So you’re ready to take the plunge and join the millions of other smartphone users. But how do you choose among the variety of phones and operating platforms on the market? This article provides tips that will help you choose the right smartphone for your needs.
Look at market share: As of July 2011, these smartphone platforms have the largest market share in the U.S.:
- Google, Android (41.8%)
- Apple, iPhone (27%)
- RIM, BlackBerry (21.7%)
- Microsoft, Windows Mobile/Windows Phone (5.7%)
Of these platforms, Google Android and Apple iPhone market share are increasing, while RIM BlackBerry and Microsoft market share are decreasing.*
Find out what platforms your cell phone company offer: If you’re planning on staying with the same company, you’re going to be limited by the platforms your company offers. While most companies offer Android, BlackBerry, and Microsoft smartphones, only a few offer the Apple iPhone.
If you’re thinking of switching cell phone companies, make sure the company you choose offers excellent coverage in the areas you frequent. Though they would like you to think otherwise, not all cell phone companies’ coverage and the signal strength in their coverage areas is equal. All web-based applications (including Main Street Software’s Avenue) perform best with a strong signal. Do the research, look at companies’ websites, and ask your friends and colleagues who they use and if they’re happy. Remember to ask specifically about how their smartphone applications perform with a particular cell phone service.
Figure out what you want from your smartphone: If you want your phone to do everything under the sun, you’re going to want a good selection of applications (apps). App developers are going to put their efforts toward the platforms that have the most market share, so to get the widest variety of choices in terms of apps, you may want to stick with the platforms with the most market share.
If you’re only going to use your smartphone for basic tasks such as calling, texting, checking your email, and occasionally checking the weather, pretty much any smartphone will fit your needs. If you’re planning on using any web-based apps (including Avenue), you’re going to need a phone that can provide good performance. Remember that smartphones are actually mini computers. Faster processor speed translates into better performance (provided the cell phone signal is strong).
Do your homework: There are many online sites for researching smartphones. One we particularly like is phonescoop.com. This website provides the latest news about all types of phones, allowing you to get the latest information, compare phones, and get ratings.
Ask other smartphone users: Every body has an opinion. And while your husband’s mother’s best friend’s next door neighbor may not want the same things from their phone as you do, important information can be gained from doing a little casual asking around. You may uncover that one quirky feature that could end up being the deal breaker for you, or find out about an app you just can’t live without. Figuring out which platforms have it may help you narrow down your choices.
Try it out: Before you buy your smartphone, find out what the company’s return policy is. Most companies offer exchanges on phones within the first couple of weeks of purchasing. Make sure you have time to devote to using your phone extensively within the return period so that if you don’t like it, you can return it and get something else.
*Statistical information provided by the following article: comScore Reports July 2011 U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share
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