5 Most Handy Questions about Smartphones

The cloud refers to storage at a remote site accessible from the Internet instead of locally on your computer. Backing up data to the cloud is convenient because you can access it from anywhere…

Here are 5 most common questions about smartphones.

How is a Smarphone different from a standard cell phone?

There’s no official definition, but smartphones let you connect to the Internet, manage email, run software (called apps), and often have robust multimedia capabilities to play videos and music and let you take pictures and record video.

What is a “platform,” and why should I care?

A platform is the phone’s operating system (much like Windows is an operating system for PCs) and determines what features the phone has and what apps it runs. Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android are two examples. Because Apple controls both the operating system and production of the phones that use it, upgrading to the latest version of iOS is easy as long as your hardware is fast enough to support it. Android is different because each smartphone manufacturer using it can modify the core operating system and doesn’t always make updates of the latest version available to its customers.

What hardware specifications should I worry about?

The simple answer is to not get hung up on the specs and instead find a phone that does what you need it to do. Does it work with your email? Does it run the programs you want to use? Does it integrate with your existing services such as Netflix? Is it available from a carrier that provides great coverage in your area? Does it have adequate battery life for the type of things you plan to use it for? If the answer to any of those questions is no, it could be the fastest smartphone on the planet and be useless to you.

The said phones, with 1GB of RAM are nice because they can run multiple programs simultaneously more smoothly than can phones with less RAM. Also look for dual-core processors, as they can dramatically boost the speed of apps designed to take advantage of them. Finally, 16GB of memory is plenty for most users who don’t plan to haul enormous music or video libraries around with them, though 32GB or more is better if you plan to use a lot of apps, music, and video.

What’s the difference between 3G and 4G?

There refer to the speed of the cell carrier’s wireless data network. 3G stands for Third Generation standards and 4G for Fourth Generation standards. Each company implements these standards in different ways, so maximum speeds vary. In general, 4G networks let you download data at least 10 times faster than 3G networks do. This is great for nabbing large files or streaming high quality video, although battery life often takes a bit of a hit when 4G is activated.

Some smartphones will let me use the cloud for backup. What does that mean, and should I use that feature?

The cloud refers to storage at a remote site accessible from the Internet instead of locally on your computer. Backing up data to the cloud is convenient because you can access it from anywhere, and most companies employ encryption and backup redundancy to protect your data. If you don’t have an unlimited data plan, set up the cloud backup to only operate when the phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network. Otherwise, you risk blowing through your data plan without doing much of anything with the phone.

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