Smartphones – Resistance Is Futile

The Smartphone phenomenon was kicked off by the iPhone. The original iPhone concept came from an MIT project that worked on Project Oxygen and developed Handy21 hand-held computer. The iPhone embodies the ideas and concepts developed at MIT. A smart cell phone is really a hand-held computer that performs a variety of tasks depending upon the application programs it runs. this hand-held computer connects to the Internet over the cellular network or through other wireless networks. The application software uses this Internet connectivity access specialized data bases and other information for its user.

Increasingly and unknowingly we are becoming dependent upon such intelligent cellular phones to assist us and provide access to essential information where ever we are and whenever we need the information. The newest incarnation of these phones uses voice commands. The result is that such devices will only become more entwined in our lives.

The world of intelligent handheld computers or intelligent cellular phones is broken into different segments as are any technology driven products. The first segment is the iPhone, iPad, and iTunes market. These devices run special applications designed specifically to work with their operating system and hardware. this is typical of Apple’s products. Apple tightly controls the technology surrounding its products. With every tightly controlled products there are good and bad things. Apple’s tight control makes the Apple products less susceptible to virus attack, expensive, and forces customers into lines at the Apple store for warranty maintenance. it also means that Internet sites require special applications to fully function with Apple products. Specifically, the Apple Smartphone products do not run Adobe Flash software. The Adobe Flash software is used on many, many web sites to send video to the receiving device. this means when I went from my iPad to the Amazon site and tried to view the posted video, nothing happened. The video needs the iPhone to run the flash software to play the video.

The Andriod hand-held computer phones constitute the second market segment. These devices can run Adobe Flash applications with newly released Flash Player software specifically for Andriod devices. Similar to the iPhone there are thousands and thousands of applications for the Andriod devices. Developers that create iPhone applications recompile and debug the applications to make them work on both Andriod and Apples iDevices. iDevice is a term for iPhone, iPad, or iTune player. iDevices in seem to tap into the all about me mentality of today’s youth or the Occupy Wall Street. so we can get more free stuff movement. whatever happened to working altruistically to save the planet? Whatever happened to joining the Peace Corps? regardless, my new iPhone/iPad calorie counting application program or App that runs on iPhone and iPad also runs on both Apple iDevices and Android devices.

Finally, there is the Windows portable device segment. These devices run Windows or a reduced function version of Windows. they also support the Adobe Flash player when surfing web sites. Similar to the Andriod devices, they run Apps recast from the iPhone and Android devices. My calorie counting App runs on the Windows devices as well.

So which device should you get? No recommendations here, because they are all useful. Selection strategies should consider that the most competitive market devices usually are cheaper. The most sold device (I think the iPhone for now) would have the most Apps and the newest Apps. The physical features and the device purchase cost would be the final selection determinants.

All intelligent phones connect to some cellular service. they are data intensive devices. The data they send and receive is from surfing web sites along with sending and receiving pictures and videos. every App sends and receives data. My calorie counting App checks food calories from an Internet resident food data base. The food data base is searched using key words or bar codes scanned from the food packaging.

Cellular service is 3rd Generation (3G) or 4th Generation (4G). The difference here is the bits per second transmission speed to the hand-held computer/phone. 3G networks the speed is measured in Kilo – bits per second (Kbps) and in 4G networks it is measured in Mega – bits per second (Mbps). 4G networks can download information from the Internet at speeds as high as 28.8 Mbps. Upload speeds are slower because less data flows up to the Internet than comes down from the Internet to the hand-held computer/phone. The higher the speed the faster the hand-held device receives data and the more functions you can do with it.

The cost of speed is another thing. The cost sometimes depends upon the volume of data communicated each month. once the limit is exceeded then you are charged more for the added volume or the transmission speed may be slowed down reducing the volume of data transferred. Unlimited 4G data is good when the computer controlled phone is operating on a 4G network. However, computer controlled phones are designed to fall back to 3G operation when reliable 4G network operation fails. The cost of data sent and received over a 3G may not be unlimited which can significantly increase your bill. this may come as an unpleasant surprise at the end of the month because you never know when your new computer controlled phone is operating in 3G mode or 4G mode. The cellular plan data charges and the availability of 4G service are also significant factors in selection of a computer controlled cellular phone.

Most Smartphones connect to wireless networks just like any other computer as well as using the cellular network. when my iPhone is in my home, it connects to my home network and uses it for data transfers. Wireless network data transfers have higher priority than cellular network data transfers. this saves money and reduces the data load on the cellular network. to have a computer controlled phone work with a home network the initial connection must be set up. Setup includes entering the password (encryption key) into the computer controlled cellular phone permitting it to connect to the wireless network. The smart cellular phone remembers the connection after making the first connection to the wireless network. some phones send their voice calls across active wireless network connections because the Internet is the ultimate carrier for all voice and data.

Smart cellular phone uses are continuing to increasing rapidly. The earliest computer controlled phone uses were voice calls, web surfing, text messaging, and some e-mail. My biggest iPhone uses are voice calls, text messaging and e-mail. The second tier applications are Weather monitoring using local maps, turn by turn GPS, calorie counting and tracking, taking photos, and now acting as a remote control for a FIOS set-top box – flat panel TV – DVD player. Smart cellular phones can also monitor your home when home monitoring devices are installed. Intelligent cellular phone uses go well beyond these beginning applications. With Internet connectivity, built-in cameras, and access to on-line data they are the Swiss Knife of personal computers. Smartphones and tablets have become an indispensable part of my life. Resistance is futile as the Borg would say.

Pete the Nerd
Your Friend on a Technically Challenged Planet

Smartphones – Resistance Is Futile


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