Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Smartphones - what a great invention!

I love my smart phone. I have a Palm Centro, running Garnet (Palm) OS and on Verizon's network. It is the single most useful technology gadget I have.

First, it is a phone and it works well. What I like most is that as I update my contacts on Palm Desktop, it sync's to my phone. That makes editing, and backing up information, very easy. In fact, all of the PIM (Personal Information Management) data is backed up on my computer and is editable through the Palm Desktop software.

This leads into the next part of the device that I love - the PIM. The Calendar and Task lists keep me organized. You are able to set reminder timers for both of these, which comes in very handy. The other PIM function I love is the Memo's function. This is basically a very simple text editor that allows you to create individual memos and categorize them. I have over 1600 memo's that I use for reference notes, lesson plans, financial information, account information, medical records, and more. You can even make them private and secured with a password.

Some other things I use my smartphone for include web surfing, email, test messaging, and viewing and editing Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files. I can also view pdf files. I have a microSD card that has all of my files from school. I use Microsoft Hot Sync and software on the phone to sync the files on my classroom computer, with the smartphone, and then my home computer. This makes my life easy by allowing me access to the files at any time, without having to have them hosted on a web site.

The other feature that I use alot now is the camera. I take pictures of magazine articles, papers, white board notes. and other things as reminders, and a way of keeping a permanent electronic record of things. The resolution is pretty good, so it works well. There are also some online services that will take the picture you to and they can convert it to text.

The phone also has Goggle maps so that I don't get lost, an MP3 player to listen to my music, games, reference information, and even a video player that allows me to load DVD movies onto the phone to watch. The small screen is actually pretty nice to watch on, and this is a nice way to pass the time when working as a paramedic and sitting at post in an ambulance.

Today's smartphones have a lot of power, features, and applications and are extremely useful devices. I'm not sure how I managed in the past without one.

I have a Palm Centro, but most other smartphones have similar features and applications. Some run on multiple networks, like Blackberry and Palm, and others are only on a certain network, like Apple. Before you purchase one, do some research and see which one that seems to work best for you.

Disclosure - While I do own stock in Palm (not a lot though), I am not trying to sell this to anyone. I tell people that a smartphone is a very personal thing and their own personal preference is what should lead them to which smartphone to purchase. Apple's iPhone, Palm, and Blackberry's are the most popular and all of them are very useful. I found Palm's to be the best fit for me and what I do. People who need a really outstanding email system usually go for Blackberry, and people who are looking to do more multi-media tasks look at the iPhone.

To each his own.


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