Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Phones--Smart and Smarter

I admit it. I'm totally attached to my smartphone. I bought my Google G-1 with Android back in November of 2008. The only reason I didn't go with the iPhone was because of the. . .ahem, rather "spotty" service experienced when traveling Back East. Well, I may live out West, but I travel Back East a lot. A heckuva lot. Not only on writing business but also to visit friends and family. So---spotty service just wouldn't cut it.

I found the Google phone satisfies all my smartphone desires + needs. I love its larger touch screen. It does all the "phone" things, plus has camera and video. I've used the camera mucho times, but not video yet. And while the iPhone has maybe a gazillion apps, the Google has mucho thousands. Face it, I'm not gonna use all those apps. I don't play games on my phone. But, I use a lot of other apps. Like expenses. During the holiday season there was actually an app Shopper Savvy which read barcodes and compared prices to nearby stores. And, one of my faves---the NYC Subway System Maps. Love it. I actually use that one as a mini street map to check where bookstores & cafes & even friends are located. I LOVE maps. I walk a LOT in New York. Plus, I love the pull out keyboard with raised keys which is so easy to use. And texting has become a way to stay in touch with all four of my daughters quickly and easily.

And I've grown addicted to having a Web browser right in my hand when I'm out and about, driving or traveling, whatever. And----I cannot tell you have many times the GPS has saved my butt when I'm traveling. One time, I was in the midst of WashDC traffic and on the way to a bookstore in suburban Maryland just across the DC line. I'm totally used to DC traffic since I grew up in Northern VA and drove all the time in DC. Still, rush hour is a royal pain. I'd already mapped out my route with mapQuest and was merrily driving along, looking for the street I needed to turn onto that would access the route into Maryland.

Suddenly, there it was. UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Yikes!. You have zero time to react in rush hour traffic, so I had to drive right past. Pulled out smartphone while I looked for parking lot to pull into and out of traffic. Found one, then punched up the Google GPS. When the map appeared, I just touched the button marked "My location." A blue circle appeared and voila! It finds you. No matter where you are. Once you're located, you can zoom in and actually read the street names of where you are. Then, by simply brushing your finger across the screen, the map moves to the adjoining streets, so you can find an alternate route. Easy. Only because I had a smartphone. I hadn't brought my laptop in my rental car. But my Google G-1 phone is ALWAYS with me. Well, not in the shower, I guess. Or, when working out. . .or, well, you get the picture.

Also, having the browser is a lifesaver. Last spring, I had to handle some business back in Colorado while in Northern VA for Malice Domestic and visiting relatives. I was in rental car driving in Fairfax, VA, and needed to fax some documents. I couldn't remember where the closest Kindo's was to my location. So many shopping centers in Fairfax. Sooooooo, I just opened Web browser on phone (after finding parking spot), brought up Google, and entered "Kinkos, Fairfax, VA." Well, you know Google. Not only did it bring up all the Kinkos in Fairfax, but it put little flags on them located on a map. And there was one only a few blocks from where I was at the time. Ya gotta love technology. At least I do.

Tell me, folks, have you succumbed to the smartphone revolution yet? Share your stories.