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.

18 comments:

Andrea C. said...

My phone is "smart", but not as smart as the droid. My hubby got the droid in November, and I have to admit it is pretty amazing! You're right Maggie, there are tons of fascinating apps. He has one where he scans the bar code of an item and browser then searches for the item, lists where to buy it and which is the cheapest price. This is pretty cool when you are in a store trying to decide if this is the best price! :)

Mason Canyon said...

I'm totally back in the dark ages. I haven't updated my phone in about 4 years. I can make phone calls and take photos with it. One of these days .....

Dru said...

The application that I mostly use on my phone keeps track of the food I eat and gives me calories for food in restaurant.

Maggie Sefton said...

Andrea---Yes! That's what I was talking about. It's the app called something lije Shopper Savvy. Not only does it scan the bar code when you're in the store, but it also checks w/GPS and finds stores in location which have that item in a lower price. Totally cool!

Mason Canyon---Take your time and look for deals. I'd been a subscriber to TMobile for years. They always treated me well and the coverage around country and Europe was excellent. When my latest contract ran out in 2007, I just waited and waited. They kept sending me ads. And the phone choices kept expanding. Finally, they sent me an offer on the smart phones at I price I couldn't resist. And the Web access fees are very reasonable. I've heard horror stories about some other phone fees.

Maggie Sefton said...

Dru---I've heard about that! You know, that's a good idea for ALL of us. Could keep us honest.

signlady217 said...

I don't have a cell phone. Trying to decide which I need more, phone or Kindle. Since we don't have kids, and I don't travel that much, the phone has not been necessary. Starting to think I might need one for when I'm out shopping and want to check with my mom about something. We'll see how the decision goes later this year.

Linda said...

I just have my Trac Phone that is only a phone, though it does have a camera too. Since I usually have my real camera with me, I have not used that feature on the phone yet. It seems like the new phone features just get better and better each year. And by what you've described Maggie, it sounds like it is very convenient and fun for you. I think I'll wait a few years to get one....by then the phone will not only give out directions, but will actually be able to drive my car for me....so I can spend the time reading more Cozy Chicks books as I commute!

Shel said...

Not only have I succumbed, I think I'm immersed! I'm on my second BlackBerry model. I started with a Curve, and loved it to pieces, but wanted more screen real estates for (what else?) reading. Yes, mobipocket reader, Kindle, BN, and Kobo apps ALL run on BlackBerry! So, I just got a BlackBerry Storm 2 - and I'm loving it even more than the Curve. My only concern about it was the touchscreen, but once I got it, I'm finding that I shouldn't have been so worried about it. So my BlackBerry has now completely replaced my mp3 player (sounds better than any stand alone player I ever had, and I love the media player interface), and it's become my on the go reader. I can get email, use GPS, I found myself looking up a map to see where a road we passed ends up at this weekend...I'm also now looking for a bluetooth stereo headset so I can use it both for music and calls. Yeah, I'm a techy gadget geek!

Vicki said...

I think if I traveled regularly, it would come in handy but since my phone is actually off most of the day, I will just be keeping it simple with a regular cell phone!

Mason Canyon said...

You're not going to believe this but today was the day I HAD to get a new phone. LOL. Shortly before noon I went to use my phone and there was only a white screen. I could use the voice command and answer the phone, but nothing else. I spent almost an hour in the Verizon store before I got a pretty good deal (Verizon is the only wireless service that works in the country here). I got a LG enV3 (I think). It has a lot of gadgets. One is now I can check my e-mail from my phone. Don't know that I'll be using all the other gadgets, but at least I can see the buttons and screen pretty good. :)

Guess this is a case of watch what you say.

Jan said...

I love the ability to connect to the internet in a pinch, like you did, for directions. I'm a little bit of a tech geek and love the latest and greatest gadgets. We even got my hubby a TomTom gps recently.

Maggie Sefton said...

sign lady--Sounds like you don't need to go to the extra of having a smartphone. A simple cell phone should work well. Wait for a sale.

Linda--Boy, don't we all wish something could drive that car for us. Wouldn't that be great? Sitting in the back, drinking tea/coffee, reading which "auto car" does the work. Cool. Wonder if we'll see it in another 20 years.

Shel---I hear you. We use them more and more. I didn't even mention checking email bec that's routine when on the road And music---ah, yes.

Maggie Sefton said...

Vicki---You're right. No need for the extra expense.

Mason Canyon--Wow! Were we right on target, or what? At least we gave you something to think about. Sounds like you've got a smartphone if you can check email on it.

Jan---I know what you mean. Our family were early adopters of all things Tech. We had the earliest Apple computers, and always tried out the new stuff right away. It's not only useful, it's fun. Enjoy your Tom Tom. My youngest daughter Maria who was abroad as an officer w/US Navy for 9 years, started using a Garmin GPS in her car years ago. She called hers "Linda." Linda was hilarious to listen to if you ignored her directions. There would be a pause then a slightly annoyed voice would say: "Recalculating!." Funny.

Jeanne C. said...

my son got a droid, and when it time for me to upgrade (in June) I am getting it also. I love it!

Maggie Sefton said...

Jeanne C.----I hear you. You are captivated by the amount of things you can do. You are hooked.

Lover of Books said...

I love my smart phone but I am envious of my hubby's Droid. I want one so bad. lol I am willing to change networks to get the phone I want even if that means dropping the home internet. Pathetic but you know. lol

My samsung that was my hubby's is great and I love using the wi-fi. Hubby has only downloaded apps that are free for the most part so that is nice. We'll see how soon I get one. lol

Krista

Maggie Sefton said...

I hear you, Krista. They're seductive as the daylights. I only download free apps, too. There are SO many available.

Sarah said...

That's so cool! I have a very basic phone but a smartphone sounds like a lot of fun and very practical :-)

Sarah