With the advent of the iPhone a couple of years ago, so-called “smart phones” are starting to catch on in a big way. Smart phones have been around for a few years, but they’ve mostly consisted of rather clunky designs that didn’t have broad appeal to everyday cell phone users.
There are at least one hundred thousand applications (affectionately known as “apps”) just for the iPhone. Though many of the apps are rather silly and useless, a fair number of them are extremely clever and quite useful. In the U.S. of course the iPhone is still currently sold exclusively to operate on the AT&T cellular network. The iPhone has helped to popularize the concept of the smart phone by being a powerful, simple-to-use pocket computer.
Google is now competing with its own smart phone operating system known as “Google Android.” Google Android is an “open source” operating system, set up to operate on a wide variety of hardware from many different manufacturers, and able to operate on any cellular network.
Millions of smart phones have been sold, with many millions more to come in the future. As the smart phone concept takes over the cell phone market, it’s important to remember that these devices at their core are computers. As such, everything we know about desktop computers still applies.
If you are familiar with desktop computers, then you likely know that the software on it can vary rather widely in quality, sophistication and overall usefulness. Some of the applications can be quite useful, but to get maximum usefulness from a given piece of software it often requires intimate familiarity with various settings within the software. A given setting that works fine for a friend might not work so well for you, and vice versa.
No desktop computer is perfect, and no smart phone is perfect. They are all works in progress. Don’t expect the people at the phone store to know much about the devices they are selling. Do the research and familiarize yourself as much as possible. You will be rewarded by having a very powerful Internet-connected pocket computer that also happens to be a phone.
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