Tech Insider: 4 Things to Consider Before Buying a Smartphone

Technology news, reviews, tips, and advice for professionals and small businesses

The smartphone marketplace has gotten extremely crowded and competitive over the last year. This summer alone there has been a lot of news and reviews about the newer smartphone releases. Apple released the iPhone 4 in June; this week Research in Motion announced that the Torch 9800 will be available August 12 with a new BlackBerry 6 Operating System for it and for older BlackBerry phones; and last June Google launched the Android 2.2 Froyo operating system with flash that works on 4G networks.

Because they are thought of as hand-held computers integrated with mobile phones, smartphones help us to live efficiently and stay connected perpetually; an advantage for busy professionals and entrepreneurs. This week on Tech Insider we talked to Wayne Sutton, a social media and technology blogger about four things you need to take into consideration if you’re in the market to upgrade your mobile phone.

• Related reading: Photo Gallery: Droid X vs. iPhone 4

Your desktop platform. How easily does the mobile phone communicate with your desktop platform? If you’re a Window’s guy you might want to consider a Window’s phone, but if you’re a Mac user, you might want an iPhone, says Sutton. If you decide to go with something different, determine how will you get your contacts and data from your mobile device to your computer? Will you have to install software in order to sync your phone to your desktop computer or laptop? Can you sync them over web-based storage software?

The usability of the operating system. How many steps does it take to complete your core actions? Will you have simple mobile or full mobile web access? How many apps are available to you through the OS? Apple has the largest app store, but apps on the Android OS are increasing steadily. Depending on the phone, apps can also be purchased at the BlackBerry App World, Google Android Market, Nokia Ovi Store, Palm App Catalog and Windows Marketplace for Mobile. Before you buy a mobile phone check each store to see which has apps that are more relevant to your needs, says Sutton.

Multimedia capabilities. Can you easily take a photo and send it to your social networks? Can you easily shoot a video and upload it to YouTube? If you’re going to spend $200 dollars or more on a phone, you want to make sure the camera has the most updated features, says Sutton. Five megapixels are standard for the newer camera phones but several including the Sony Ericsson C905 and the Samsung Memoir both have capabilities of 8mp and up.

Fast data connection. 4G is being marketed as faster then any other connection in the USA on the market. It is important for uploading and downloading content with speed and consistency. Sprint is said to have the only 4G network in select cities with 10-12 megabits per second. T-mobile has launched High Speed Packet Access plus, which has a 4G-like connection in limited cities that PC Magazine rates as faster than Sprint’s 4G. AT&T and Verizon are still using 3G networks, but they are also working to upgrade to 4G-like speeds.

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