Author Topic: Smartphones and Tablets for Semi Luddites  (Read 8618 times)

The Gorn

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Smartphones and Tablets for Semi Luddites
« on: December 30, 2013, 04:55:19 PM »
I have some of that myself, no tablet, no smartphone (think I'm gonna remedy that one) but none of it's because I'm scared of it, I just don't see the need. 

Yeah, I could say exactly the same things for myself. But I have both.

As a technology worker you are obliged to learn and somewhat master these devices  - because your users will be adopting them.

Buy cheapies which are plentiful for both kinds of device. Lots of low end Android phones around now. Get a $35/mo basic plan from Virgin Mobile and you're up and running. Even Dollar Store type places have Android knockoffs of the Samsung et al tablets now for < $100.

Bring Your Own Data - BYOD - means that the employee uses corporate computing resources from their own mobile device - is an emergent trend, with all the security issues that implies.

The only way I'd say that a worker has no need of a smartphone or a tablet today is - they are in an industry that is far away from technology; or they are near retirement.

I don't want to evangelize this stuff because I despise "tech ideology" in all its forms. But it's simple pragmatism. You're marginalized on the outside looking in - if you are in IT and you aren't at least a casual user.
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choppedwood

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Re: Smartphones and Tablets for Semi Luddites
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2013, 05:31:38 PM »
Yep.  On the other hand, a lot of people get them from their employer.  If you don't have a company phone, well, when you don't answer it's not unreasonable.

I don't care about the tablet but I think the phone is way long overdue on my part.

The Gorn

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Re: Smartphones and Tablets for Semi Luddites
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2013, 05:51:59 PM »
IMO the phone is more mission critical and it will teach you everything you need to know. Regardless whether your employer buys it for you.

(Some employees won't buy a lousy book if their employer doesn't expense it for them. Don't be like that.)

Tablets are essentially Android phones with big displays and no voice or phone network services, so whatever you learn on the phone will port over to a tablet whenever that time comes.

Although, while I *thought* I would never use a tablet, it is darned handy having a small web browser I can carry around the house as needed. And it runs the Kindle application so there's an e-book reader. I've brought up a recipe on the tablet and carried it out in the kitchen to verify the ingredients and amounts.

I'll evangelize to just this extent: a tablet is almost the ultimate toy. An example is a GPS application like:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.eclipsim.gpsstatus2

It gives this very live, interactive display when it's running:



I guess it has some practical use but it's just darned cool.  8)

Buying and using Android phones has been a small education in the details. It felt similar to learning Windows 95 when it came out.
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choppedwood

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Re: Smartphones and Tablets for Semi Luddites
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2013, 06:14:13 PM »
Honestly, it's a matter of cost.  I just looked at Verizon and it looks like $110/mo for a data plan and phone.  Sprint seems to have something in the $60-$70/mo range so maybe them, and T-Mobile definitely does, except Verizon is by far the best in these parts.  Some things I'm reading say ATT but I think, by now, we know how I feel about them.

The thing is, we have so many $50/mo things today: TV, cell, data, internet, that it starts to add up really fast.  Before you know it you are spending thousands on this stuff.  Right now I need a cash reserve, again.  I make enough that there's money left over but there isn't a lot left over.  I don't even have regular TV.  I redbox everything (awesome concept by the way).

The Gorn

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Re: Smartphones and Tablets for Semi Luddites
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2013, 06:19:56 PM »
http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phone-plans/beyond-talk-plans/overview/

Prepaid at $35/mo+sales tax, 300 talk minutes, unlimited data. Their quality doesn't suck and I am in rural Ohio.

Of course, that nets out at $420 per annum plus tax, so perhaps that is still another "life tax" that you may not wish to take on.

BUT... you could always buy a phone (like a prepaid Virgin Mobile) and not activate it. It will use the local wi-fi if present. You could learn a lot that way.
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choppedwood

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Re: Smartphones and Tablets for Semi Luddites
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2013, 06:37:58 PM »
That's actually less than what I'm paying for cell service.  It looks like they run on Sprint too.  I'll do some looking.  Thanks!

Ah, full price on the phones.  Well, can't make any of this easy to compare, can we.

The Gorn

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Re: Smartphones and Tablets for Semi Luddites
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2013, 06:44:31 PM »
The prices on the Virgin phones are "no strings". They are locked to Virgin is all. But once you buy one you can activate whenever you bloody please. And you can cancel the service, and then reactivate a few months later. No penalties or credit checks.

What I would do mobile wise on a limited budget:

Prepaid Virgin phone + prepaid plan as my workhorse. Port your main cell number over to it. If you don't like the form factor as a handset (it's like holding a brick to your face) use earbuds or a Bluetooth earpiece.

Cheap prepaid non smart cell phone as a secondary "real" cell phone that can take a licking if necessary.
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choppedwood

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Re: Smartphones and Tablets for Semi Luddites
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2013, 07:40:51 PM »
That is mind-blowing cheap.  Every other company treats their data plan like it's made of gold. 

I must be missing something, something obvious.  Verizon offers a prepaid plan for $60.00 w. 2GB data that includes talk, text, etc.  Their share everything plan pops you for $40.00 per device so it's $100.  Why would you share everything with a single device?  And so what if you have to prepay when the difference is $500/year?  Better phones?

Note, I'm not in a rich area so I'm not sure I'd trust Sprint.  I did find a tower though, so maybe.  Verizon, which I currently have, I do trust.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 08:00:23 PM by choppedwood »

choppedwood

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Re: Smartphones and Tablets for Semi Luddites
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2013, 08:20:13 PM »
We've totally left the tablet discussion but T-Mobile has $30, unlimited data, 100 minutes talk.  You can also do something like $30/mo for 2.5 GB and $100/1000 minutes as prepaid.  On a per minute this is actually about what I pay on Verizon except that what I don't use vanishes each month and these hang around for a year.

These are getting into the no-brainer realm although a couple of hundred dollars for a phone does skew the numbers.

Article I found on this:

http://www.prepaidphonenews.com/2011/02/best-prepaid-data-carriers-and-plans.html

The Gorn

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Re: Smartphones and Tablets for Semi Luddites
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2013, 09:41:49 PM »
When the phone is obsolete, just make sure it's disconnected from the service (so the ESN is clean) and it will be easy to sell as a starter phone to someone on Ebay. I unloaded the Virgin Mobile phone I purchased easily - purchased for $129, sold about 8 months later for $65. I could have gotten more, I think.

A smart phone, in my opinion, is a hell of a lot of value, even if you aren't a heavy phone and text user. You can check the weather, look up stuff, use it as a GPS or camera, from anywhere. Free apps morph the phone into a new device easily.
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The Gorn

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Re: Smartphones and Tablets for Semi Luddites
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2013, 09:48:17 PM »
That is mind-blowing cheap.  Every other company treats their data plan like it's made of gold. 

In my region Verizon is the gold standard for reception quality, and I think that's the general pattern across the US. Every other major carrier has lots of complaints from someone about pockets of poor reception even in some metro areas.

Verizon charges to the hilt for their reputation.
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I D Shukhov

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Re: Smartphones and Tablets for Semi Luddites
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2013, 03:13:44 AM »
That is mind-blowing cheap.  Every other company treats their data plan like it's made of gold. 

I must be missing something, something obvious.  Verizon offers a prepaid plan for $60.00 w. 2GB data that includes talk, text, etc.  Their share everything plan pops you for $40.00 per device so it's $100.  Why would you share everything with a single device?  And so what if you have to prepay when the difference is $500/year?  Better phones?

Note, I'm not in a rich area so I'm not sure I'd trust Sprint.  I did find a tower though, so maybe.  Verizon, which I currently have, I do trust.

3 family members, 3 phones, 2 years,  I see:

Verizon, 2-year contract:

2 iPhone 5c (16GB)  -       $200   (2 family members want the iPhone @ $100)
1 Samsung Galaxy S III -       0
wireless service       -    $4,800  ($120/mo line access + $80/mo account access   6GB/mo share everything)
Total                              $5,000


Virgin Mobile prepaid

2 iPhone 5c (16GB)   -       $900   (2 @ $450)
1 Samsung Galaxy S III     $310
wireless service        -     $3,240   (3 @ $45/mo  1200 talk min/mo (300 seems too low))
Total                         -     $4,450

Savings of Virgin Mobile over Verizon:   $550 = $275/year
Main tradeoffs are unlimited data for Virgin Mobile vs. "possibly" better QoS for Verizon
Unknown:  whether Virgin Mobile rates will go up or down during the 2 years

Be Prepared.

TRexx

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Re: Smartphones and Tablets for Semi Luddites
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2013, 04:44:00 AM »
Over the weekend I had dinner with group of old friends. We've known each other since grammar school and a more eclectic bunch would be hard to find. I was interested that with one exception, all of us have tablets and use them in our jobs.

The group consists of a professional musician/real estate agent, high school teacher, nurse, PM for the Dept of Defense, plant maintenance manager for a hospital, minister, college professor, medical practice office manager, and me. 

The glaring exception? That would be me.       

None of them have any formal IT training and we are certainly not part of the "digital generation".  They key is that that all use apps that were developed specifically to support their particular jobs.


choppedwood

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Re: Smartphones and Tablets for Semi Luddites
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2013, 07:09:00 AM »
Tablets are awesome for things like service calls where you want specific information returned in a controlled format.  For me, man, I just don't see it.  If I need to watch a video in the kitchen the laptop can handle that just fine.

The other thing I'm noticing, in regards to phones, is that everything is different.  It's really hard to get a handle on exactly what you need.  Each provider performs differently in different areas.  The prices are all different.  The phones offered are different.  Even the data plans are different with different caps, 3G vs 4G, different throttling points, etc.  It's like trying to buy health insurance only, maybe, a bit easier.

The one good thing is it looks like 2GB/mo is probably plenty of data.  That sounded really small to me when I first saw the number but it looks like most people don't even use a GB.  Of course, since everything is capped, the need may really be there but everyone is afraid to use it.  And I'm not sure I'm convinced that they're capping for any other reason than a profit move in terms of how they can set up their rates.  The apps are going to come that will drive up the bandwidth needs of their user base.

The Gorn

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Re: Smartphones and Tablets for Semi Luddites
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2013, 07:54:45 AM »
The differences between a tablet and a laptop (what I thought was the tablet's "competition") are:

The tablet is generally much smaller and less bulky and heavy.

The tablet starts much faster. (Android vs. Windows XXX or Unix booted from a drive.)

The tablet battery seems to outlast the laptop battery. Laptops don't seem to be designed so much for energy saving.

Laptops feel like a production to drag out. A tablet is easier to use physically and more portable.

They are way different devices in terms of usability. I want to take the tablet everywhere (to be clear: not to be a f***ing idiot and intrude on daily life as most people use these devices, but for reference and reading.) I didn't want to take the laptop anywhere. Like I said, I was skeptical of the value of a tablet and then I got one for Christmas.

When we were on vacation this last October, I kept seeing Asian tourists in the Smokey Mountains taking pictures of the scenery with their tablets. Kind of every cultural stereotype piled up. Lol.  ;D
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