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Is Your Smartphone Smart Enough?

Posted December 07, 2011 7:35 AM

Once upon a time, your gadget arsenal included a camera, a laptop, an appointment book, a GPS and other such accoutrements in addition to your cellphone. If you believe all the marketing hype, today's smartphones can replace them all. But do they do the job as well? Which standalone devices do you still rely on? Why? Does your smartphone purport to provide the same functions? How well does it deliver on those promises? How easily can you take advantage of its sophisticated extra features? And — often neglected — how well does it work when you need a phone?

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Re: Is Your Smartphone Smart Enough?

12/07/2011 10:51 PM

The problem of replacing all one's toys with a single device is that, the rule of the game is, "He who has the most toys in the end, wins." If you have only one, all-in-one toy, you automatically lose...


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Re: Is Your Smartphone Smart Enough?

12/08/2011 10:38 AM

But it's easier to take it all with you when you "go"....


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Re: Is Your Smartphone Smart Enough?

04/05/2012 10:33 PM

I can't agree more. My Samsung Galaxy has been back at the factory for repair for over a week and that sure impresses me as to how important those items are.

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Re: Is Your Smartphone Smart Enough?

04/10/2012 5:54 PM

Samsung Galaxy what? Nexus? S? What issues do you keep having?

I use my smartphone (Galaxy Nexus on Verizon) for email, texting, GPS, short note taking, streaming music, learning a foreign language, camera, gaming, and tethering my laptop or tablet to 4G data when I'm not around wifi.

You can argue that the camera is not as good as a standalone point and shoot, let alone an SLR. But when you find yourself in a situation where it's important to take a picture, you can own the best camera in the world but it's useless to you if you don't have it on you. My point is that the camera on my phone gets used more because it's simply on me most of the time.

There are an abundance of great tools available out there for learning another language. Android devices with GPS chips have navigation built into the OS for free, updating automatically.

The only thing that I don't think smartphones will ever replace, or at least for a very long time, is good note taking. Drawing or writing on a phone/tablet has never worked for me. It's always very awkward because in most instances you can't rest your hand on the screen since it's touch sensitive. Even if you could, it just doesn't feel natural. I was fine with going from a full keyboard to a BlackBerry keyboard. I was then fine with going from a BlackBerry keyboard to an onscreen keyboard using Swype. But I just don't think I'll ever be able to make the changes needed in order to make writing on a phone or a tablet feel natural. It's always so sloppy and big it's illegible. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but I would like to see improvements made in the way we 'write' on tablets.

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Re: Is Your Smartphone Smart Enough?

12/08/2011 5:52 PM

if one breaks they are all going to need to be replaced.

personally I would rather have a phone that is only a phone. I have large hands. The buttons on most phones, especially smart phones are a pain to use. Yes, I have looked into them. My kids want me to have one. I see no need to pay for services that I seldom use. My time is important to me. I see way too many young people spending hours looking at their smart phone instead of the world around them.

I work at a college. I am around young people daily. From my point of view way too many of them have their noses stuck in the phone instead of being aware of their surroundings or even studying.

My laptop does everything but GPS, so a separate GPS would be the way to go if I wanted a GPS. I am not much of a picture taker and I never review the photographs, both paper and digital, I do have so the camera part is of much less importance to me. The built in camera on my laptop serves good enough for my needs.

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Re: Is Your Smartphone Smart Enough?

12/10/2011 2:57 PM

Most smartphones can do some things sort of OK. But if you want to take decent photos in anything less than good light, revert back to a proper camera (ditto if you want a powerful zoom). And over here, you can play your ipod on the plane, but you're not allowed to switch on a phone, even in flight mode. It is also a fairly useless e-mail system, apart from the most basic of short e-mails, so a laptop remains. It has however, in conjunction with my laptop, completely replaced my paper diary a few years ago already. As for the GPS, I still use a standalone GPS, nicely mounted on the windscreen. That way, I only loose the GPS in a smash-and-grab, and I can "lend" it to my wife when she needs it. (BTW, voice recognition for voice dialling for Afrikaans & iziZulu names are hilariously useless on my BB!) As for apps, I have some news-type apps, but still buy some paper versions, as I'm the old-fashioned type that likes reading more in-depth articles. But there is nothing that comes close to reading a few short, interesting articles when the compulsory meeting gets too boring!

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Re: Is Your Smartphone Smart Enough?

12/15/2011 7:41 AM

No, my phone can never replace my PC. There are several reasons:

A) Not powerful enough; not enough storage

B) Screen is WAY too small

C) Battery lasts about 1/2 a day

Oh my little Android tries to keep up with the big boys with all it's cute little screens and gadgets, and the promise of awesome global capabilities, but in the end, I still need my PC for any serious work I do. My smart phone just can't handle the critical duties, such as contract drafting, easy communication, multitasking in a manner that's easy for me to deal with, but some of that may be because I'm 'old school' and like to have complete control over all of my data, have on-the-spot printing, and other features that a smart phone doesn't provide.

For me, a 'smart' phone is little more than a gadgety toy and a simple communication device, rather than the be-all / end-all of powerful IT tools.

That said, I'm a proponent of proposing solutions rather than just complaining about the status quo. I'd say that if there were cloud computing options where I could keep mega-data between my PC and smart phone and 'data stations' (think gas stations) at regular intervals, globally, like in an Office Depot, Wal-Mart or even convenience stores where I could pop in and print if needed. THAT would make it smart technology in my book. Yes, still dreaming of the day when in our homes we can ask, "Computer, what's the weather today?" and actually get an answer or in our cars, "Computer, take me to X destination." where we'd sit back and read the newspaper while being taken effortlessly to our desired event / location.

It's the 21st century and have we really gotten any further than our predecessors other than having replaced letters with phones, word of mouth with TV and horses with cars? Where's the imagination? Where's the exploration into truly smart things?

But that's just my 2 cents.

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