La Vida Smartphona

One of my Facebook chums just got her first smartphone (an Android for those keeping score at home). Thus, she was looking for some suggestions to get the best use of the thing. Which got me thinking; and that’s a dangerous thing. I gave her some pointers, but kept it brief out of respect for her Wall. But, since this is my blog and I can do whatever-the-heck-I-want, I’m going to elaborate.

Smartphones have been a key part of my life for years. It was a small conversion at the time, as I had Palm & HP handhelds before. Shifting from two small devices to one was wondrous. Geekous maximus. In the smartphone realm, my first was a Treo, then to Blackberries (when Treos finally annoyed me enough). Then I got a iPhone, followed with a brief foray into Windows (both a WinMo 6.1 & the WP7). So, I think I know how to use the devices efficiently.

Anyway, here are the basics of how I use mine. Some things I’ve used for years, some are only germane now with post iPhone smartphones.

  • email: should be evident. It’s dangerous, though, to be always online.
  • calendar: my phone is my calendar. It’s always with me, so I’m able to commit to time requests right off. My wife and I send each other appointments so we know when we have larger commitments. Also, I’m now very dependent on alarms. It’s synced, of course.
  • to-dos: I downloaded a feature rich to-do app since this is critical for me. Pop-up reminders are important for me on this, too.
  • Notes: having notes that sync to my computer has become critical for me. I also take voice memos and having a tool that integrates them all is priceless.
  • Traffic/GPS: it’s great to be able to check traffic as I’m walking to my car, or for my navigator to check while I’m on the road. There’ve been a few times where the GPS directions have really helped me out.
  • financial: my bank and broker have apps, which are quite helpful. Not life-or-death, but quite slick.
  • I love Urban Spoon and Yelp! for guidance when dining out. They’re really useful when I’m in a town I don’t know.
  • music: when the iPhone first came out (I held out for a cycle, keeping my Blackberry), I downloaded some music to see the value. I thought the convergence of phone and music player to be dumb. My notions have mollified. Now, I use my iPhone’s iPod all the time. I especially like podcasts during my commute.
  • games: invaluable tool to kill time in lines, the dmv, et al.
  • reading: relatively new to me, using the phone as a reader has been a boon in times of boredom (see above).
  • This has been a simple stream-of-consciousness list. Hardly all-inclusive. Have anything you want to add? Drop a note in the comments. I’d love to hear it.

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