I was recently approached by a good friend who needs help as a first time smartphone owner. Here are the basics of what you need to know.
I’ve been in mobile devices before they were mobile. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the past over the past 18 years it’s what makes a smartphone smart; and it can be summed up in one word, really: Integration.
Smartphones are only smart because they take information from one part of your life – your address book for example, and allow you to make not only phone (voice) calls with it, but make video calls, send emails, get directions and have your mobile device navigate you to a friend’s house from some place you’ve never been before. It’s smart because it connects the dots between places you never thought even had dots, let alone places.
If you’ve never owned a smartphone before, they can be a bit daunting. Heck… they can be down-right scary. Over the next five days, I’m going to put my iOS vs. Android vs. Windows Phone comparisons aside and instead run through a few how-to’s on how to get into a smartphone if you’ve never had one before. I’m going to cover the following:
Making and Receiving Phone Calls – How to make sure you push the right button or slide the right thingy in the right direction so you can take the call. If you miss it, you’ll also want to know how to get to your voice mail, how to listen to, respond to and manage voice messages.
Messaging (Texting, Multimedia and email) – How to make sure you send the right notes and the right pictures to the right people, because …well, with great power comes great responsibility. In the wrong hands, that information can be used for great evil. Believe me, not everyone can handle, “all this…” and I don’t think I want them to, either.
Pictures and Home Video – Let’s face it… You have a smartphone because it’s easier to take and send pictures of the kids with one device. You’re not going to carry your digital point-n-shoot camera or DSLR with you everywhere you go. Your kids, however, will be adorable and cute despite your current state of preparedness. Most smartphones have cameras that are just as good as, or better than, many high-priced point-n-shoot digital cameras; and they take decent video, too. Let’s figure out how to use it and share it with the world. This section may overlap slightly with Messaging, above.
Music and Movies – You’ve spent years refining your music library. You’ve got movies to occupy the kids during that long car ride to grandma’s house. Let’s figure out how to get your multimedia on your smartphone. This is going to differ from platform to platform (desktop/laptop PC or Mac) and between Mobile OS to Mobile OS.
Apps – While we’re walking through the ecosystem (I’ll cover that term very briefly in this section), let’s realize that your smartphone is probably more powerful than the PC that took you (or your parents, depending on how old you are) through high school and college. It’s a mini PC that you can take everywhere, and it can do more than you think. Here, I’m going to show you how to get apps on your smartphone. You figure out how to use them; though I will cover Facebook slightly. It’s integrated into all three Mobile Operating Systems pretty deeply.
Local Search and Navigation – You don’t need a dedicated GPS unit or a phone book any more. Your smartphone CAN get you there from here, even if you’ve never been there or here before. I’m going to cover Google Maps and Apple Maps in this section. They’re close enough that the one set of instructions should get you where you wanna go, but I will likely have two sets of screen shots…
If you can get through these basic how-to’s without a bloody nose, you should be good to go. At that point, you’ll have mastered the basics and should be savvy enough to branch out into other areas on your own. In fact, if you can get through all of the above, you won’t be a beginner any longer and should consider yourself pretty proficient.
However, if there’s something you want me to cover, hit me up in the comments and let me know what it is. The only thing I ask is that you let me know what kind of smartphone you have (iPhone, Android or Windows Phone) so I can give you the right kind of instructions. It may also help to know what mobile carrier you have here in the States, and if you’re using pre or post paid service. Depending on which one you use, things may be a bit different…
Hold on to your hats kids. Your world… its about to get a bit bigger.