One of the key trends in wireless today is the adoption of the smartphone. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, one-third of all Americans own smartphones. Research firm Gartner expects U.S. sales of smartphones to grow from 67 million in 2010 to 95 million this year, becoming the highest-selling consumer electronics device category. So what’s driving this growing appeal of smartphones (even the E*TRADE Baby claims to have one). And, should you trade in your trusty basic phone for a smartphone?
Here are five key reasons to consider upgrading to a smartphone:
1. Simplify Your Life – Smartphones make our daily lives easier, offering a “one-stop shop” to help us stay organized (scheduling/calendars), access information (high-speed web-browsing), stay connected to friends and family (Twitter/Facebook), entertain ourselves (music, streaming video, gaming, digital camera), and, of course, make phone calls.
2. Access Helpful Apps (Tons of Them!) – With hundreds of thousands of apps, there’s an application for everyone – many of them free. Beyond Angry Birds, today’s smartphones provide access to innovative apps that can help you save money -- such as Gas Buddy to find the cheapest gas, Shop Savvy or Grocery IQ to help you manage coupons and find the lowest prices at your local grocery store. There are also apps to locate a lost cell phone and protect it from viruses (Mylookout.com), or process a credit card payment to your bank account (Squareup.com). Apps such as Evernote, which creates notes, snaps photos and records voice memos, and Shoeboxed, which tracks receipts and manages contacts on-the-go, help improve productivity. Also, GPS navigation apps can give you access to clear, turn-by-turn directions, up-to-date traffic reports, weather conditions, delays, and even directions to help find a great restaurant in your vicinity.
3. Improve Your User Experience – Larger screens, sharper displays, easy-to-use screen navigation prompts and advanced Internet surfing and e-mail features enable smartphones to provide an enhanced user experience over basic phones. Accessing your phone book contacts on many smartphones can be done with a swipe of the finger. The iPhone4 consistently receives high marks for ease-of-use and is a great choice for those looking to buy their first smartphone.
4. Create Your Personal Hotspot - Many of today’s smartphones offer “hotspot” capabilities that let you create a personal Wi-Fi area, enabling you to share your high-speed wireless data connection with up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices -- such as a tablet PC, gaming console e-reader or digital camera.
The value of owning a smartphone is crystal clear for entrepreneur Joel Frisch who operates ReadySetWork, one of Philadelphia’s fastest-growing start-up companies. “My smartphone keeps me connected. With my basic phone I was always accessible but now I am totally connected. I can respond to e-mails, look up information on the web, check in with users via social media, and access all of my personal financial accounts. As an entrepreneur who is always on the move, my smartphone let’s me take ‘my office’ with me on the go.
5. A wireless device is only as good as the network it’s on. In addition to offering more features and functionality than basic phones, today’s smartphones are powered by high-speed wireless networks, like Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE, that maximize the device’s capabilities. For example, Verizon’s 4G LTE service enables users to surf the web, download large files, stream music and video and share photos up to 10 times faster than they could with the company’s 3G wireless broadband service.
These advantages, which underscore the smartphone’s value as a device that can save you money by delivering the capabilities of several tech gadgets in one powerful mini-computer, are well worth considering if you’re thinking about taking the plunge and joining the smartphone revolution.
Harry Martin, an avid smartphone user, is Director of Advanced Wireless Data for Verizon Wireless in Philadelphia Tri-State Region. For more information on smartphones, visit www.verizonwireless.com/