Smartphones: A very special communication device

Smartphones: A very special communication device

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Smartphones: Why would you want to consider buying one and what to consider before purchasing.

Smartphones are hand-held communication devices that have evolved from mobile phones, but can do a wide range of tasks beyond what a phone is capable of. Over the last decade, the smartphone has become an intrinsic part of our lives or as some say, have taken over our lives. People everywhere and in every situation are using smartphones – less for conversation, and more for interaction with the world through different communication channels such as: Texting, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Viber, Tango, Twitter, Email, etc. One of the  most popular additions is the picture taking and sharing capabilities.

The market is currently flooded with a wide range of smartphone models that are suitable for all ages and all pockets, most of which provide a similar user experience. Smartphone manufacturers compete with each other to maintain prominence in the market by targeting different sectors of the population and their special requirements. For example, devices aimed for use by older people support strong screen lighting, large buttons and different accessibility options within the device. Some cheaper, damage-resistant models are targeted at children.

Once all the pros and cons of buying a smartphone have been considered, decisions need to be made regarding your personal preferences including size and color and then on to the more technical aspects including:

  • Operating system
  • Budget
  • Brand
  • Warranty and service

Smartphones  mainly run on one of two operating systems

  • iOS, developed by Apple and used in the iPhone
  • Android, developed by Google and used in smartphones, produced by a number of different companies, such as the Samsung Galaxy.

(Microsoft has developed the Lumia operating system for Nokia, but so far, it hasn’t enjoyed much success).

Besides being able to provide communication through voice, text and images, smartphones all feature special applications, called “Apps” which let the user do an enormous range of other activities including games, news, travel, music, GPS and just about anything you can think of that may interest you. Most Apps developed for one operating system are also supported by the other, which means that users of smartphones running different operating systems can communicate with each other using the same app. For example, you can download the Facebook app to your Android smartphone and post a message that can be read by iPhone users (so long as they also downloaded the same App).

In this article, we focus on the two main operating systems,  Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android systems.

Recommendation: Before buying a smartphone, it might be helpful to prepare a table in which you can compare the main features of each system, using the information in the following lists. Points for consideration include costs, the needs of the person who will be using the phone, what the phone will be used for, screen size and clarity, technical support, supported networks, etc.

 Apple’s iPhone 

1.  iPhone was given the highest customer satisfaction rating by J. D. Power  & Associates, the global marketing information services firm, in the categories of Operation, Design, Range of Options and Ease of Use.

2.  iPhone is considered an engineering feat of performance and design, “where every detail is the result of dedicated attention to detail.”

3. The quality of the screen display: iPhone is a pioneer in the field of super-resolution to the point where screen elements appear real; this feature characterizes the uniqueness of Apple products (iPhone 5 and up).

4. Long battery life: The iPhone battery provides eight hours of talk or mobile web browsing, or 10 hours of video playback. The battery is lightweight.]

5. Supports LTE network. Long Term Evolution (LTE) is a fast wireless network also referred to as fourth generation (4G).

6. High quality camera, which is easy to operate.

7. Applications and entertainment are from a trusted source: Applications, movies and TV shows can be downloaded directly to iPhone’s iTunes.

8. The iOS advanced mobile operating system includes many embedded system applications. The operating system is almost automatically updated every time Apple releases a new version.

9. Online storage: Option to access Apple’s iCloud where you can store your phone’s content, such as music, photos, apps, etc. All Apple users receive 5 GBs of free storage on iCloud.

10. Free communication between Apple devices: Users of Apple devices from 4G and up can create short video films and conduct video calls free of charge.

11. Find My Phone: Apple provides the user with a free service to find your phone in the event of loss or theft, using a unique application built into the operating system. Through this application, the iPhone owner can perform the following tasks remotely:

  • Remove all personal details from the phone
  • Lock the phone so it is inoperable
  • Make the phone emit a sound
  • Send a message to the person in possession of the phone

12. Apple Care, the name for Apple’s technical support service, is a toll-free phone support service you can subscribe to for a limited period on purchase of the device or shortly after.

13. The iPhone’s design is considered to be such a nice-looking device with clean, straight lines that it is often used by some users as a fashion accessory.

14. Apple undertakes maintenance and updates of iPhone apps for approximately three years.

15. iPhones have a high reliability rating and a relatively low percentage of failures. However, they are quite expensive, starting at a cost of $ 600.

16. IPhones allow the user to return all settings to their factory defaults without loss of data (assuming the data was backed up in the cloud or on the computer).

17. iPhones maintain their value on the second-hand market.

18. Touch Screen quality is of very high quality and responds to a gentle touch from the balls of your finger.

19. The user interface of the iPhone is easy and fun to use. The location of the buttons, the simplicity and speed with which the menu performs various tasks can turn the iPhone experience into a kind of game. New and inexperienced users can quickly and easily learn to use the iPhone’s most basic features without the need to refer to a user guide.

20. The market is full of accessories to complement the iPhone experience. You can find, for example, cases, docking stations with speakers, car kits and many more. Summary: The iPhone is a cool, magnificent gadget, smart, nice-looking and fun to play around with. There are not many products that people line up to buy,  days and nights before the launch of a new version.

Smartphones running Android

1.  There is a wide and diverse selection of smartphones running Android, allowing the user to choose the phone most suited to him in terms of price, size, weight and more.

2. Manufacturers invest major efforts to develop attractive and technologically advanced devices.

3. There is a large selection of different screens with regard to size and quality. You can find high resolution (HD) screens as well as normal screens for regular use.

4. Most devices support a battery that lasts for a day of normal use. The life of a battery is greatly influenced by the size of the screen; the larger and brighter the screen, the quicker the battery consumption.

5. Supports LTE network. Long Term Evolution (LTE) is a fast wireless network also referred to as fourth generation (4G). It is important to note that the 4G is not supported in every area.

6. Most devices combine high quality cameras that are easy to operate and compare favorably with the iPhone’s camera.

7. Android smartphones support downloading applications from the internet from many sources and from the Google store, sometimes for a fee.

8. Although Android devices are sharing a common operating system, there might be differences in the way each manufacturer installs the system in the phone. In addition, manufacturers install their own unique applications in the phone. The Android system is updated periodically but the update does not occur automatically because there is no way of ensuring that the update is compatible with the phone model.

9. Android users can use Google’s cloud to back up their data.

10. Communication between different Android devices is supported. Android users can chat for free using various applications (the applications are not built-in but need to be downloaded, usually at no cost).

11. It is now possible to search for your phone remotely. Google operates the Android Device Manager, a service that can locate a device remotely in the event of loss or theft.

12. Google does not currently provide technical support, although it might do so at some time in the future. In the meantime, technical support is available from device vendors and service providers.

13. Android devices are designed by different manufacturing companies, and competition to find ways to coax the consumer to buy their product is fierce. The design challenge is no less important and challenging than the technological aspects of the device.

14.Software updates and upgrades are carried out according to need or identifying problems created by users. However, the user is responsible for ensuring that the device he buys will support updated versions of Android. In this case, manufacturers do not provide any warranty.

15. It is difficult to provide an assessment of the cost and reliability of Android devices because they are produced by so many different companies. You can purchase an Android smartphone for as little as $100. To find the device that best suits your pocketbook and requirements, it is worthwhile browsing websites and going into forums dedicated to the subject.

16. Most Android devices allow the user to return all settings to their factory defaults without loss of data (assuming the data was backed up in the cloud or on the computer).

17. The second-hand market for Android phones depends on the  brand and model. Only top-of-the-line brands, such as Samsung, maintain their value in the second-hand market.

18 Touch Screen quality varies with the model of phone. Before purchasing an Android phone, it is recommended that you check how well the screen responds to a gentle tap. It is worthwhile spending some time visiting websites and  getting recommendations from forums on the screen performance of specific devices.

19. The user interface is easy and convenient and is designed for all ages from young children to those of more mature years. Like every other interface, it will take a while to learn how to use it. Phone manufacturers add a Help guide to the system that is specific to their brand, which is useful if transitioning from one Android phone to another, where the mode of operation can be slightly different.

20. Manufacturers offer a variety of accessories to Android users to complement the experience of using their device. However, frequently, the accessories are in short supply or cannot be found at all.

Summary: The Android smartphone is an attractive gadget for users who do not want to be dependent on one company, do not want to spend too much money and who prefer having the option of choosing a phone that suits their unique requirements.  

Bottom Line: The smartphone market consists of many possibilities within the iOS and Android systems. Prior to purchase the user needs to consider the main parameters in order to reach a wise decision. Whichever phone one gets, it is a good idea to try to find a current user of each system in your age and skills range with whom you can discuss their experience learning to use the phone.

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