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The Rapid Evolution of Smart Phones

6/1/2012 Smartphones have changed the worldIf you told me 25 years ago I would be working for one of the fasting growing companies in one of the fastest growing industries I would have been shocked. If you followed it up by saying I would be writing a blog for that company, I would have asked you what a blog was. Then I would have been amazed; probably as amazed as I am about that great little item called the smartphone. Anyone who knows me knows I am an old-schooler at heart. I love the sound of vinyl, am crazy about the look of just about everything made in the 50s and am instantly interested if I hear the word, “retro” associated to anything. The fact that I cannot leave the house without my smartphone (even to go for a walk around the block) speaks strongly to how much the smartphone has become the must-have item for anyone.

Smartphones have grown at a rate not seen since the personal computer, and even that analogy does not come close to giving you the scope of the explosion. Last year, 85.2 million personal computers were sold compared to 491.4 million smartphones. Obviously the ability to carry what is essentially a personal computer with you wherever you go has a lot to do with it. Fifty-four years ago, the transistor radio was the greatest thing since sliced bread and untethered us from our homes and cars. Today, you can stream a radio station over your smartphone, or even listen to every song you own stored on your network at home or somewhere in a cloud. Talk about untethered!

By having all of this power by your side as you go about your day, the smartphone has become more essential by helping us when we need it most. Who hasn’t been out and needed to find out how late a business is open to determine if it’s worth driving across town? With the normal mobile phone you could only call if you had the number. With the smartphone, you can look up the company, get the number or, better yet, purchase the item you want and have it ready by the time you get there. On top of that, it will guide us safely to the front door.

But where I think the smartphone earns our love is its ability to keep us entertained during the mundane times of life. Sitting in the dentist’s office or standing in line at the DMV was about as excruciating a task there was until the advent of the smartphone. While waiting your turn you can find out the name of the actor who played Roscoe P. Coltrane in The Dukes of Hazzard (James Best), who sings that cool song in that beer commercial (“Jaan Pehechan Ho” by Mohammed Rafi), and when the first blog was written (1998 -- I told you I would have asked what a blog was 25 years ago).

The only problem is that, like most things, the next great version is just around the corner. You could stay with the version you have, but we all know that the itch to get the next thing is always there to be scratched. And, unlike the personal computer where form is not a factor, changes to the smartphone can really make a difference. Better quality music players, larger/smaller sizes and better responding touchscreens make the new generations of smartphones more enticing than ever.

But what are you to do when you want the newest smartphone and you just “agreed” to stay with this one for two years? You know you’re going to get the new one. Now don’t put the old one in that drawer with the flashlight, a couple screwdrivers and an assortment of batteries. A better idea is to take advantage of a company that will buy your old device from you so someone else can benefit from the pal that kept you sane while waiting in line. These groups receive the smartphone you took such good care of (and even the ones that enjoyed life as fully as you did) and give you money to invest in the next device that will load videos faster, fling birds farther and tell you more quickly how far it is from the Earth to the moon (225,632 miles). I can’t wait for my next dentist appointment..


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