Understanding Smartphone Technology – The Newbie Point of View #VZWA

I have mentioned more than once that I am on the tech challenged side of the table.  In the first webinar of tips and tricks with the Verizon team there was a prize for the person that sent an answer to a question via text the fastest.  5 minutes after the the winner was announced, I was still trying to figure out where the text widget was located.  No.  I’m not kidding.

I eventually found the text widget, which I thought was kinda funny since my sample phone is just that.  A trial phone with a fresh number, not my current number transferred.  I didn’t have any contacts in the new phone, so who was going to text, now that I found the text icon?  Out of pure curiosity, I opened the icon, and amazingly enough, saw a full list of contacts!  My phone had synced through my Facebook account.  I didn’t have to do anything!  Very cool!

Most everyone I know owns a smartphone.  It doesn’t hurt the odds, that I know quite a few other bloggers and social media addicts.  But what about the other percentage of people, like my own husband, who has no interest in Twitter, Pinterest, or <gasp> even Facebook.  The decision to transition to a smartphone can be completely overwhelming.

I am trialing a Droid Incredible 4G LTE by HTC, but what exactly do all those letters mean?  The term 4G LTE is really two terms. 4G means the fourth generation of data technology for cellular networks, following 3G (the 3rd generation).  LTE stands for Long Term Evolution which is short for a very technical process for high-speed data for phones and other mobile devices.  It allows users to download more pictures, watch movies, and even video chat on the go via the fastest service available today.  No more of that annoying buffering message while trying watch your favorite shows or movies online!

I will admit to being a bit bleary eyed in the mornings of this past weekend.  I’ve been up way too late watching past episodes of my favorite show Eureka via the Droid Incredible.  which brings us to the next daunting task of any smartphone.  Determining the data plan.  EEEEK.

Even though I am a new to the understanding the technology behind smartphones, I do know that data refers to anything other regular text messages and phone calls.  Everything else, like downloading apps, my favorite food pictures, checking email, or watching Eureka requires data usage.  So how does anyone know how much data they will need when they go out to buy a smartphone and data plan?

That answer is easier than trying to explain LTE…you just check out the awesome Verizon Data Usage Calculator!  The calculator allows you to add up the ways you plan to use your smartphone (or tablet), and it helps you estimate the amount of data you would need for the month.  Once you know how much data you need, you can pick the best plan.  Much easier than just guessing and either running out of data and facing overcharges, or buying too much and feeling like it’s a waste.  Plus if you have more than one data user, you can update to the new Share Everything Plan.  With the Share Everything Plan, you get unlimited talk and text messaging with a variety of data options to be shared among multiple devices.  Score!

Most of us can get away with 2 GB or less, but I had no idea what I could actually DO with 2 GB of data.  I can send 100 emails, surf 50 web pages, and stream 15 minutes of music every day for the whole month, and would only be a little over 1 GB. Watching video on your smartphone or tablet is where the data really starts to add up.  If video streaming is part of your daily routine, chances are you will need more data in your plan.  Having 4 GB of data a month would allow a user to watch 300 minutes of video a month (the equivalent of ten 30-minute sitcoms), along with all the other data usage listed above for a little over 1 GB.  Determining your data needs takes a little effort, but in the end it will definitely be worth it knowing you have a plan that suits your realistic needs.

What’s the number one way you use data on your smartphone?

Disclosure: I was selected to participate in the Verizon Wireless Ambassador Program. I was provided with a wireless device and three months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product. Stay tuned as I continue to share more cool features on Droid Incredible 4G LTE by HTC in the coming months

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