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July 2011
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Smartphones - What to do with one
Filed under: Mobile Solutions & Smartphones
Posted by: Tom @ 5:02 pm

Back in January (2011), I got a letter from AT&T that my cell phone would no longer be supported after May.  Not a concern or priority for me in the beginning, but ultimately, this triggered quite a learning experience.  I will probably report more about my experiences later, but right now, suffice it to say, I delayed action until mid-May.  After all, the service that I already had was meeting my needs and I was thinking of switching to a smartphone.  I was not sure which one and new, better models were coming out regularly.  Ultimately, I replaced my plain vanilla flip phone with a Motorola Atrix Android.  I decided that it would be perfect to use for testing software that I was working on.  It would give me an alternative to phones that others also are using to help me.

Most of them either have a Blackberry or an Apple iPhone.  Some have even upgraded more than once since their first smartphone.  They use them for voice calls, but mostly for texting and email.  They also like to share pictures, listen to music and play games.  In fact, our daughter’s three and five-year-old sons are quite proficient with Angry Birds, Bejeweled and a number of other games on her iPhone.  Some games are recreations of ones that were popular years ago. They were found in arcades or early computer or television games or on special purpose hand-held devices.  In our daughter’s case, when the iPhone is in use or both boys want to play, they have the same games on an iPod Touch.  How times have changed.

My choice of the Atrix was largely influenced by its replaceable battery and memory card and the internal WiFi hotspot that I can use to connect my laptop to the Internet.  Normally I use a cellular datacard with the laptop, but it is always good to have an alternative in case of service problems.

Just like the multitool that I have carried in my pocket for years, smartphones have a lot of interesting features and capabilities in one package.  Little by little I have tried out the GPS navigator, weather forecasts, airline reservations and used the camera and tried out a movie.  Most important, I am gradually puting some inportant information on the phone in PDF format since there is a free copy of Adobe Reader for my Android phone.  My Emergency Medical Card was first, but I plan to add more things.  Before I do, I will decide how best to protect the information in case the phone is lost or stolen.  I already downloaded a program that will scrub information off the phone if it is lost.  I am also looking into applications that use the phone’s camera and facial biometrics to unlock an encrypted partition on the memory card.

The way I look at it, having the capabilities of a smartphone brings peace of mind.

Please stay turned for more of my experiences and report ones that you would like to share.

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