Making more use of smartphones

Once more about flash and entertainment than real utility, smartphones are starting to play a much more central role in everyday life. Of course the entertainment element is still very important, from watching streaming videos to listening to music, but with apps for everything, smartphones are becoming ever more indispensible.

Users of these devices now instinctively turn to their phones for tasks that previously they would only have accomplished on a computer, over the phone or in person. These tasks include surfing the Web, obtaining driving directions, connecting via social media, and even shopping.

In the US, just shy of 90 million people own smartphones and due to smartphones being close at hand at all times, anyone looking to work with this captive audience had better put some thought into addressing the needs of smartphone users.

In fact, smartphones have begun to take over where Blackberry has left off, and although RIM, the manufacturer of Blackberry, has been scrambling to catch up recently, the company has quite probably left it too late if it aims to compete with the likes of the newly launched Apple iPhone 4S or the Samsung Galaxy S2.

A large part of the success of these devices is the wide range of applications available for the phones, expanding the potential uses well beyond that originally envisioned for the design.

In fact, much of the choice of device depends on whether you want an iOS (Apple) device or an Android device. For those with an extensive collection of iTunes content, going with an iOS device makes a lot more sense, as integrating content across platforms can occasionally be a bit of a headache, at least for those who are not quite tech savvy.

However, where Android devices once suffered from a dearth of apps, this has changed of late, and the availability of Android across a number of different manufacturers’ devices does present consumers with a wider choice. It is important to check up on which version of Android your device runs, as not all devices can be updated to the latest version.

With easy access to email, calendar information and the Internet, smartphones have made great inroads in business use, especially with the use of customised apps that can give these devices Swiss Army knife-like versatility.

Of course this versatility also extends to tablets, where the bigger size may be more useful depending on the application.

For those who spend most of their time in the office, the likelihood of damage to a smart device is not too great, apart from the occasional close encounter with spilled coffee.

However, for those who spend a lot of time outdoors or on the move, a proper cover that provides at least some level of protection is vital. These can range from simple stick-on screen protectors to drop proof, water proof cases that will keep a phone or tablet safe under all but the most testing circumstances.

In terms of keeping in touch, smartphones also make it possible to do so in a truly multimedia fashion, in conjunction with the 4G mobile networks available from local service providers. This allows for the upload of photos and videos to social media platforms like Facebook regardless of where you are in the Cayman Islands, so your friends can instantly like your latest adventure.

Of course, as always, keep the privacy settings on your social media accounts in mind – the last thing you want to do is post content over the weekend that could earn you a serious talking to when you arrive at work on Monday morning.