I’ve been a fan of Android phones ever since my first contact with one a couple of years ago – and yet, at the time I didn’t even realise Android was an operating system. These days I’ve got a much deeper understanding, and am up to date on almost all of the latest news as it comes out – in fact, if something happens and I’m not aware of it almost instantly, I feel rather embarrassed.
But I was a happy smartphone user even before I was an Android geek, so I have to wonder: are smartphones only for tech geeks, or are they targeted to everyone?
Okay, sure, some high-end phones are targeted to tech geeks. I mean, I really don’t see my parents using smartphones. Yes, my father has my old LG Cookie KP501, but that barely counts as a smartphone; it has 3G connectivity, but that’s pretty much it. It lags, the resistive touchscreen is nearly busted, and I want to cremate it every time I use it to show something to my dad. And does he use it to its full potential? No.
I’m not saying that you have to be a rocket scientist to own or use a smartphone. I simply don’t see my father browsing on a such a small device, playing games on it, or listening to music. Similarly, one of my roommates told me that his mother bought an Orange Boston – a very low spec-ed smartphone, but an Android powered device nonetheless – and only uses it for Gmail and as a phone. She’s not using Wi-Fi, 3G for browsing or any other features a smartphone has to offer.
What about my roommates themselves? Well, one has recently bought an HTC ChaCha. He’s kind of a Facebook addict and shares everything, all the time. But that’s not all he uses it for. Recently, we had to meet someone in an unfamiliar part of town. What did he do? He fired up Google Maps and had his route planned out in a couple of seconds.
My other roommate, on the other hand, has a Samsung Galaxy S II. A monster of a phone. Moves so much better than my LG Optimus One. (Why am I even comparing the two? Of course, it’s faster than mine; it’s one of the top handsets available.) He uses his phone for games and an alternative Internet source when our dorm connection is down. He’s not a tech geek either, but has one of the most powerful Androids on the market.
I consider myself a tech geek. So why don’t I have a high-end device, you might ask? I really don’t need it. I use my phone for app reviews, e-mail, occasional photos (generally landscapes), music and some games. I do browse, but not so much that I need a bigger screen. I do write on it, but I’ve become used to tapping out paragraphs on the keyboard. Oh, and let’s not forget, I use it as phone, too. I’d say that I use my smartphone to its full potential.
I doubt anyone uses all the features on their phone. Some people don’t read ebooks, some don’t use IM, some don’t record videos, some don’t listen to music… it doesn’t matter. A smartphone is like a modern Swiss army knife: the jack of all trades, but a master of none. If you want to listen to music and take quick photos on the go, carrying around two separate devices would be a pain.
Bottom line: are smartphones for geeks? No. Smartphones are for people that need a pocket device that can do more than one thing. You don’t need to be a tech-savvy, Facebook-crazy, hardcore gamer to benefit from a high-tech device with Facebook integration and a powerful gaming chip – but if you’re only planning on making calls, then save your money and buy a regular feature phone.