Monday
September 15, 2014

2012 Smartphones: Shopping Strategy

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2012 Smartphones: Shopping Strategy

Follow these steps for a beneficial smartphone purchase.

Start With the Service: It’s the underlying cellular network that powers any smartphone. If you’re happy with the coverage and reliability of service from your present provider, your choices will be limited to the smartphones it offers or unlocked phones compatible with that network. If you’re not pleased — and a new smartphone gives you a great excuse to switch carriers — check coverage maps to make sure that new service reaches throughout your market area.

Prioritize Features and Functions: Every smartphone is multifunctional: a communicator, computer, camera,  and camcorder and more. The latest features on all fronts will only be found in the newest and most expensive products on the market, and even these might entail some compromises. Are you looking for a mobile computer that can also serve as your phone? A new phone to replace your digital camera? Is it a larger screen or a true keyboard to make for a more comfortable user experience? The more you can do to prioritize needs and investigate appropriate features accordingly, the easier it will be to narrow you choices and find a better final match.

Compare Operating Systems and Apps: The choices today are Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, Microsoft’s Windows Phone, and Research In Motion’s Blackberry OS. A visit to their app stores will be your best introduction to all that’s available to transform your smartphone into much more than a handset.

Think Real Estate Productivity: As you investigate apps, keep the focus on the highly specialized demands of real estate. Look for software tools that can help you market properties, manage and retrieve listing information, and serve and communicate with buyers and sellers. See which smartphone platforms are supported by your MLS and publishers of any real estate specialty software you want on a handset.

Consider Other Conveniences: There’s much more to the latest smartphones than their core functions. One or more of these extras might tilt you toward a particular model. Integrated OS support for social networking will appeal to those who rely on this marketing tool. The ability to shift voice and data communications to Wi-Fi may be a welcome feature where cellular service is unreliable. Phones that serve as mobile hotspots for connecting other hardware to the web can offer practical benefits.

Shop Online and in Stores: For up-to-the-minute insight on all your options in smartphones, visit the Web sites of hardware manufacturers and the cellular service providers. Manufacturer sites provide specs on all available models and links to vendors offering each. On the cellular network sites, you can compare different service bundles and learn about short-term promotions, incentives, and rebates. Don’t buy based solely on what you learn online, however. Visit stores and actually explore the features of several smartphones.

Read Reviews, Talk to Users: Product reviews from professional publications and Web sites can be the best source for an unbiased evaluation of each model.Glowing reviews posted in blogs, social networks, or retail Web sites should be considered more suspect. For the best insight and advice, talk to trusted colleagues about what they use and how a particular solution has helped their business.

Think Ahead: Expect a better smartphone will be available a year from whenever you buy. Advances are already anticipated in bendable screens, faster processors, voice recognition, and speech to/from text, camera sensors, and optics. Apple is reportedly working on an iPhone 5 for release later this year. Overseas Nokia has already shown the 808 Pure View smartphone with a 41 MP image sensor. Samsung just unveiled its Galaxy S III and Research In Motion just announced its Blackberry 10 platform for its next generation of smartphones. Additionally, if you think you may want to step up to any new smartphone before your contract runs out, know your upgrade options and be aware of early-termination fees before you sign.