Is That the World in Your Pocket? (Or Are You Just Glad to see me?)

smartphones I travel a lot, and when I travel I watch people- and they are watching their phones. Just glance around you as you walk through an airport and it seems as if every otherperson is using their phone – but only a few of them are actually talking to someone. With smartphones becoming almost ubiquitous, people rely more and more on their phones in everything they do during the day. In fact even not so smart phones do a lot more than enable you to place  a phone call. Its become an oddity to see someone who actually carries a mobile phone that only makes phone calls.  Even low end phones have cameras with still and video capabilities, and Blackberry users have gone from being tech pioneers to tech apologists. (DISCLOSURE: I am a former Blackberry user, and prior to that time , as a Treo user, I coveted my friend’s Blackberry because email on that phone was a great user experience!)

Some of  the  uses are  so obvious we don’t even notice their adoption. For most people watches have become more decorative than functional because the most accurate timepiece they own is their phone. Blackberry created an entire world of businesspeople who rely on their phone to handle their email needs when they’re away from their desk, and we all send and receives texts daily. Smartphone users quickly use their phones as navigation devices, to find local businesses, and to make purchases of everything from books, to clothes, to dinner or movie tickets.

As my real estate company adopts smartphones for several users who had previously had less functional phones, I hear a lot about the challenges of using the phone. Truth be told, its easy if you just play with it a little bit. Oddly enough, I never hear complaints about the difficulty of using the iPad from new users, but I hear that complaint from mew iPhone adopters. Could it just be the perception that the phone is more complicated than the tablet? Or have those people set their expectations about phone use and the idea of doing more with the phone is somehow daunting? Or maybe its  that the phone has gotten smaller and lighter as well as more functional? If that’s the case we could be in trouble. An inventor in Canada has come out with a paper thin phone that performs all of the functions of a smart phone and is as thin as a piece of paper.

According to a survey conducted by Google 81%  of mobile users use their phones to access the Internet, 77% use their phones for search, 68% use an app, and almost half (48%) watch video on their phones.

A startling 93% of the population uses their cell phones at home – 33% of them while they’re watching TV. I won’t go into the surprisingly high percentage of people who use their cell phones in the bathroom for fear it will start a giggling fit while you read this.

Surprisingly (and scarily), according to the Google survey 1 in 3 people would actually give up chocolate rather than give up their smartphone.

The survey got me thinking about where I fall in the use of my smartphone (because sometimes it is just all about me) .  My use of my smartphone is pretty simple (aside from email, texting and calling) but really a part of how I live my life – I’ve listed my uses here in no particular order:

  1. I know I claimed no particular order but my calendar is probably the other function I consider baseline. Though I use an application called Jorte , I am a Google calendar user. It lets me follow multiple personal and business calendars  and synchronizes with every desktop, laptop and tablet I use , keeping me always informed.
  2. Location based services – I check in using Foursquare and Pegshot most frequently. Foursquare because its fun and pegshot because it lets me share location based photos easily.
  3. Maps- When my car’s GPS betrays me, or I am in a strange city, the navigation on my phone is amazingly useful. Because I use an android based phones, I get Google maps which helps me  drive, take public transportation or walk to where I need to go from my current location as determined by the phone. with a headset in my ear I can leave the phone in my pocket and it will guide me through my turns and twists without a propblem.
  4. Photos – whenever I am in a place without my camera, my phone gets called into action.
  5. Twitter and Facebook engagement – I use Hootsuite to monitor and often to respond – also the android Facebook app
  6. Search for restaurants and movies – and to buy tickets  Yelp and Fandango are my favorites for these. I rely on the Yelp reviews when I am in strange cities,  but Open Table is my favortie for making reservations on short notice. ( I will however check Foursquare for specials when I choose a place)
  7. I read on my phone when I’m in a line or stuck waiting somewhere- I use my kindle app on my phone and my iPad – I owned the Kindle first and I like the way it syncs from device to device.
  8. Evernote is a favorite for me. It lets me save photos and voice and text notes when i am in the field and need to save information to my desktop or laptop
  9. Because I travel a lot I use Tripit a lot – it organizes all of my reservations, car, air, hotel, etc. in one place with maps and weather.

In short, my phone really does carry a lot of my world – everywhere I go. What does your phone do for you?

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