TECH 5 for April 16, 2014 – Cell phones vs. Smartphones

ben-harrisonGood afternoon and welcome to another Tech 5 program and a five minute trip into the amazing world of technology. This is Ben Harrison.

This week we have been devoting out Tech 5 talk time to computers; specifically buying decisions re Apple and PC and I-pad and Android tablets.
To wrap up this series, I’d like to share some thoughts regarding Cell Phones and Smartphones. How are they different?

While we all know what cell phones are, we don’t always know how to differentiate them from smartphones. Here’s how.

Smartphones Have a Mobile Operating System

You can think of a Smartphone like a miniature computer that can also place and receive calls. While there is no standard definition of a cell phone, the simplest way to tell a cell phone Windows Mobile from a Smartphone is to determine whether or not the device has a mobile operating system.
A mobile operating system is much like what’s powering your personal computer at home or at work. In the mobile world, though, the software goes by different names. While cell phones don’t have operating systems at all, smartphones can be powered by several systems including but not limited to: iPhone OS, Google’s Android and RIM’s BlackBerry’
Smartphones can typically view and sometimes edit documents (i.e. from Microsoft Office). Cell phones cannot.
While many cell phones now have full QWERTY keyboards, this is a basic requirement for smartphones. The keyboard is much like your computer’s keyboard. On a mobile phone, it can come in the form of hardware (i.e. a physical but small keyboard) or software (i.e. tapping digital keys on a touch screen.
Cell phones can typically send and receive text, picture and video messaging. Many cell phones can also send and receive email. Smartphones, typically sync with the email server of your personal or corporate provider.

Considering that the first real Smartphone – the original iPhone – was launched just six years ago, anticipated sales of smartphones globally is estimated to exceed one billion units.
For consumers things have never been better. Increased competition has driven prices down, while quality and choice has increased. The problem now is choosing the right Smartphone for you.
Most buyers  will end up choosing between Apple’s iPhones or one of hundreds of Android-based smartphones from manufacturers like Samsung, HTC, LG and Sony to name a few..
Apple offers three iPhone options at the moment – the iPhone 4, the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 5c. All are relatively similar to the iPhone 4 which is the oldest and smallest of the three. The iPhone 5 is Apple’s flagship model with features like its fingerprint scanner and faster processor offering the best performance of any of Apple’s phones.
For the fashion conscious, the slightly cheaper iPhone 5c is available in a range of vibrant colours and a shiny plastic finish.
Android is a completely different proposition. There are hundreds – if not thousands – of smartphones available running Google’s Android operating system. Buyers have choice from premium smartphones like the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4, to the much lower priced budget smartphones.
As the Smartphone market has matured, smartphones have become bigger and bigger, to the point where manufacturers are now blurring the lines between smartphones and tablets. Despite the increase in screen size however, manufacturers have been able to keep the weight and thickness of the phones down, with almost all major smartphones now less than 10mm thick
Apple runs its own software on its own hardware, with iOS tightly integrated with the devices it is running on. this means the software is virtually bug free will run very smoothly on your iPhone. It is a very intuitive piece of software and with the iOS 7 has been given a much-needed overhaul by Apple. Setting up your phone is easy and if you have used an Apple product before, signing in with your AppleID makes things even easier.
That said the software is very much controlled by Apple, meaning you can only do what Apple allows you to do, and only install apps which Apple approves. It is also difficult to put your own music or video content onto an iPhone, with Apple forcing everything through iTunes. For some this will be a problem – for others it won’t make a bit of difference.
Android is also much more open with the Google’s Play store being the most ‘reliable’ source of apps,  It is also much easier to load your own video and music onto an Android phone by simply transferring them from your computer.
Android now has over one million apps available in the Play Store and most of the major apps available on the Apple iOS system are also available on Android.
Price again enters into the buying equation: Apple is a premium brand and sells its products at a premium price. If you choose to go with Android it is worth investigating all options as there are a lot of deals available at the moment as competition is very intense.
In summary, after considering product options and price along with how you plan to use your cell or Smartphone, you may decide to just stick with the user friendly, easy to use, good old fashion cell phone.