Do I really need a Smartphone?

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Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:39 am

I've always had a basic cellphone to make phone calls. I've also got a laptop and a Verizon wireless broadband hotspot. Thinking about a new phone and was looking at some Smartphones at BestBuy. Most of things look like small tablet computers. I'm wondering if I really need a Smartphone. What do people do with these things that they can't live without? You can do all the internet stuff you need on a laptop or a tablet. Aren't smartphones just a toy for people who don't need them for their work?
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby stoptothink » Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:15 am

Browser wrote: Aren't smartphones just a toy for people who don't need them for their work?


I do know people for whom a smartphone is very useful (ie. my GF who is a corporate event planner and travels 40+ weeks a year), but for most IMO it is a toy. I am the only member of the board of my organization who does not have a company-provided smartphone and tablet, I told our VP that it was a waste of resources; if I'm not already on a computer, call me on my non-smartphone and I bet I can get to one in 5sec to accomplish whatever task the smartphone is useful for. Most people I know spend far more time playing games on them then doing anything functional.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby jane1 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:13 am

I too resisted Smartphone for a while thinking it will not be very useful. Once you have it, you start finding more & more uses of it. And ultimately you wonder how you managed without it.

Even for a leisure user
Maps & Navigation
Ease of texting / typing
Decent camera & Video recorder at all times handy + ease of sending photo/scan quickly
Good user interface for contact list for phone calls
Good Calendar interface
Smart Alarm clock
Occasional searches for businesses (nearby restaurants, gas stations, stores, etc)
Online check deposit/banking app (take photo & attach)
Tracking hikes/runs via specialized apps (accelerometer)
Gas price comparison
Comparison shopping
Voice activated searches/input
Holder for reference docs on the go (list of Loyalty #s, some PDFs)
e-Coupons (w/o need to print), Groupons
And for lots of people email, twitter, facebook, skype on the go ...
List just goes on...

Unless you have a strong reason to not move to a smartphone, give it a try. More and more things will go mobile and you might start feeling out of touch very soon.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Mudpuppy » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:16 am

If you don't feel you need a smartphone, look over in the non-contract phone aisle. You'll find basic phones over there and probably a better deal unless you need a lot of minutes.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby likegarden » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:25 am

We only have simple Trac phones, one in each car, turned off, for emergencies only. We are not the gabbing kind of people. I agree some people need cell phones for work, but I as a lead engineer never needed a cell phone at work. Think about what all those people did in the past, they had no cell phones and were living good lives. Look for peace! We spend many hours every day surfing the internet, that's enough.
We are looking to buy a new car right now. Some of those should not be permitted to be driven, have too many gadgets in it which will be used while driving, will distract people while driving and will cause accidents with lost lives! It is strange that it is not permitted by law to use a hand-held cell phone while driving, and then cars are sold with complex entertainment centers for the driver.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Ice-9 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:33 am

I'm in complete agreement with Jane1's list above, and wanted to add to it:
* Dropbox for PDF or DOC files you might need/want to look at when you're on the go
* Evernote for taking notes, shopping lists, getting an idea down while it's in your head
* CapitalOne 360 app (formerly ING Direct) to deposit checks by simply taking a photo
(that's the only financial app I choose to put on my phone and I log out each time; others love the Mint app, etc, but I feel I can wait until I get to a computer to check financial transactions,etc)
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby KyleAAA » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:45 am

Nobody NEEDS a smartphone.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby matjen » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:51 am

This all depends on the definition of "need." In the ultimate sense of course the answer is no. You also likely don't need a car or shelter larger than 500 sq. feet or a TV or a Radio. The basic truth here though is that these things have exploded in popularity and there is a reason for that. They are incredibly useful. Do you know anyone who had one and went back to the old style of phone who isn't >70? I don't. Digital Equipment's CEO scoffed at the idea that people would need/want computers in their homes... Digital Equipment is no more.
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby HardKnocker » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:58 am

"Do I really need a Smartphone?"

No
“Gold gets dug out of the ground, then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility.”--Warren Buffett
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Sidney » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:01 am

Browser wrote:I've always had a basic cellphone to make phone calls. I've also got a laptop and a Verizon wireless broadband hotspot. Thinking about a new phone and was looking at some Smartphones at BestBuy. Most of things look like small tablet computers. I'm wondering if I really need a Smartphone. What do people do with these things that they can't live without? You can do all the internet stuff you need on a laptop or a tablet. Aren't smartphones just a toy for people who don't need them for their work?

In my area, the minimum cost per month for a smartphone that works is about $100 per month. So the question isn't about need but value.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Igglesman » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:04 am

If you own a Smartphone, you no longer need:
- a standalone MP3 player
- a standalone GPS
- a point and shoot camera
- an encyclopedia
- a radio
- an alarm clock

You can buy one and just use for above with out getting a phone plan..(use just wifi).
BTW, I still have the 25 buck a month all I can use plan from Virgin Mobile (now $35 for new customers).
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby The Wizard » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:19 am

Igglesman wrote:If you own a Smartphone, you no longer need:
- a standalone MP3 player
- a standalone GPS
- a point and shoot camera
- an encyclopedia

You can buy one and just use for above with out getting a phone plan..(use just wifi).
BTW, I still have the 25 buck a month all I can use plan from Virgin Mobile (now $35 for new customers).

I'm retired and even when working, my Droid wasn't really work-related (perhaps commute-related).
Part of the fun of being rich is being able to have more toys, yes.
Droid allows me to do crossword puzzles, monitor traffic conditions on the road, and monitor weather radar to determine whether to put convertible top down or not.
Without my smartphone, I'd just be a drone and what fun would that be?
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby bourg » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:25 am

For personal use? Up to you. Do you need a TV? Do you need a swing in the backyard? If you want it, if you can afford it, if you think you'll use it, buy it.

For business use? Absolutely you need one or you'll fall behind. Remember there is always someone younger and hungrier (and often smarter) than you willing to leverage technology to make them more efficient.

Scenario: You in a meeting in the conference room discussing a client.

You: ...and that concludes my report.
Boss: Excellent work. I know you didn't include it in your presentation but share with me the <insert whatever> document right away so I can review numbers while we're discussing this.
You: Right away sir, let me run back to my office and send it to you right now.
Snarky Kid: No need, I have it right here on my smartphone. File is on the way boss sir.
<2s later>
Boss: Great job snarky kid - I see it right here. You are now super awesome kid instead of snarky kid. Here is a $5000 bonus and the keys to my penthouse - feel free to stay the night.

That is a dumb example but just think of places in your job where accessing your repository of files immediately could be useful without firing up a laptop. If you can't come up with one, then either you're in a job where you don't even use a computer or you're missing something.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Sidney » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:27 am

Igglesman wrote:Droid allows me to do crossword puzzles, monitor traffic conditions on the road, and monitor weather radar to determine whether to put convertible top down or not.

All presumably while someone else is driving.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby bradshaw1965 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:30 am

Sidney wrote:In my area, the minimum cost per month for a smartphone that works is about $100 per month. So the question isn't about need but value.


Have you checked for MVNO's in your area? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MVNO
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby NateH » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:33 am

I've been resisting the smartphone pull for some time now. I just don't find it necessary. I have an ipad with wifi that i can use at work, home, or anywhere there is free wifi and i have a basic tmobile prepaid phone for calls.

Besides, if i join the masses who are driving down the highway tapping away on their phones and paying limited attention to the actual road and traffic, then i won't be able to b*tch about them.

They are mostly very expensive toys.
the games most-played on my ipad are card games which could be replaced with a $1 deck of cards.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby NateH » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:36 am

bourg wrote:Scenario: You in a meeting in the conference room discussing a client.

You: ...and that concludes my report.
Boss: Excellent work. I know you didn't include it in your presentation but share with me the <insert whatever> document right away so I can review numbers while we're discussing this.
You: Right away sir, let me run back to my office and send it to you right now.
Snarky Kid: No need, I have it right here on my smartphone. File is on the way boss sir.
<2s later>
Boss: Great job snarky kid - I see it right here. You are now super awesome kid instead of snarky kid. Here is a $5000 bonus and the keys to my penthouse - feel free to stay the night.


why don't you bring your laptop to the meeting?
how are you presenting anything without powerpoint?
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby bourg » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:45 am

NateH wrote:
bourg wrote:Scenario: You in a meeting in the conference room discussing a client.

You: ...and that concludes my report.
Boss: Excellent work. I know you didn't include it in your presentation but share with me the <insert whatever> document right away so I can review numbers while we're discussing this.
You: Right away sir, let me run back to my office and send it to you right now.
Snarky Kid: No need, I have it right here on my smartphone. File is on the way boss sir.
<2s later>
Boss: Great job snarky kid - I see it right here. You are now super awesome kid instead of snarky kid. Here is a $5000 bonus and the keys to my penthouse - feel free to stay the night.


why don't you bring your laptop to the meeting?
how are you presenting anything without powerpoint?


I have no idea it was just a made up thing. Boss wanted the presentation in advance and was running it off his laptop? It was a stand up meeting without a presentation going over project status so no one had laptops? The meeting was taking place at lunch so you didn't bring your laptop? It was a surprise meeting where you didn't have time to prepare a presentation so you delivered the report off the top of your head.

I think you can come up with plenty of examples were you are talking to your boss and you don't have your laptop or even tablet. But you'll have your smartphone in your pocket if you had one.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby bUU » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:06 am

KyleAAA wrote:Nobody NEEDS a smartphone.

Nobody needs a telephone either. <shrug>
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Sidney » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:10 am

bradshaw1965 wrote:
Sidney wrote:In my area, the minimum cost per month for a smartphone that works is about $100 per month. So the question isn't about need but value.


Have you checked for MVNO's in your area? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MVNO

I didn't do an exhaustive search. The only primary carrier that has data service in my rural area is Verizon. When I looked at Straightalk, as I mentioned in another thread, I found that their term of service specifically prohibit some data activities like streaming. While I understand that this might not be enforced, I choose to comply with most contracts so I opted not to look at ST any further.

It has occurred to me that VZ may contractually restrict the MVNOs from including heavy use like streaming in their terms. I really don't know this -- just a thought.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby stoptothink » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:37 am

matjen wrote:Do you know anyone who had one and went back to the old style of phone who isn't >70? I don't.


Well now you do, I am 31.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby dickenjb » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:46 am

No one NEEDS a smartphone. For that matter, unless you need one for your job, no one NEEDS a cell phone.

I have an iPhone 4 and find it very useful. I like having access to email and my calendar and Google / Safari in my pocket. Also love Maps, Yelp, GasBuddy, etc. I do not play games on it.

A smartphone is one of life's little luxuries. Worth it for you? Only you can decide.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby rixer » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:49 am

I've never had a smart phone. I had an old flip phone with Verizon. Two phones, $80 per month and 500 minutes I think. I've always wanted a smart phone but just can't get past the price of the service. When the Galaxy III came out I was hot for it until I found out that two phones would now cost around $150+ per month.
That was the end of that. I have just retired and since I don't make that many personal calls on the cell phone anymore, even $80 per month is too much. I bought two Samsung pre-paid flip phones (T-Mobile) at Walmart for $19.95 each and a 1000 minute card for each phone. 1000 minute card is $100, the minutes are good for one year and can be rolled over if you buy another card before it expires. It comes out to about $8 per month or even less.

Someday I might get a smartphone but it won't be today.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby wageoghe » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:51 am

Do you NEED a smartphone? As others have said, probably almost nobody NEEDs a smartphone. I agree with others that say that if you want one and you can afford one, get one. I have an iPhone. Here are some of the useful things that I do with it (that I could probably do with a laptop if I wanted to haul one around with me):

1. Banking - check balances, transfer funds, find atms, deposit checks.
2. Get directions (Google Maps).
3. Use as GPS (I still have a "real" GPS, which, out of habit, I tend to use more).
4. Easy to use contacts.
5. Write notes that are synced (via iCloud) with my iPad.
6. Camera. We haven't bought a camera in years. Yes, a smartphone camera might not be as good as a real camera, but, as the old saying goes, the best camera is the one that you have with you. All of the photos that I take go into "the cloud" and "magically" appear on my iPad and laptop. When I need a part for something, an ingredient for a recipe, etc, I take a picture and take it with me to the store, home center, etc. Less confusion.
7. Program my DVR. My cable provider (Xfinity) provides an app that is actually pretty nice that allows me to control my DVR. If I am out and forgot to set a recording (or maybe see a commercial while in a bar or restaurant), I can easily set it up via my iPhone. Critical? Not really. Useful? Maybe. Fun? Yes (especially when with friends that can't do that).
8. Wikipedia. I have a nice app (Wikipanion) that is a front end for Wikipedia. To me it has a lot of nice ease of use features that make it superior to accessing Wikipedia on my iPhone via the browser.
9. Apps for reading newspapers. Personally, I prefer to read online newspapers via phone or tab specific apps vs reading in a browser on those devices. If I am waiting somewhere (doctor, dentist, shopping, repair shop), I can just pull out the phone out of my pocket and read the paper.
10. Texting. If you text (and if you don't you should), texting on a smartphone is 1000% better than texting on a regular phone.
11. Clock. Alarm clock. Timer. Stopwatch. I use all of these functions regularly. When we cook something in the oven, I set a timer on my phone rather than on the oven. We might not be where we can easily hear the oven timer go off, but I always have my phone.
12. Weather. It looks like rain. How long until it hits? Whip out the smartphone, bring up the radar, and see for yourself.
13. Calendar. It is always with you.
14. Flashlight. I have a flashlight app on my phone. It uses the LED flash. Often I am up later than my wife. I regularly use the flashlight app to navigate the dark house so that I don't run into anything or trip over anything.
15. Amazon price scanner. When I am in a store (or at home), I can use the scanner to see what Amazon charges for an item.

Fun:
1. NCAA Brackets. I enter and monitor my NCAA bracket every year via my iPhone and iPad.
2. NCAA streaming. I can stream audio or video from NCAA tournament games.
3. Music. I don't listen to a lot of music, but I can easily load music on my iPhone from iTunes, Amazon, etc. I can also stream music. I can also stream radio.
4. Podcasts. I listen to a ton of podcasts. I can listen via earbuds or over my car radio (with an extra accessory). On newer cars, one can mate the smartphone (or tablet) directly with the car radio via bluetooth and listen that way.
5. Audio books. I listen a fair number of audio books. I always have a few books loaded and can listen whenever I please.
6. Photos. The photos that I have taken are on my iPhone. I can easily show those photos to others. Who doesn't want to look at photos of someone else's kids, grandkids, pets, home projects, etc.
7. Games. Words With Friends. I have several friends that I play with regularly.

Depending on your data plan, you could use your smartphone as a hotspot, so you would not need to pay for two data plans.

If you don't like it after a year (or two), go back to a regular phone.

I just noticed that I didn't say anything about talking on the phone. I guess I don't talk on the phone enough for that to be a major selling point! One thing that I do, whenever I call someplace that I think I might call again (service person, repair shop, etc), I make a contact. Two years later, when I want to get that guy that I had do some job, I can easily find him in my list of contacts without having to find some scrap of paper with his name or number on it or try to remember his name so I can look him up in the phone book.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby harikaried » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:15 am

wageoghe wrote:10. Texting. If you text (and if you don't you should)
Why should anyone text without any context?
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Random Poster » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:27 am

Igglesman wrote:If you own a Smartphone, you no longer need:
- a standalone MP3 player
- a standalone GPS
- a point and shoot camera
- an encyclopedia
- a radio
- an alarm clock

You can buy one and just use for above with out getting a phone plan..(use just wifi).
BTW, I still have the 25 buck a month all I can use plan from Virgin Mobile (now $35 for new customers).


I disagree regarding the point and shoot camera. My iPhone takes "okay for quick email" photos, but the photo quality in no way compares to what my simple Canon can provide. In anything but super-controlled conditions, the iPhone is not quality camera.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:42 am

I really appreciate the posts from people indicating the things they do with their smartphones. Very helpful. So far, the things mentioned that seem useful to me are navigation, finding locations, checking weather, photo and photo sharing, price comparison. Handy tool for these things but I'm not sure I can justify the cost for occasionally doing these things with a cell phone. Per navigation, it is my understanding that Verizon charges another $5 per month to add GPS and Traffic capability. I use a Garmin in my car with lifetime free map updates. I believe you have to shell out a monthly charge to add real time traffic capability to that as well, but I don't really need that since I don't commute to work anymore. And the Garmin actually has a screen large enough to see for auto navigation. So far at least a smartphone still seems like a luxury. When you consider that it costs at least $1000 per year with most 2G data plans is it really worth it on top of what you are already paying for internet access with your computer or tablet?
If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine. – Jim Barksdale
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby The Wizard » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:39 pm

Browser wrote:I really appreciate the posts from people indicating the things they do with their smartphones. Very helpful. So far, the things mentioned that seem useful to me are navigation, finding locations, checking weather, photo and photo sharing, price comparison. Handy tool for these things but I'm not sure I can justify the cost for occasionally doing these things with a cell phone. Per navigation, it is my understanding that Verizon charges another $5 per month to add GPS and Traffic capability,,,

I've got Verizon Wireless and there's no "extra charge" for navigation or the map display part of GPS or traffic conditions. It's part of your 3G/4G data plan to the extent you use that. And my 4" droid 2 display is just as big as my old Garmin display, and with better resolution.

I also deposited a paper check from my dining room table an hour ago using my Android phone to take pics (jpg files) of both sides of the check. I actually tried using my desktop PC and scanner to do this a month ago on a different check. But the scanner somehow activated the anti-fraud feature on the check, causing the word VOID to appear several times. The smartphone photo did not have this problem...
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby wageoghe » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:41 pm

harikaried wrote:
wageoghe wrote:10. Texting. If you text (and if you don't you should)
Why should anyone text without any context?


Texting is often poo pooed on this forum. People wonder "Why text when you can email?" "What is different about texting than emailing?" People would rather talk than text. People want mobile phone plans that have XXX minutes, but they don't "need" any texting because they don't text.

Texting is very immediate. Depending on your phone, when you receive a text message, you get a signal (audible and/or vibration) and the text is displayed on the screen. You can see it as soon as it arrives and you can decide to take action or not.

I text a lot (not thousands per month, but much of my communication with friends and family is via text). If I need to get some information to my wife or daughter that doesn't require action NOW, I text it.

"Don't forget to take your car to the oil change place today",
"Do you know there the thingamajig is that you had out last night? I couldn't find it this morning.",
"I forgot to put XXX and YYY on the grocery list. Can you pick them up while you are at the store."
"We just got to the party and don't know anybody. How long before you get here?"

These are all useful communications that don't really require disturbing someone with a phone call. Also, for stuff like this, I think texting is far superior to email.

My mother in law texts my daughter every morning when she gets up in the morning. Sort of a "proof of life" communication. No need for a phone call at 5:30 or 6:00 am every morning. They do still talk on the phone every day, but the text in the morning has become somewhat of a ritual. Of course, if she forgets to send the text, my wife can get a little wound up until she confirms that her mom is ok.

My brother (in another state) often watch the same sporting events on tv at the same time (especially Kentucky basketball). We text back and forth a lot during the game. It's not the same as watching it in the same room, but it does provide some level of cameraderie.

On holidays and birthdays, I almost always send a text to friends and family (in addition to regular cards and presents). Sure, I could email. Sure, I could call (and often do). But, texting is easier and has the potential of starting sort of a time shifted conversation.

out: "Happy Birthday"
in: "Thanks! I got your card, it was great."
out: "How's school going? How about those 'Cats? Tough loss last night."
out: "Did you take the thingamabob the last time you were here? We can't find it and so and so wants to borrow it."
in: "School's great. 'Cats stink. You gave me the thingamabob because I said I wanted it. It's still in my trunk. Oops."
out: "Don't worry about the thingamabob, I just didn't remember what happened to it."
out: "BTW, I put more money in your account"

My sister and father have both had surgeries recently. Texting is an easy way to give quick updates:

"Just got to hospital. Susie is in preop. Will be going into surgery soon".
"In surgery"
"Surgery over. Doctor says everything went great. Susie will be in recovery for a couple of hours, then we can take her home"
"Leaving hospital."
"At home. Doctor said she will probably sleep a couple of hours"

It is easy for family members at the hospital to report status over the course of time. If I, or anyone else, has questions or thoughts, it is easy to send them via text. When everything calms down later on, I could call (or not, depending on how she feels).

Some conversations are pretty easy to do over text without having to break away from what you are doing. Arranging to meet your spouse after work for some kind of activity:

he: "How about we eat out tonight? XXX was good last time, why don't we go there"
she: "Don't forget, we have PTA. We can eat before"
he: "Ok, we should go to YYY or ZZZ then, they are closer and quicker"
she: "ZZZ. YYY was gross last time"
he: "Ha ha! I forgot about that"
he: "I can pick you up at home"
she: "I will be out already, so we can just meet there"
he: "Ok, see you around 6:00"

This could have taken place over a few minutes, or it could have taken place over an afternoon. He could have taken place while he or she was in the bathroom (although that is pretty gross). He or she could have been a meeting, telecon, whatever.

Texting PLUS phone conversation is a great combo. I work in an open bay and don't like to talk on the phone out in the open. My wife has a similar environment. If one of us needs to call the other, it is easy to text first to see if now is a good time. If so, I can just excuse myself, go to an office, and make (or take) the phone call. If we need to speak to our daughter while she is at work (in the food service industry), we can text and ask her to call when she is on her next break. No muss, no fuss.

With a smart phone, I can use texting for most of what I might used email for not too long ago. If I took a picture at an event, I can text it rather than email it. I can text links to articles/forum postings/etc. I have asked friends to text me photos of stuff at their house (name plate on appliances, tool, flower, etc).

When my neighbors go on vacation, they ask us to keep an eye on things and, sometimes, to feed their cat (if their usual cat feeder is unavailable). If I actually go in to feed the cat, I usually text that I went in, things look ok, the cat looks ok. A little peace of mind goes a long way.

So, this texting thing is all gravy right? Sounds like no negatives.

Well, obviously, communicating via text can be a little terse. First because it is generally not easy (even on a smart phone) to write a very long text (hundreds of characters). As with email, it can be hard to correctly discern the tone of a text communication. Sometimes the other person "doesn't see" the text (note, this usually happens if you ask your daughter a question she doesn't want to answer, like:

me: "Did you put away the dishes after school before you went out with your friends?"
her: "Oops! I didn't see your earlier text asking me to do that until we were already at so and so's house. Sorry!"
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby LH » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:58 pm

If you get along fine without a smartphone, you do not need it.


If you ever try a smartphone, you cannot live without it from then on : )
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby The Wizard » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:03 pm

LH wrote:If you get along fine without a smartphone, you do not need it.


If you ever try a smartphone, you cannot live without it from then on : )

Well stated.
I find the same to be true of certain other things, like my microwave oven and my air compressor.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby ieee488 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:10 pm

Browser wrote:So far at least a smartphone still seems like a luxury. When you consider that it costs at least $1000 per year with most 2G data plans is it really worth it on top of what you are already paying for internet access with your computer or tablet?

$1000?

$30/30 days with T-mobile available at Walmart = $360
100 minutes talk, unlimited text and web

I have found it most useful during a job search when the HR department emails me insteads of calling me.
So, until I retire, I will be keeping mine. Having access to my personal emails is very important to me.
I used to take my own laptop to work and used mobile broadband plan, but employers won't let you bring a laptop to work.

I don't text.

It is something to occupy me when waiting in line, waiting at the doctor's office, waiting for anything.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby wageoghe » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:15 pm

Browser wrote:I really appreciate the posts from people indicating the things they do with their smartphones. Very helpful. So far, the things mentioned that seem useful to me are navigation, finding locations, checking weather, photo and photo sharing, price comparison. Handy tool for these things but I'm not sure I can justify the cost for occasionally doing these things with a cell phone. Per navigation, it is my understanding that Verizon charges another $5 per month to add GPS and Traffic capability. I use a Garmin in my car with lifetime free map updates. I believe you have to shell out a monthly charge to add real time traffic capability to that as well, but I don't really need that since I don't commute to work anymore. And the Garmin actually has a screen large enough to see for auto navigation. So far at least a smartphone still seems like a luxury. When you consider that it costs at least $1000 per year with most 2G data plans is it really worth it on top of what you are already paying for internet access with your computer or tablet?


For navigation, you can get apps like Google Maps that have GPS capability free. I have only every used Google Maps in the mode where it needs to be connected to the internet, so, if I did not have 3G/4G coverage, I could not use it as a GPS. I believe that it is possible (at least on some phones) to download maps so that Google Maps can work "offline". Aside from that, you can also buy more conventional GPS apps that include installing the map data onto the phone so that the GPS can work "offline". To be honest, we still use our Garmin GPS, so the phone GPS is not super critical to us.

I think that only you can answer if it is worth the $XXX per year cost. We subscribe to HBO as part of our probably overpriced cable package. I could not tell you how much it costs. We probably watch 2 or 3 series on it. Sometimes we watch live. Sometimes we record. Sometimes we watch via On Demand. Rarely we will watch via HBOGO on iPad. Is it worth the cost to pay for HBO to watch probably less than 100 hours per year? Maybe, maybe not. We can afford it easily enough and we enjoy the shows, so for me the answer is yes.

We have a pretty run of the mill package with ATT for our wireless. 4 iPhones (me, wife, daughter, MIL). It's not cheap, but we all like our phones. Some things, like texting, you can do on a regular phone as well as a smartphone. Texting, is more unpleasant on a regular phone compared to a smartphone. Using and maintaining a contact list is much easier on a smartphone compared to a regular phone (at least compared to the last regular phone I had - Motorola Razr flip phone).

As far as paying for data plan, you would probably be well-advised to put your smartphone (if you get one) and your tablet on the same data plan. I suspect that it does not make much sense to maintain separate data plans in this day and age. As I mentioned earlier, you might be able to use a smartphone as a wifi hotspot and have your tablet use that for its internet access.

One way to think of a smartphone is that it is an evolution of an existing technology (cellphone, telephone). It also represents a merging of technologies (phone and computer).

Think about past advances in technology (some of these might be regarded as "advances" rather than advances). Did you "need" them?

Cable tv vs VHF/UHF with roof antenna.
Color tv vs black and white.
HDTV vs standard definition
VCR vs always watch live.
DVR vs VCR
phonograph vs 8-track vs casette vs CD vs download vs streaming
Digital camera vs film camera.
dedicated phone line vs party line.
automatic transmission vs manual transmission.
laptop computer vs desktop computer.
typewriter vs computer and word processing program
ebook vs regular book.
Credit card/debit card vs writing checks vs paying cash vs bartering
microwave oven
dishwasher vs hand washing
UPC codes and scanners vs punching in each price by hand (at store checkout)
rechargeable tools/appliances vs corded
remote vehicle lock/unlock fob vs having to use key to unlock doors

I think you are right, that the smartphone can be regarded as a luxury (depending on who is doing the regarding). However, that can be said about a lot of things these days. Having someone cut our grass is a luxury, but I gladly pay for it. Having someone do our laundry would be a luxury, but I am happy to do my own. Eating at a "sit down" restaurant might be a luxury compared to eating at a fast food joint. Sometimes I want a "nice" meal (luxury), sometimes I just want a Big Mac.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby pheleven » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:17 pm

bourg wrote:You: ...and that concludes my report.
Boss: Excellent work. I know you didn't include it in your presentation but share with me the <insert whatever> document right away so I can review numbers while we're discussing this.
You: Right away sir, let me run back to my office and send it to you right now.
Snarky Kid: No need, I have it right here on my smartphone. File is on the way boss sir.
<2s later>
Boss: Great job snarky kid - I see it right here. You are now super awesome kid instead of snarky kid. Here is a $5000 bonus and the keys to my penthouse - feel free to stay the night.


Snarky Kid is fired at my place of work if he keeps important documents on his cell phone.

That said, occasionally my smart phone makes me far more efficient at an immediate task, on top of GPS/traffic for travel makes it worth it to me (doubly so, since work pays for it).
Last edited by pheleven on Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby countofmc » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:18 pm

Some people (I was one of them in the past) do need them for work. However if this is the case, the employer usually provides the phone and pays for the plan (at least mine did).

So for strictly personal use, I don't see why anyone would "need" a smartphone. It's convenient as heck though and consolidates several devices into one. I use my iPhone as an iPod and a navigation device.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby wageoghe » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:20 pm

LH wrote:If you get along fine without a smartphone, you do not need it.


If you ever try a smartphone, you cannot live without it from then on : )


True on both counts.

However, regarding the first point, I have an aunt who does not have indoor plumbing. While I guess she "gets along fine" without it, I suspect that she would be a lot better off with it. :shock: Not that I am trying to equate lack of smartphone with lack of indoor plumbing :happy
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby The Wizard » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:35 pm

If one is in Financial Difficulty, over their head in Credit Card debt, etc, then cutting out things like high-end smartphones, cable TV, etc is a good plan to getting back on track.
But if one is OK financially, then a Smartphone is par for the course in 2013...
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby mikep » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:40 pm

I love my palm pixi plus smartphone on my $2.50/month standard plan on page plus. Smartphones don't have to be expensive. Just need to think outside the box. It is an upgrade from my previous dumbphone on AT&T which cost more than 10 times as much.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby investingdad » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:42 pm

They're very nice for work, especially when travelling. I resisted it as well and I'm still (BARELY) in my 30s. But it's really cool tech when a little flat device can:

- give me an interface to my work email (employer fully supports mobile devices)
- give me an interface to my work Calendar
- track my flights in real time, including while on the plane if I pay for the inflight wi-fi
- function as a GPS when I arrive at my destination
- function as a camera while at a customer site if I want to capture something, and instantly share with coworkers back at corporate to get info while at site
- track weather


...and use it for entertainment (music, media, online gaming) while travelling.

Pretty nifty stuff here in 2013.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby 1210sda » Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:54 pm

Browser wrote:I've always had a basic cellphone to make phone calls. I've also got a laptop and a Verizon wireless broadband hotspot. Thinking about a new phone and was looking at some Smartphones at BestBuy. Most of things look like small tablet computers. I'm wondering if I really need a Smartphone. What do people do with these things that they can't live without? You can do all the internet stuff you need on a laptop or a tablet. Aren't smartphones just a toy for people who don't need them for their work?



Thank you Browser for starting this thread. I will be faced with that choice in the medium term. At that time, I'll refer back to the thread.

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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Robin » Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:07 pm

LH wrote:If you get along fine without a smartphone, you do not need it.


If you ever try a smartphone, you cannot live without it from then on : )

I gave mine up when I turned in my Blackberry at work. Glad to be rid of it.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby rjsob58 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:45 pm

Igglesman wrote:If you own a Smartphone, you no longer need:
- a standalone MP3 player
- a standalone GPS
- a point and shoot camera
- an encyclopedia
- a radio
- an alarm clock

- a social life

You can buy one and just use for above with out getting a phone plan..(use just wifi).
BTW, I still have the 25 buck a month all I can use plan from Virgin Mobile (now $35 for new customers).
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:19 pm

I guess I got the GPS navigation charge from info on Sprint. It says they charge an extra $9.99/mo. for GPS navigation on basic phones. Does this mean that GPS navigation is integrated into Smartphones for no extra charge? I know that the screens are larger on some Smartphones, which would make it easier to use them for auto navigation. But the downside is that you have to tote around one of these things in your pocket (ladies could use their purse). Not much smaller than a mini-tablet IMO. If I ever get a Smartphone I don't think I want anything that large and inconvenient. The size of the iPhone is about right for me and that's too small to function visually for auto Nav, IMO.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby JMacDonald » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:34 pm

rjsob58 wrote:You can buy one and just use for above with out getting a phone plan..(use just wifi).

I use an iPod Touch as my smart phone. It does everything an iPhone does only in wifi. http://www.apple.com/ipod-touch/
No monthly fees.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby The Wizard » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:43 pm

Browser wrote:I guess I got the GPS navigation charge from info on Sprint. It says they charge an extra $9.99/mo. for GPS navigation on basic phones. Does this mean that GPS navigation is integrated into Smartphones for no extra charge? I know that the screens are larger on some Smartphones, which would make it easier to use them for auto navigation. But the downside is that you have to tote around one of these things in your pocket (ladies could use their purse). Not much smaller than a mini-tablet IMO. If I ever get a Smartphone I don't think I want anything that large and inconvenient. The size of the iPhone is about right for me and that's too small to function visually for auto Nav, IMO.

You'll have to try various smartphones out in the store to decide what's too big or too small for your particular case. Vision acuity will matter. I find the Android Navigation app to be just fine on a 4.1" diagonal screen, but YMMV....
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Sidney » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:45 pm

rjsob58 wrote:- a social life


always sad to see a couple at a restaurant, both head down tapping away on their smartphones. I sometimes wonder if they are texting to each other.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby leonard » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:30 pm

No. You don't need one.

I have not met a single person that uses a smartphone for work - that actually seemed to get better results because of the smart phone.

For personal use - they have a few uses - but are simply not worth the extra $40 or $50+ bucks for expensive data plans.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:18 pm

JMacDonald wrote:
rjsob58 wrote:You can buy one and just use for above with out getting a phone plan..(use just wifi).

I use an iPod Touch as my smart phone. It does everything an iPhone does only in wifi. http://www.apple.com/ipod-touch/
No monthly fees.

Can you explain this for those of us who don't understand? How can this work for no monthly fees?
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Random Poster » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:22 pm

Browser wrote:
JMacDonald wrote:
rjsob58 wrote:You can buy one and just use for above with out getting a phone plan..(use just wifi).

I use an iPod Touch as my smart phone. It does everything an iPhone does only in wifi. http://www.apple.com/ipod-touch/
No monthly fees.

Can you explain this for those of us who don't understand? How can this work for no monthly fees?


I assume that it involves using free wifi (hotspots or otherwise).
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby linguini » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:58 pm

leonard wrote:No. You don't need one.

I have not met a single person that uses a smartphone for work - that actually seemed to get better results because of the smart phone.


I'm not sure where you work, but almost everyone I work with has a smartphone, so if your workplace is anything like mine, I'm not even sure how you're finding enough equivalent workers to compare based on their cell phone use.

From personal experience, my smartphone is totally useless for doing work, but it allows me to provide rapid support for emergency issues in live services while I'm commuting, running errands, etc. and can't be at my desk or at home because it lets me have access to email, web browsing, messaging, documents, calendar, etc. As a general rule, having a smartphone makes you more accessible, but it doesn't make you more productive. So, for those types of work where being accessible is important, then having a smartphone is often beneficial, but it doesn't magically help you get your work done or produce higher quality work.

For personal use - they have a few uses - but are simply not worth the extra $40 or $50+ bucks for expensive data plans.


First of all, if you are going to pay for a cell phone contract anyway, buying a data plan is usually an extra twenty or thirty dollars, not forty or fifty. It's pretty easy to justify the cost of a cell phone contract (useful in emergencies, replaces a land line, convenient when traveling, resolve a lot of stressful scenarios that used to happen a lot when people couldn't contact each other while outside their homes). And, really, it's not that difficult to justify spending $20-$30 a month on data if you're going to use it. We're really talking about the cost difference of bringing lunch from home instead of buying a sandwich two days a week. To a lot of people, that is absolutely worth being able to access email, messaging, navigation, web browsing, games, videos, music, books, audiobooks, weather, check depositing, calendar and documents from anywhere on one device for a month. To a lot of other people (presumably including yourself), it isn't.
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