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Smart Phones

What are Smart Phones?

A smartphone is a device which is built to combine the functions of a standard mobile phone with those of a computer.

Smartphones combine a cellular device with the features of a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant). They have an operating system and contain local data storage. More and more features have been added into smartphones over the past few years, and today’s smartphones come equipped with many cameras, allow the users to access the internet, message, send and receive emails, schedule meetings, and of course, call contacts. With smartphones, the users can install third party software on that phone, just like they would do with a normal computer.

Because they contain an operating system, smartphones are more dynamic and user-friendly than "standard" mobile phones. Their technology should not be underestimated either, with many smartphones featuring cutting edge features, and processing power to rival a computer or laptop.

The user can modify the functionality of the smartphone which also means that these devices are more susceptible to viruses and malware. In addition, as users are more likely to connect their smartphones to other computers, it also means there is greater potential for viruses to be shared onto other devices. Home users can help to prevent this from happening by having anti-virus software installed on their computers/laptops and on their mobile devices. Many firms providing anti virus software (such as McAfee) often include multiple device options as part of the licence, meaning a number of devices within the home can all benefit from the protection offered by the software. As devices such as smartphones can be simply plugged into computers via USB connections, this also represents additional risk to businesses. They will themselves have various protection strategies in place, which may include the deactivation of USB ports.

Common problems

  • Voice and data plans
  • Mobile network operators have designed multiple voice, messaging and data plans and require smartphone users to subscribe to them. In simple terms, a smartphone user will need to subscribe to a standard “voice plan” to be able to make and receive calls using their smartphone, but they will also need to include a data subscription if they are to connect to the internet, browse e-mails, etc. without relying solely on either public Wi-Fi facilities or their own Wi-Fi if they have it at home.
  • Battery life issues
  • The more features added to a smartphone, the shorter the battery life will be. A standard mobile phone’s battery would generally last a couple of days or more on a single battery charge, whereas a smartphone may sometimes only last for a couple of hours under heavy use. When a user buys a smartphone, they typically receive a charging kit containing a car adapter, a USB connector to allow the phone to recharge from a USB-port on a PC, or laptop or in the car, as well as the standard power pack. Many phones also now use wireless charging, and charging pads available as after market accessories, or in cars, or some fast food outlets are becoming increasingly popular. Solar power banks are becoming increasingly popular, allowing the users to recharge multiple devices from a charge stored in a battery pack and which has been derived from solar energy.
  • Phone freezing
  • At one time, if your phone froze on you the simplest solution was to remove the battery. With the majority of phones now being completely sealed, this is rarely an option these days. Having a phone freeze is both frustrating and inconvenient. The easiest way to solve the problem is to look up solutions on the internet (possibly difficult if your phone is your only access and is frozen!). However, there are some options to remember that you can try - on any mobile try holding the power button for 10 to 20 seconds and see if anything happens, if nothing happens other options, depending on the phone, can be to hold the power button and at the same time press and release the volume up button or the home screen button (if there is one). It is always worth looking up and noting troubleshooting issues when you get a new phone and (hopefully) before you have any problems with it.

Blackberries

The BlackBerry was introduced at the end of the last century, and by 2008/2010 had become a default option for many users. They offered the ability for employees to keep in touch with their business whilst out of the office - enabling them to send and receive emails, and connect with the internet - as well as using calendars and day planners, and address books, on top of the standard requirement of being a phone.

BlackBerry failed to keep up with their competition, notably from Apple and Google, and in 2016 announced that they would stop making their own devices. Although BlackBerry itself no longer produces phones, they are now made under licence. The main feature of the "traditional" BlackBerry phone was a physical Qwerty keypad (and it was the shape and feel of the keypad that lent it its name, after the fruit). This is retained on the new phones, but a major difference is that they now use the Android operating system. In a time of ever developing technologies, and a saturated smartphone market, the USP of the physical keypad may seem an anachronism, but time will tell.

Technology at the leading edge

With the development and introduction of technologies continuing at a pace, demand for support and guidance from customers and employees alike has never been greater.

Being able to resolve issues and provide instant support is a hugely valuable asset.

Whether you are looking to learn more about the devices you or your family use at home every day, or are looking to start or progress in an IT career, or want to provide better on site support for your business, we can help.

Enrol on an IT course today to learn more and be more capable of choosing and fixing problems with technology you use every day.

If you are a business owner, have you ever thought of enrolling your staff on a course as part of their development pathway and to enable them to better support your business?

Our courses are studied by distance learning, and taught by highly knowledgeable expert tutors. If you want to know, why not get in touch with one of our specialist Information Technology tutors today? They will be pleased to help you.

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