October 10th - 2010

WIRED OFFICE Which smart phone is best for you?

Gone are the days of sitting around in your office waiting for an important call or for that essential email to arrive.

Gone are the days of sitting around in your office waiting for an important call or for that essential email to arrive. Thanks to today’s smart phone technology, REALTORS® are more mobile and connected than ever before.

In addition to being a cell phone, smart phones offer calendars, data and documents storage, Internet, and a host of other applications. But are some smart phones smarter than others and how do you decide which one is best for you?

When researching your smart phone purchase, some important criteria to consider:

  • Design including size, weight, screen size and resolution
  • Ease of use
  • Multimedia - quality of built-in camera, ability to play and record video
  • Functionality. Organizational features such as calendars and task lists and ability to sync with your computer. Phone features such as speakerphone, three-way calling, call waiting, etc.
  • Internet access and web browsing
  • Email access
  • Battery life
  • Network (e.g., Rogers, Bell, Telus, etc.)
  • Third Party Applications
  • Price

You should also consider your personal preferences:

  • Keyboard or touch screen?
  • Is email for business or personal purposes?
  • Will you be using your smart phone for social networking?
    Key players

Currently the major players in the smart phone market are Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s BlackBerry each of which has their own proprietary operating system. There are also smart phones from various manufacturers which feature Google’s Android operating system. While the Microsoft Windows phone operating system hasn’t been a serious contender to-date, Microsoft has great hopes for their Windows Phone 7 which they hope to launch by the holiday season of 2010.

The iPhone takes full advantage of web connectivity, applications, and personal media which you can also use for business connectivity such as e-mail and calendaring. The number of applications for the iPhone by far exceeds the number of applications available for any other smart phone at this time. The screen resolution is excellent. While the iPhone 4 has had some recent bad press about reception issues (e.g., dropped calls), putting the iPhone 4 into a case addresses the problem and it also protects the phone.

BlackBerry phones are a smart choice if you have high security requirements, need to manage lots of devices, or don't want a touch-based screen keyboard. One of the main advantages to BlackBerry smart phones is the support for corporate e-mail, calendars, and contacts. If you use the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, you’ll be able to access these services regardless of whether your business uses Microsoft Exchange or IBM's Lotus Notes. Blackberry phones are the most enterprise-capable mobile platform for business connectivity.

Android is a relative newcomer to the smart phone group. Most of the phones that currently run Android and are available in Ontario, are manufactured by HTC and Motorola.

Android’s customizable widgets are superior to any other platform at this time. For example, there is a widget that allows you to turn off wifi, Bluetooth, and data services -- a definite plus for usability. Google’s free services such as GMail, Google Tasks, Talk, and Voice easily integrate into the Android OS. Because each Google service is a separate application, it can be added, deleted, or updated individually without needing an entire operating system update.

So which smart phone is the right one for you? It helps if you can prioritize and evaluate the features you want. While the perception by some is that the iPhone is primarily for consumers, Android phones are most often used by “geeks,” and the BlackBerry is mostly for business users, these are very broad generalizations. Decide which mobile network you want to be on – this may affect which smart phones are available to you. Take a “hands-on” approach. Go and see the actual smart phones and pick them up. Can you view the screen without a problem? Is the screen large enough? Is the resolution satisfactory? Do you prefer a keyboard or touch screen? Are the keys an adequate size? What types of applications are of interest to you? Will your smart phone be primarily for personal or business use? It pays to take your time and do your homework so that you are comfortable with your smart phone. After all, it is a crucial communication tool.

For help in selecting the right smart phone for you, contact OREA’s account representative at Rogers Wireless, Colin Moore. Colin can provide you with the assistance you need to find the smart phone that best suits your needs, while taking advantage of the group discount offered to OREA Members. Colin can be reached by phone at 905-409-8587 or toll free 1-866-650-9537 or via email colinmoore@rogers.com.

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