We’ve all seen it from teenagers, and even some adults, with their faces glued to their cell phones. Whether they’re at work, at school, or at a family function, these people (you know who you are!) are always slouched over their darned smartphones, and they are looking at their social media, playing games, browsing the internet, checking their email, and who knows what else. They’ve become smartphone zombies. Nothing you say or do can take them away from their smartphone, even when they’re at work, and you think to yourself, what is so special about these devices that make people ignore everything around them?
If you’re new to technology, then you’re probably wondering what these people are always glued to. These devices are not mind control devices made by the government to control simple minded folk. They are not made from ancient aliens to zombify the human race and prepare for world domination. They are just mobile devices, known as smartphones, that are mostly made in Asia!
So what is a smartphone? A smartphone is a cellular phone that performs similar functions to a computer such as having a touchscreen interface, internet access, and an operating system capable of running downloaded programs. What makes them smart? They can do the same thing as normal cell phones, such as dial and receive phone calls and use text messages, but they can do a lot more!
Smartphones are basically the modern utility knives of electronics. They are a great alternative to buying a computer, a camera, a GPS, and paying extra on your cable bill for a phone line. If you need to make calls, take high definition photos, use a GPS, and use the internet, then a smartphone has everything that you will ever need!
Companies have been improving their designs and are coming out with a new model nearly every year. Each new model comes with more features such as more computing power and memory, higher resolution cameras, better displays, and more apps. Let’s go over some of their features to give you a better idea of what people are gluing themselves to.
Smartphone display resolutions are getting better with each model. Today’s new smartphones should come with a display resolution of 1080p. As a comparison, older models started using a display resolution of 480p, which is 3x less resolution than 1080p. Any model with a resolution of 720p or higher is good enough. However, if the resolution is expressed in pixel density, look for 300 ppi or higher.
Keyboard & Messaging
All smartphones come with a QWERTY keyboard. This means that the keys are laid out in the same manner they would be on your computer keyboard. The keyboard will either have physical keys that you can type on or have a touchscreen keyboard.
All smartphones can also send and receive text messages, and some have their own unique messaging system. A smartphone can also sync your various e-mail accounts and will alert you when you receive a new email, which is great when you get tired of having to go back online to see if someone emailed you yet. Other messaging systems include access to the popular instant messaging services such as AOL’s AIM and Yahoo! Messenger.
Touchscreen displays allow you to zoom in and out of web pages or photos by pinching or spreading your fingers, which supposed to be faster than pressing a button. If you’re not used to having a touchscreen, then it might take some practice. Some models actually let you write on the screen with your finger, and some models are easier and more sensitive than others. Some smartphones also come with a touch-free feature, which allows you to accept an incoming call, check your text messages, or flip through your photos by waving your hand in front of the phone.
Most smartphones also come with a voice command feature. This feature lets you make phone calls by saying the contact name or by saying the number. It can also transcribe what you say into text for messages or browser searches, which is great when you are having a manicure done, not that I would know. Transcription accuracy has improved over the years, but it’s still not perfect. Another type of voice command is an intelligent personal assistant, such as Siri, Cortona, and Google Now. They can answer your questions, make recommendations, and perform actions when you enter a voice command.
Smartphones with built-in Wi-Fi are able to connect to the internet through open wireless networks. Wi-Fi is just another term for wireless internet (instead of having to plug in your smartphone with an ethernet cable, which would defeat the purpose of a mobile phone). Wi-Fi can be used for browsing the web and checking your email, transfer files from your phone to other wireless devices, print files and photos to a wireless printer, and even share content with HDTVs and portable devices.
Most smartphones have built in cameras that have a resolution of at least 8 megapixels, and they also allow you to record high-definition videos. This is due to improving image sensors, higher-grade lenses, and features such as auto focus, zoom, and brightness controls. While smartphone cameras are not as good as the high quality digital cameras, they do have some advantages. Their built-in wireless connection allows you to upload and share your photos and videos. They also have downloadable apps with photo editing software that can improve your photos by allowing you to edit them.
Each smartphone offers different amounts of storage space (device memory). For example, my smartphone came with 16GB of memory storage, which might sound like a lot, but after you download multiple applications, take tons of photos, and numerous updates, the 16GB of memory isn’t enough. However, you can buy a separate SD card, which will increase your storage space on your smartphone, depending upon which SD card you buy.
If you do buy an SD card, make sure you buy one that is compatible with your phone! An SD card functions like a memory stick for a computer and can expand your storage space up to 128GB, which would be more than enough for me, but if you take thousands of photos or download tons of large applications, then you might want to get something bigger.
Bluetooth is a technology that enables the phone to connect with smartwatches, tablets, wireless headsets, and car systems. Many phones support stereo Bluetooth headsets for music and other multimedia. They can also wirelessly exchange pictures, contacts, and other files with other compatible Bluetooth devices.
If you’ve never been lost, then you probably won’t care about this feature. However, if you’re the type of person that can’t find your way around your own city, then you should love this feature! The built in GPS (Global Positioning System) functions the same way as an expensive GPS you see on the market. You can download apps, such as Waze and Voyager, that give you updated traffic warnings and alternative routes.
Accessories & Apps
There’s a ton of different things you can buy for your smartphone. You can connect your fitbit and other electronic devices, such as wireless printers, headsets, and cell phone chargers, to your smartphone. You can buy a cellular signal booster to increase your cell phone’s coverage, a portable Bluetooth speaker to listen to music, a Bluetooth headset to be able to have phone calls without having to hold your phone, which is great if you’re constantly oscar mike (on the move).
Why stop with accessories when you can download apps? What’s a mobile app? A mobile app is a computer program designed to run on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. Most such devices are sold with several apps bundled as pre-installed software, such as a web browser, email client, calendar, mapping program, and an app for buying music or other media or more apps. You can literally download an app for anything. If you’ve ever heard of the expression, there’s an app for that, then you probably understand that there are endless possibilities to using apps. Some of the most popular apps are Facebook, YouTube, Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, Instagram, and Apple Music.
Let’s Hear From You!
Are you a smartphone zombie? Are you constantly glued to your smartphone at work, school, and/or at every family function? What makes you glue yourself to these devices known as smartphones? What features do you enjoy the most? Is it because you enjoy being able to browse the internet almost anywhere? The fact that you can take high quality photos of your friends, family, etc.? Being able to play games or the ability to download almost any app? What about the GPS? I love being able to navigate anywhere without having to buy an expensive GPS!
Which smartphones have you used? Which brand do you think is the best? I’ve only used the Samsung Galaxy S5, which has worked well for me. I remember the first time I switched from the old school flip phone to my smartphone. What a difference! It makes a lot of things easier such as searching for information, store locations, checking your email, and using the GPS to find your way out of traffic! It’s extremely convenient. What do you think?