:

  • turn off data roaming when abroad.
  • keep a check on your data usage
  • set data checks (email / twitter etc. updates) to once an hour
  • review your contract periodically

Use someone elses phone!

When buying:

  • Make a list of features you NEED.
  • If travelling abroad then check what features work when data turned off.
  • Don’t be swayed by the advertising, go look at each phone in a shop and try the keyboard, try reading the screen, does the text size suit you. Could you read it in a moving car?
  • and the big question, do you really, REALLY need that smart phone?

KTS Computers Ltd don’t sell phones, but we will ensure that they work with your current IT configuration. Phone or email us now for unbiased advice 01480 469019.

You can also send us a question on Twitter    @Ask_Ken

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4 Responses to Living with a smart phone!

  1. Neil says:

    Great post Ken and we all have left phones behind and had them slide out of our pocket and mutter a frustrated expletive! Phones are only as good as what you can get out of them and we are still a way off the all singing / dancing “ultraphone” or a laptop as I think it’s called?
    My issue is phone security. If you are carrying sensetive data on your phone and it gets lost or worse hacked, you are liable for the data on it, wherever and with whoever it ends up. And as you rightly say, the backup on a phone is limited and doesn’t secure your data.

  2. Ken Seymour says:

    You are quite right Neil, now it’s possible to edit word, excle etc. documents on phone, copy files to phone and use it as a flash drive, along with the whole customer database of contacts, security becomes a major issue.
    I will talk further about this in a future post, but thankfully most phone systems allow for the option of wiping your phone if it’s stolen. Great, security if stolen solved, but where is the backup?
    By the way, if phone stolen, what website or person do you need to contact to get the phone wiped of data? Ahh, that’s right, I left the contact details on my phone……
    I suspect this is where you come in, all important contact information needed in case of disaster (including stolen phones) should be securely centrally stored. I’d personally recomend with The Safe Box.

  3. Many thanks for an informative and entertaining post, Ken. The battery-saving tips will be handy, and next time I am tempted by an upgrade (I’m an iPhone 4 user) those closing words will echo in my head. Do I really, really need this upgrade?

  4. Alisha Ross says:

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