Get me started on smartphones... I know nothing!

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    49

    Get me started on smartphones... I know nothing!

    Hi all,
    I consider myself pretty "techy" when it comes to computers, but phone gadgetry and hookups are pretty foreign to me. I've always just used phones for texting and calling, and I'm kind of overwhelmed by how much work it sounds like one must put in to having a smartphone. I am a fan of Google and after the kinks in NexusOne get worked out I would consider getting one. However, people talk about it as a "platform" phone where you can customize to your heart's content -- is this more trouble than it's worth? Is your typical smartphone still somewhat usable directly out of the box?

    I read a rumour that iPhone/Apple were considering taking gmail, google maps, etc., off their iPhones. Is this even possible? It would be a deal-breaker for me, especially as the only applications I can see myself using would be google maps and gmail.

    The other problem: I don't know anything, like anything, about the various networks, lingo, etc. I don't even really know what a SIM card does. What is 3G? How does WiFi relate to phones? If I get an unlocked NexusOne, should I keep my Vodafone contract, and how would that work? How much data is a reasonable amount if you might be checking your email once a day for a few minutes?

    I have been reading/watching reviews, here and elsewhere, of the NexusOne and its comparison with the iPhone, but what I need is a lot more basic ...

    If there's a "going from regular phones to fancy phones for dummies" website or you just want to help me out, it'd be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    GM


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Gold Coast Marina
    Posts
    17,954

    If you are really a dummy, get an iphone. If you use a mac, it's a nobrainer. If you don't use a mac, it's still a good idea. They are about the simplest phone to use "out of the box". You put in the SIM (small card that is the 'telecom' bit of the setup) and turn it on and it works. You connect it to your computer and connect to the apple store via itunes (You'd have to download itunes if not a mac) and you can download any other applications you like.

    Setting it up is easy. It "knows" how to set up gmail and other popular mail programs - you just tell it your gmail name and password, and it does the rest for you.

    It has a browser (safari, much better than IE) which currently uses google as the default search engine. IF they take google off and use bing, nothing to stop you just changing it back again manually.

    It has all sorts of other cool applications - just look at the store and buy the ones you want or get them free. EG yahoo messanger and skype (free); chinese dictionary (various free ones) etc etc.

    RE 3G and wifi. 3G is the type of phone connection you have. You can buy a slow connection (2G or GPRS or EDGE, various different names) or a fast connection (3G, 3.5G in some places). Faster is more expensive - you decide. 2G is like dial-up speeds. 3G is slowish broadband speed.

    Wifi is different again. Wifi is a radio signal generated by a "hotspot" - somebody sending out a signal. NOT necessarily a phone company. Wifi is free or paid for depending on what you find. I, for example, am sitting in a cathay lounge currently surfing on its free wifi. However, in a pacific coffee shop in HK, I can see PCCW and connect to it with a credit card (or get a plan with them). Wifi can be very fast (faster than 3G) or appallingly slow depending on the hotspot. It's an alternative to using the phone.

    So - you can get away without a phone dataplan and ONLY use wifi (but you will limited to where you can use your phone). You can get a slow data plan or a fast data plan. You can still use wifi with any phone plan (so if you have a normal voice plan with expensive 'ad hoc' data and a good place for wifi, it can work out ok provided you only do big downloads on the wifi!).

    Hope this helps.

    The stuff about telecoms and wifi is generic to all types of smartphone, not just iphone, by the way.

    Last edited by MovingIn07; 26-01-2010 at 05:01 PM.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    3,683
    Quote Originally Posted by gatormama:
    Is your typical smartphone still somewhat usable directly out of the box?
    Most will be.

    I read a rumour that iPhone/Apple were considering taking gmail, google maps, etc., off their iPhones. Is this even possible?
    That's possible.

    It would be a deal-breaker for me, especially as the only applications I can see myself using would be google maps and gmail.
    With more than 100,000 (!) applications to chose from in the App Store (plus thousands of unofficial ones) I would be surprised if you would just use those two.

    The other problem: I don't know anything, like anything, about the various networks, lingo, etc. I don't even really know what a SIM card does.
    It's your "access card" to the phone network; in simple terms it authenticates your phone to use the network.

    If you have a Vodafone contract you should already have a SIM, just take it out from the old phone, put it into the new one and you can make phone calls (your phone number stays the same of course) unless the new phone is locked to another operator's network (check before buying!).

    What is 3G?
    3rd generation network, aka UMTS, which is the successor to GSM (aka 2G). In simple terms 3G combines voice and data, and the speed is faster than GSM (with GPRS or EDGE).

    How does WiFi relate to phones?
    It's an option but virtually all smart phones have it; it allows you to surf the net, read email etc. without using your phone operator's network.

    If there's a "going from regular phones to fancy phones for dummies" website or you just want to help me out, it'd be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
    A smart phone is still a phone, so don't worry too much; many things are optional that you can learn over time while already using the basic functions of the phone.

    Quote Originally Posted by MovingIn07:
    If you are really a dummy, get an iphone. If you use a mac, it's a nobrainer. If you don't use a mac, it's still a good idea. They are about the simplest phone to use "out of the box". You put in the SIM (small card that is the 'telecom' bit of the setup) and turn it on and it works. You connect it to your computer and connect to the apple store via itunes (You'd have to download itunes if not a mac) and you can download any other applications you like.
    If you have a Wifi connection then there is no need for a PC (and iTunes), just go directly to the App Store using the icon on the iPhone.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    49

    awesome, awesome. thanks muchly.