10 Things You Must Know About Smart Phones
Choosing a Smartphone is not a one-size-fits-all decision. With a huge selection of brands, carriers and OS types, you must know about Smartphones to make a decision that fits your needs. Many companies manufacture Smartphones using different processors, specifications and operating systems. By paying attention to features, battery life and Internet connectivity, you can narrow down your selections from the sometimes overwhelming number of choices available.
1. Google’s Android OS
Android is an open-source OS produced by Google. This is the most popular Smartphone OS because Google allows manufacturers to build devices using Android without permission. Many carriers, such as Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and US Cellular offer many brands of Android Smartphones. Android has a huge selection of widgets, free and paid apps with cross-platform functionality and multitasking ability. A huge pro is that Android supports the newest technologies such as social networking, 4G LTE, mobile hotspot and HD screen resolution. The main con to Android is its vulnerability to malware.
2. Microsoft’s Windows OS
The Microsoft Windows OS is easy to use and available on many devices. People familiar with the Windows operating system used on many computers make this Smartphone OS easy to learn. Microsoft Office, Zune marketplace and Xbox Live integrate seamlessly with Windows Smartphones. The camera even launches when the phone is in sleep mode. Unfortunately, app selection is limited and Windows phones cannot create a mobile hotspot.
3. Apple’s iOS
Apple’s iOS has the easiest to use interface with simplified hardware and software integration. The Apple brand only licenses iOS for use on its Apple-manufactured Smartphones. Thousands of free and paid high-quality Apps are available via iTunes. The iOS in Apple’s iPhone can function as a mobile hotspot. Social networking and multitasking are more difficult using iOS. The 4G network does not function with iOS making this a big setback for the operating system.
4. RIM BlackBerry OS
RIMs BlackBerry Smartphone used to be a forerunner in the mobile device market, especially for business purposes. The technology is trailing behind Windows, iOS and Android, but there are some perks to the BlackBerry such as the physical keyboard, longest battery life and highest level security for Email and the Internet. Some cons to consider are the low-resolution screen, slow processor and lack of apps. BlackBerry OS cannot create a mobile hotspot. The RIM servers supply all Email and Internet services. While RIM offers the most secure data, recent server outages mean customers go without connectivity until RIM repairs the outage.
5. Processor Types
The processor in a Smartphone determines how fast it can run applications, multitask and load Web pages. New Android Smartphones have dual-core processors, and quad-core processors are beginning to emerge. A single-core processor running Android does not have the capacity to run today’s apps and connect to the Internet quickly. Windows OS still runs a single-core processor, which is suitable for many Windows applications, but can be slow when connecting to the network. The iPhone features the swift A4 dual-core processor.
6. System and Processing Memory
The higher the amount of system memory means greater operating performance. Android devices should have a minimum of 512MB of RAM, but 1GB is the standard for system memory. Storage memory determines how many applications and the amount of data storable on the Smartphone. The iPhones and Windows phones have built-in memory that is not usually expandable. General sizes for the iPhone are 8GB, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacity. Most Android phones have a microSD memory card slot for expandable storage.
7. Screen Resolution and Size
Most Smartphone screens are at least 3.5-inches in height. It helps to have a large screen when Web surfing, playing games and watching video. Screen resolution is more important than screen size because it determines the picture quality. Any phone with less than 800 x 480 pixels will not produce a clear picture. Newer Smartphones have 1280 x 720 pixels for High-Definition viewing. Apple’s screen has the proprietary Retina display with 960 x 640 pixels in its 3.5-inch display. Screen types also vary based on the viewing angle, contrast and viewing in sunlight. Look at the screen from the side to see how far it can turn before the screen image washes out.
8. Camera and Video Options
Cameras come standard on almost all Smartphones. Lower-end devices start with a 4-MP camera, while higher-end Smartphones have a 16-MP camera. Many new Android phones shoot 720p quality video, and the new iPhone 5 shoots pictures at 5-MP and videos in full 1080p high definition. Other factors, like lens quality, low-light photo shoots and how fast the camera loads are equally as important as the number of megapixels.
9. Network Speed Matters
The Smartphone network speed determines how fast the device connects to the Internet. The iPhone and BlackBerry only support the 3G network. Most Android and some Windows Smartphones use at least the 4G network, but not all 4G networks are the same. The 4G LTE network offers download speeds of five to 12 Mbps, with two to five Mbps upload speeds. AT&T and Verizon offer the 4G LTE network, but statistics show that Verizon is the forerunner in coverage. T-Mobile plans to unleash a 4G LTE network in 2013. T-Mobile currently runs a 42-Mbps HSPA+ network with good download speeds but disappointing upload speeds. The bottom of the list in terms of network speed and coverage is Sprint’s WiMax network that can be difficult to access inside.
10. Will the Battery Last?
The average Smartphone battery rates at 1,600 to 2,000mAh, while the market lead goes to the 3,300mAh Motorola Droid Razr Maxx battery. This rating determines how long the battery lasts when fully charged, but other factors determine battery life. The OS, software and network determine how much juice the phone uses. Windows phone batteries last due to efficient data ping rates while many Android phones last an average of four hours under standard use. The 3G network uses the least battery power, the 4G uses moderate power, and the 4G LTE phones run the battery down faster than other networks.