Smartphones are more than just a phone. They allow you to browse the internet, send and receive emails, make video calls, watch mobile TV or TV shows and videos on the go. Smartphones also include applications or 'apps' that allow you to personalise your phone just the way you like it.
What does it cost?
A smartphone is like a mini PC in your pocket. They are loaded with technology, so generally they are not cheap to purchase outright. Going on a Vodafone plan for 12 or 24 months can mean you can get a new smartphone for little or no cost upfront. Plus you get to enjoy all the extra inclusions of a Vodafone plan.
What makes a smartphone different from an ordinary mobile phone?
These are just some of the features that differentiate a smartphone from an ordinary mobile phone:
- 3G network - Vodafone's 3G network is specifically designed for smartphones, tablets and other mobile broadband devices. The 3G network has a high capacity for transmitting mobile data which allows your device to connect to the internet, make VoIP calls, stream TV, videos, online games, and more
- Apps - these are mini programs you can download to your smartphone that allow you to personalise your phone to your specific needs. There are apps for the weather, to-do lists, track weight loss, convert units, transport timetables. In fact, there are literally hundreds of thousands to choose from. Some have a small cost, but many are free. Check out the app stores for Android, Apple, BlackBerry and Nokia
- VoIP - VoIP (or voice over internet protocol) allows you to call other VoIP users around the world using only your mobile data. This means you can avoid the cost of international toll calls. Skype is a popular VoIP provider, just download the app from your mobile phone from the relevant app store and get started
- Maps - smartphones contain a tiny GPS (Global Positioning System) unit. This means a smartphone when outdoors, can locate your position on the included electronic maps, provide directions to virtually any destination, and find local points of interest along the way
- Internet - smartphones also have web browsers built in so you can access the internet whenever you are connected to a 3G mobile data network or Wi-Fi network. Like on a PC, you can search on Google, and bookmark your favourite sites for easy reference
- Email - you can sync multiple email accounts to your smartphone, so you can send and receive emails on the go via a 3G mobile broadband network. You can even take photos, write documents, and attach them to your emails similar to how you would on a PC or laptop
Which smartphone is best?
There are several smartphone brands and a growing number of handset models to choose from. The two main operating systems are Apple® iOS and Google™ Android™. Other options are BlackBerry OS and Nokia Windows. The operating systems all offer similar basic functions. Apple offers its iOS in the iPhone. Android is the standard operating system for several makers including Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony Ericsson and others. If you can't decide which one is best for you, a test run at a Vodafone store should help you to decide.