It may be known by different names – smart-phone, handheld organizer, BlackBerry (or CrackBerry), Palm Pilot, PDA, iPhone or iTouch, to name but a few – but no matter what you call it, a smartphone can be an invaluable tool to help manage your life.
Smart-phone’s can help you with everything from writing a novel to storing a client database, capturing and showing photos or video, performing extremely complex calculations, maintaining an address book, storing recipes, prioritizing daily tasks, sending and receiving emails, surfing the Internet, playing games, reading a book, relaxing to some music, or tracking your extremely busy schedule, and so much more.
These super-powerful, cell phone/mini-computers that fit into a purse or a shirt pocket can be synced to a desktop or laptop computer and have become very popular. Nowadays it’s even common to have your mp3 player, cell phone, PDA and camera all come in one small package.
Once you’ve decided that you’ve just got to have a smart-phone, answering the following questions will help you purchase the model that’s just right for you.
1. What will be the smart-phone’s primary function? Will you be using it most often as a phone, or for keeping up with your email and keeping you on schedule with a synced calendar? Do you need to text your family about what time you’ll be home, or add tweets to your account with your phone? There are even smart-phones that can morph into GPS devices when you need directions.
2. What will be the secondary use for the PDA? The features you would like to have, but aren’t really necessities. Having mobile video clips available for potential clients to view during your meeting with them might be impressive but not 100% necessary.
3. What cell phone service provider and plan do you have, and are you willing to switch or add a new line with a different provider if necessary? Some providers give great deals on voice only, but if you want to add texting or data to the plan it becomes unreasonable.
4. Once you know how you plan on using the phone most of the time, it will be easier to find the right service provider. Once you have narrowed down the services you need, take a look at the phones that each of them offer and compare side by side. The internet is a great way to do this, or Best Buy or Care Toys represent most major brands in their stores.
5. What computer are you planning on syncing your calendar and other data with? There are some compatibilities issues here so you need to look at this before you buy. If you need to sync with a Mac, buying a Pocket PC smart-phone that runs Windows CE will make it difficult to sync directly with your computer.
6. Consider your hands-free needs. How good is the speakerphone? Is it clear and easy to hear? Nearly every smartphone these days supports BlueTooth for hands-free devices, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check.
7. Are you willing to buy an extra expansion card to add data storage space to your smart-phone? Some smart-phones and PDA have a lot of built in storage and some barely have enough to store your address book without running out of space.
Let’s face it. While there is certainly an impressive coolness factor in hauling around the latest and greatest gadgets, each smart-phone is different and has different strengths and weaknesses and your new smart-phone needs to fit your needs.
Happy smart-phone shopping!