April 22, 2010
I don’t know why it took months of heavy internal debate to figure out that the $150 phone and $30/month unlimited data plan charge were worth it for a smartphone. Looking back, I wish I would have upgraded from my old school flip phone ages ago.
I have Verizon and bought the Droid Eris a couple of months ago. I couldn’t be happier. It makes me money, because it saves me time. And everyone knows the adage “time is money.” Plus, it keeps me entertained. Here are my top 10 reasons why:
- Social media: When you can keep up with your Facebook, Twitter, blog, LinkedIn and other outlets throughout the day, you’re saving “response time” that you would normally have to put in when you get home from work or whatever other commitments you have. Get the WordPress app for easy blogging. Get the Facebook app for easy poking. You may not use these outlets to brand yourself, but either way, the reality is that it’s good etiquette nowadays to promptly respond when people get in touch. At a seminar I went to, Rodney Rumford seemed to coin the term “social karma,” and said to increase it, “Share your knowledge until it hurts.” And this can be a huge time suck, unless you can share on the go.
- Pandora: I love music, but I’m broke. I can’t afford to buy all the music I like off iTunes. What an unfortunate reality. Pandora is a great free option (at least for the basic version) and the best part about it is that, with a smartphone, I can listen to Pandora at the gym or in my car when I get bored of the music on my iPod. I was going to upgrade to an iPod with more memory, but now I have no real need to. My smartphone holds 8GB of music and, with streaming music on Pandora, there’s always something fresh to stimulate my ear drums.
- Checking e-mail: I used to hate long lines, intermissions, walks to class, visits to the DMV, etc. but now this down time is filled with time-saving and money-making activities. I can immediately respond to people who need resume work, my students who forgot what the homework was, potential job openings, etc. all while I’m on-the-go. Or just reply to those messages that have been sitting in my inbox, marked with that handy yellow star, for a few days.
- Call/text history: My old phone only held up to 50 text messages, and then I had empty the "trash"! It was so annoying! And there were always those few I wanted to keep and reflect on (directions to somewhere, a cute compliment from a guy, etc) so I’d have to pick and choose which to delete. However, on my Droid, I can save as many messages as I want, and they are kept in a single thread for each contact. And my call history with a specific person is tracked in an easy-to-grasp format. Plus, it prompts me to save random numbers that call. It’s especially great for single people!
- Bump: Another great feature for single people. Store all of your contact information, and when you meet someone new (if they have the app), all you have to do is literally bump your phones together to exchange information. This is great in a loud bar where you are bound to misinterpret one of their digits. I can’t wait until everyone has it.
- YouTube: When I’m bored, I turn to YouTube. Even before I put the TV on. The opportunities are endless, and it’s another great way to pass the time with a good laugh. A video can be a great conversation starter too if there’s ever a dull moment.
- Camera: I can take pictures if I forget my camera, and if I ever lose or break my camera, I have the perfect backup option. Pretty soon, I don’t think there’ll even be a need for both. Plus, you can’t always bring cameras into concerts, but you can always bring your cell phone!
- Fandango: Never again get to a movie, only to find that it’s sold out. Check times and buy tickets in advance, on-the-go. This is great app for guys to make sure the first date goes smoothly.
- Shazam: You never know when you're going to hear an awesome song. Shazam listens to the music and “tags” it. It’ll tell you the song title, the artist, and even provide an iTunes link to buy it. Better yet, it automatically saves it to a list of songs you’ve “Shazammed” so that you can sort through them later.
- Directions: I am notorious for having no sense of direction. I used to depend on print outs of MapQuest and Google Maps directions and, then of course, have those annoying moments when I would accidently leave the directions at home. Whenever you have your smartphone (and reception), you have directions. Don’t waste money on a GPS system, and don’t waste time driving around trying to find the nearest Starbucks, Staples, or wherever else you might frequent.
Don’t let the monthly Internet charge scare you away. Get a smartphone—any smartphone.
If you want to hear from the other side of the grass, read Lindsey's article.
Also, if you’re in college, read this article about apps for college students.
Do you love your smartphone? What apps do you recommend?
Want to contribute by becoming an iGrad author yourself? Let us know!