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What do you use your cell phone for?
November 27, 2009 3:10 PM   Subscribe

What do you use your cell phone for?

Odd question, I know. Some short background:

I got my first cell about 3 years ago--a super-basic cell with the minimum number of bells and whistles I could find. I have yet to pay a dime on ringtones, games or wallpapers. What I've come to realise is that:
  1. A camera would have been handy
  2. Making calender entries without a QWERTY keyboard sucks
Now I'm planning on moving to a plan of some kind. But I'm seeing features on some phones and wondering: What the hell would I ever need that for?

So, like it says on the front page, what are you using your cell phone for?
posted by Decimask to Technology (43 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm a pretty basic cellphone user. I use it for making phone calls. I send an occasional text message, and sometimes it's nice to be able to send cameraphone photos directly to my Flickr account. Oh, and I might set an alarm when I'm traveling.
posted by box at 3:17 PM on November 27, 2009


1) Looking things up. Is x open right now? What movies are playing at y? How much does it cost to get into z club? Great for looking at things on the go.

1a) Maps/phone numbers. I can look up businesses using Google Maps, and find directions/phone numbers.

2) Jotting things down. I use Evernote to record items on my phone and look at them once I'm back at home.

3) Social networking. Taking pictures and then updating Facebook/Twitter/Flickr in real time. Being able to check facebook while not near a computer. Your mileage may vary on that one.

4) When I drive, I have a Bluetooth FM transmitter, and use that with Pandora to avoid the local radio stations, when not listening to mp3s on the phone. If you have an ipod, this is not nearly as much of an issue.
posted by zabuni at 3:22 PM on November 27, 2009


I have an iPhone. I hardly ever use the "cell phone" functions (ie, calls and SMS). I use it constantly for RSS, email, Twitter, blogging, maps, games, photos, etc. Basically it's a computer that fits in my pocket. I'm on a plan for the data allowance.
posted by robcorr at 3:23 PM on November 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh, and listening to podcasts/watching video.
posted by robcorr at 3:24 PM on November 27, 2009


Phone calls, text messages, alarm clock mostly. The camera is nice, and I do like sending/receiving picture messages. Also the camera can be good to document things like a car accident for instance.

I don't see the point of fancy ringtones, ring-back tones, wallpapers, etc.

Are there any features in particular that you have questions about?
posted by radioamy at 3:24 PM on November 27, 2009


I've always taken the cheapo free phone that comes with the one-year contract, and I use it for phonecalls only. A few years ago, I sprung for a $40 phone with a camera, but the camera was of poor quality, and the plastic clear cover over the lens quickly became so scratched that photos looked like they were taken through vaseline. Now even the free phones have cameras, as does mine (a cheap Samsung flip phone), but I've never set up the web-based picture account, despite 3 years with this provider, and I've only used the camera a couple times, to disappointing results.

Recently, however, I began using text for the first time in my life, and find that it is kind of a handy medium for very short messages. I kind of wish I had a querty keyboard, just for that.

I carry a laptop to work and to class, and that's where I do calendar stuff and internet surfing. I tried a PDA (a Palm) a few years ago, and it just didn't take for me.

Sure, I've played with friends' iPhones. I'm fascinated by the phenomenon of people buying "apps" like I buy music from iTunes and the little economy that has sprung up around app development. Maybe someday I'll spring for an google phone or something like that, but for now, I really like trying to maintain some simplicity in my life.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:27 PM on November 27, 2009


I use my enV 2 to send pics and short vids to my wife, or my own email, (to forward to the rest of the family) usually things our kids do, so we can share these little things. Many have been the times a short funny kid vid has cheered one of our dreary chore filled days. Plus for me, it's a good time burner to have solitaire on it
posted by Redhush at 3:28 PM on November 27, 2009


I don't actually talk on the phone very much, but I use the mobile web browser many days to find out what the temperature is outside, whether I need a coat, etc. It's faster than getting my laptop running (especially first thing in the morning when the dogs need a walk).
posted by Robert Angelo at 3:29 PM on November 27, 2009


I hate to say it, but I use mine NON-STOP. My husband got an iphone as a surprise for me this time last year. When I saw it, I demanded he take it back as way too expensive. He insisted I play with it for just a minute, and just that fast, I was hooked.

Things I use all the time:
the web for price-comparison on purchases in real-time
Google for deciding arguments, looking up words, etc
maps for getting unlost
keeping up with email and social networking
notes for grocery lists (there are also lots of grocery list apps that I've tried and put down)
notes for seeing what I jotted to myself to get at the library
instant messaging
calendar for remembering important things
Shazam for identifying the great song I'm hearing on the radio
Various apps for deciding where to eat in new cities
Ipod for podcasts (I'm on the road a lot)
What's On app for seeing what's on TV without having to sit through the scroll on the TV
Various apps for reading free books
Games too many to mention

So, I am never bored waiting in line, miss an appointment, lose an argument or stay lost anymore. I can even hang a picture straight with the iHandy level. I can take a picture, modify the picture, and upload the picture to FaceBook, all from the phone.

My wonderful iphone once saved my husband and I from certain madness. We had bought a canoe several states away from home and it became clear that the way we had tied it to the car was causing a piercing whistle that could not be tolerated. I grabbed my iphone, pulled up Google, entered "boat tie-down noise," and learned that all it would take was a simple twist in the straps to fix the problem. Thank you, iphone!

However, as you can see from my disjointed post, I can no longer write a coherent, well-worded answer to AskMe. My attention span is shot.
posted by thebrokedown at 3:31 PM on November 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


Calling and texting, plus as an alarm clock; that's pretty much it.

I'm a late adopter of texting, but it's incredibly useful when you need to communicate but a phone call is either unwieldy or unnecessary to convey a limited amount of information.
posted by midatlanticwanderer at 3:33 PM on November 27, 2009


The iPhone is a whole different class of device. I'm completely addicted. It does pretty much all the Internet communication functions a desktop computer does, with the added advantage it works globally. And the disadvantages of tiny keyboard, small screen, and AT&T's terrible network. Still, having a functional Internet device in your pocket is so transformative it's hard to describe.

Practically, I mostly use the iPhone for travel. Maps and recommendations when on the road, weather, news, Twitter and Facebook and email. Also very handy for general aviation, but that's a pretty niche market.
posted by Nelson at 3:34 PM on November 27, 2009


Nokia E63 - I use calendar, alarms, text messaging, mms, some web browsing (like when the power went out), basic photos and mobipocket for ebook reading. I use it as a watch as well. Calendar is synced (via outlook) with my google calendar and mobipocket syncs with my ebook library on my laptop. I occasionally play a dodgy version of tetris. I use it as an mp3 player as well, for when I'm on my own. Occasionally I play music from it as well.

I originally had an INQ because I was fooled by the advertising. Pity about the totally useless software and inability to install apps. Except the single one in their 'store'. It also crashed my computer because it wasn't as compatible with Vista as they claimed (but apparently working with Vista is a special request...)
posted by geek anachronism at 3:36 PM on November 27, 2009


Calls, texting, taking photos, mobile web browsing, checking email, AIM instant messaging, calendar, alarm/reminders, and recording voice memos or ideas that pop into my head.

Those are my most frequently used features, though on occasion I'll use things like the stopwatch, tip calculator, or regular calculator.
posted by cmgonzalez at 3:37 PM on November 27, 2009


90% as a small, flexible alarm clock. Occasionally I'll make a call on it when a land line isn't handy (i.e., car fender bender, in the bottom of a drydock and something bad happens I need help with). Almost never SMS. Absolutely never use the camera, crappy calendar, or abysmal to-do list reminder thingy.
posted by ctmf at 3:45 PM on November 27, 2009


I only use my phone, a five+ years old LG model, for four things: Phone calls, SMS texting, Picture mail, and as my alarm clock.

SMS is great for short messages that don't warrant a phone call, and picture mail is aweome for keeping in touch with family or to send spur of the moment pictures to Flickr. I like it as an alarm because it's small and can be set to vibrate too. I have downloaded a few ring-tones, because I got tired of the defaults, but that's about it. I don't get that craze at all.

Now I do have an iPod touch that I love and use all the time. But I have had terrible experiences with AT&T, so the iPhone is not an option for me. If it was on Verizon or Sprint, thoguh, I'd get it in a heartbeat.
posted by gemmy at 3:47 PM on November 27, 2009


I have a Samsung Glyde (which I adore) and my friend has the LG v.9800. I have a data plan on mine and we both have unlimited texting.

I use mine for text/pic messages, reading my email, and posting to Statements. I also use the alarm clock, camera, and various calculator functions regularly. I hate the calendar feature on mine, but my friend would lose her ass if she lost her phone, since that's all she uses to keep track of her appointments.

I use Myxer to make ringtones and can send wallpapers to my phone through email (not sure if this is something unique to Verizon), and I can't fucking stand ringback tones.

Both our phones have full Qwerty keyboards, which I definitely love, even though I do find it much harder to type and drive with that than with the old-fashioned 9 key thing. (My friend on the other hand is a master at it.)

I've thought about iPhones and whatnot before, but I'm happy with the price I pay currently for my services (about $35 a month, since I'm on a shared family plan) but I would like to see more apps and such come out to other phones.
posted by sperose at 3:48 PM on November 27, 2009


Phone calls, for the most part, but my phone plan is only 200 minutes a month and I think I have broken that mark once in the last 18 months.

Texts now and again -- I did this essentially never until a year or so ago but it is handy for things like giving someone an exact address/phone number/url without having to repeat it and hope it is not misspelled when the recipient transcribes it.

Camera: almost never. The resolution make the resulting images mostly useless.

Oddly, about the only thing I use it for daily is that it is my main alarm clock. If I have to be up and about at some particular hour there is any chance I will not be, I set an alarm. I rarely sleep til anything like the time I need to leave for work, but for the one day in ten that I do, my phone is what keeps me from oversleeping.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:50 PM on November 27, 2009


Phone calls and texting with my kids. The standard numeric keypad works just fine for texting, too. I do not ever want a phone with a full keyboard. It's a nice, small phone (the "freebie" that came with the contract) I see people with big-ass iPhones and whatnot and I can't imagine lugging something that big around with me.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:54 PM on November 27, 2009


Blackberry: phone calls, email, text messages, text messages with photos, calendar that syncs google calendar with work Outlook calendar, google maps, and some internet browsing.
posted by fieldtrip at 4:05 PM on November 27, 2009


Ok, so here's the thing.

Up until about 5 months ago, I had a Samsung A900, which, while not a crappy phone, isn't a great phone. I got it cheap. I used it for calls and texts, and that's about it.

I got an iPhone.

Now I use my phone for almost everything. It's become my second laptop. Besides the usual, I use it to look up things on the fly, order food, check my location, get directions, take pictures, update Facebook, and do about a million other things.

Most importantly, in my need to try to organize myself, it's become the center of my todo list, calendar, and other productivity apps.
posted by SNWidget at 4:11 PM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have a Samsung T819. I use it as my primary phone, so it's mostly for phone calls. I don't have a text message plan, so I try to limit those, but it is a nice feature to use on occasion. I added on a mobile web plan, so I can use it to check my e-mail, Twitter, RSS subscriptions, Facebook, etc. - only basic functions, but it's really convenient to still have access to all that while away from the computer. Some of the other features on the phone I use are the calendar (not to manage my whole life, but just to create reminders of certain events and appointments), calculator, alarm clock, and camera.
posted by LolaGeek at 4:39 PM on November 27, 2009


1) MSN/AIM/Skype/Yahoo/Facebook chat and email when I'm not at home or work
2) sync with Google calendar, so it notifies me of meetings and deadlines, as well as recurring daily alarms to file reports etc
3) to listen to music when I'm at work or walking around town
4) as a GPS
5) for todo listings, personal and work related
6) I have bar code scanning software that automatically pops up comparison prices on amazon and google shopping
7) to look up places to eat or shop on yelp when I'm out and about
8) as a nightlight
9) to record meetings
10) to act as a wireless router over the 3G network for my home computer, when my internet goes down
11) to download movie/television torrents when I'm not home and I suddenly remember I haven't checked for new episodes of xxx recently
12) to browse the web or play games when I'm waiting in line or being lazy and not getting out of bed or whatever
13) occasionally to make or receive phone calls and text messages

Notably, I take around 15,000 photos a year so I thought the camera function would be helpful, but the quality is so crappy I hardly ever use it except as a visual note taker.
posted by skintension at 5:31 PM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I read, reply and post questions to askmefi on my iPhone...such as I am doing now.

Also, NEVER getting lost due to GPS is pretty nifty!
posted by man down under at 5:55 PM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just got my first cellphone like 6 months ago. It totally can't do anything cool like an iPhone can do. Here is what I use mine for:

1) Checking my email. I freelance, so I can be on top of things if someone wants to have something done by the next day. Also, I can save super-important info that I know I'll need later (like directions to someone's house, or what time an event starts at).
2) Googling things. Even though my phone isn't cool enough to deal with awesome websites and whatnot, it still is totally handy for getting information out of a well-formed google search. Most of the time I don't even need to click through to the actual website.
3) Sending stupid pictures to other people's cellphones. Picture quality does not need to be perfect to be able to say "Look at my awesome cranberry sauce" without using words.
4) Recording melodies, whereas before I would have to call my landline and sing a message to my answering machine.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:09 PM on November 27, 2009


Interesting question. I just put down 500 dollars on a phone, after sticking with very cheap prepaid phones. Currently I just use it for calls, texting and the occasional calculation. Texting is handy for noisy environments or for automated messages like servers failure notices. Oh, and the cheap phone has a bright LED for a flashlight, which is pretty damn handy.

Probably, it's a matter of quality and attention to the software and hardware beyond filling a checklist from marketing. If you have a great camera and a crap camera phone, that's probably a bad combo; you hate taking pictures with the phone, and never have the camera on you when you want it. Which really means, be prepared to throw down money for the features you want or end up paying for features you never end up using.

So beyond the basics, things I plan to do with my phone you might not have thought of:

* Media player. It's a bit strange given I knew about mp3 players ten years ago, and my nerd friends were showing off their Diamond Rios and Sony players, but I've sorta held off on it. And having WiFi / data, I can use it to grab podcasts to listen to during the work commute without taking the time to burn a CD.
* Camera. Again, I've never owned a digital camera. From the times I've borrowed from friends who do, having a device that does networking will make it easier to transfer files to my PC, flickr or my website. Also might use the video recording to record hobbyist meetings.
* Portable USB drive. I work at a college and previously helped out with a graphic design computer lab; lots of students use their iPods as a general storage device beyond mp3s. Same can be done with phones. 32GB is sufficient for damn near anything.
* Navigation. The Android phones now have Google's turn-by-turn nav, which I'm envious of. Mozilla's pushing location based APIs, so there may be a time when anything with a GPS can do webapp navigation. I might also use the GPS to record traces for uploading to Open Street Map. The lack of a digital compass hurts it a bit though.
* Price comparison. See a good deal in a store; take a picture and look up pricing online.
* Presentations. My phone will have a TV out port. I don't think openoffice runs, but it can show PDF. It's also got an IR emitter, so I may program in our projector remote control codes.
* email in meetings. It's a bit less obvious to check your email with a phone than a laptop. And less distracting to those around you.
* Alarm clock. It's available on most phones, but I haven't set it up on the cheap phone, but my brother pretty much relied on it. Probably, phones with a charging stand would be more appropriate for this. You can probably configure a calendar of alarms so they don't go off on weekends and vacations.
* Flashlight. Many smartphone cameras use LEDs for the flash, and people have written programs to activate them separately from the camera for an adhoc flashlight.
* Weather. The most popular Maemo app at the moment seems to be an improved 5 day forecast applet. It takes too long to check weather.com or the TV for a forecast, so integrating the forecast into something I take with me should be effective at bad weather warnings.
* Tethering. I travel a bit, but looking into the past I can think of a few situations where a reliable data connection would be useful, like the week long power outage during a winter storm.

Beyond that, I've got a an idea I'm not sure will work:
1. Scan all those damn customer loyalty cards and library cards with a barcode on them, and store them on the phone.
2. Pull up a list of these things, sorted with some location based heuristics. You're in Kroger's, the Kroger's card comes up first. Not near enough to anything, maybe sort by use frequency.
3. Show the card scan fullscreen and hope the cashier can scan it. I hear this may fail on the laser scanners so I'll test it with the one we have at work.
posted by pwnguin at 6:27 PM on November 27, 2009


2nding the "Tiny laptop". Except it has GPS and is virtually always connected to the Internet. So in addition to the laptop stuff (email, youTube, games, social networking, etc.) I use it to find directions, find nearby businesses, kill time while in a line at the post office, settle bar bets ("Did Steve McQueen and Paul Newman ever share a screen in Towering Inferno?") figure out "what's this song?" Plus a bunch of other things. Language flashcards and foreign language dictionaries. Voice memos. For work I use metric-imperial conversions, look up and calculate a lot of electronics data. Around the the house I can control my media center with it as a remote. When it's not in my pocket it's on my desk as a quick display of what's going on in the world. (Pending email, phone messages, appointments, etc.)

It's an entirely different kind of device than one of those things with a little screen and 12 keys.
posted by Ookseer at 6:30 PM on November 27, 2009


I work for the railroad and have a basic smart phone. I am required to have access to a rule book (3 lbs) at most times, plus with Isilo I can do a fast search and keep the RR officials and the FRA at bay, or at least honest.

I used a PDA for a long time but with this phone it all fits in my pocket.
posted by raildr at 6:31 PM on November 27, 2009


I'd say the biggest use for me is checking the time.

I've got an iphone, so I also use it for:

Setting it's alarm to remind me when my laundry is going to be done
Tracking my Expenses
Tracking my mileage (Fuelly)
Reading my e-mail
Reading feeds
Reading twitter
Texting
Maps
Finding nearby restaurants (Yelp)
Storing recipes (Evernote)
Grocery and general shopping lists (Todo)
Various measurements in my house (where I plan to put furniture/art)
To keep track of which cds I own, so I don't buy duplicates
The weather (rarely)
(Video) Camera
calendar
listening to music in the car (mostly just longer trips)
As a sort of USB key (although it uses wifi to transfer files)
Remote desktopping into my server to download assorted torrents from my bed.
Getting movie times and locations
Television listings
Finding out what song is play (Shazam)

I don't use the compass. Don't use the Todo app I have all that much (just for assorted lists). Don't use the Gym Tracking app I have either.

I also make telephone calls with it, but it's a low percentage of use time. Once in a blue moon I'll hop onto MSN Messenger with it too.
posted by backwards guitar at 6:37 PM on November 27, 2009


I use it as
  • A flashlight: My wife turns off all the lights in the house, so my iPhone wallpaper is just solid white. Makes a great flashlight to avoid stubbed toes.
  • Video games: The iPhone has some good games.
  • Voice recordings on the go that show up in my email inbox: I use an app called Note2Self, just like I did on a Windows Mobile phone in the pre-iPhone days. You push one button, bring it to your ear like you're making a call, and start talking. Set it down, and it emails you the audio recording of what you just said.
  • Web, bible, books, reference: Kindle for iPhone, Logos 4, Stanza, BibleScope, iReddit, Instapaper, iBird Plus, Audubon, Units, etc.
  • Binaural beats, especially for falling asleep: Lots of apps for it, I like AmbiScience Bundle 1
  • Cheapo camera
  • Music, listening & writing: Obviously the iPhone has a decent music player, but also many music-making and performance apps in the AppStore. This month's Computer Music Magazine even focuses on mobile music-making
  • Occasional phone calls & SMS: But SMS on the iPhone leaves a lot to be desired. Really, any text entry on it is painful. If they'd just support bluetooth keyboards, the iPhone could be even more useful, and not lean so hard on its entertainment capabilities.
So pretty much stuff everyone else said. I was also a minimalist utilitarian with cell phones prior to the iPhone. It's more a pocket computer that also has a phone, than a phone with apps.
posted by Katravax at 6:42 PM on November 27, 2009


Phone calls, and maybe a couple dozen texts a month (I'm no fan of text messages.) And for a time piece.

I don't even use it as an alarm clock. It's a Motorola Razr, and the alarm clock is unreliable. Literally, sometimes it just would not go off when it was supposed to. Absolutely pathetic.

I don't take photos because they look terrible and I don't want to pay a fortune to get crappy photos out of the phone. That said, sometimes a bad photo is better than no photo at all.

My phone is over three years old now and it needs to be replaced because it is literally failing. I see the appeal of iPhone because sometimes I am out and about and it would be handy to access things on the Internet. However, I have seen iPhones in action and I am not too impressed with them--they seem slow, and the device is riddled with imperfections, and the though of a remote Apple kill switch is unappealing, and no one I talk to is happy with the ATT network.

I saw the Droid in the Verizon store and I wasn't impressed with it either. It also seemed slow, and Verizon didn't even have the devices set up so a shopper could easily try them out. It is also kind of clunky.

So I am not sure what my next phone will be.
posted by massysett at 6:53 PM on November 27, 2009


So far, I've gotten the free phones that come with the contract. My total number of minutes per month = 200 and I rarely go over that. Basically, I use it as a phone and a clock. My crappy phone isn't very good for calendar or alarm, so I don't even use those. I've tried the camera, but it's very, very poor quality so I hardly try that anymore.
posted by patheral at 8:13 PM on November 27, 2009


I have a Samsung Blackjack II. My last phone was stolen, so I had to pick a new one quickly. This one had the best battery life, gps, and was cheap (refurbished).

It is my flashlight, alarm, and map. The data plan is great when I'm bored (givemesomethingtoread). I will never go back to a non-qwerty phone, ever.
posted by shinyshiny at 9:16 PM on November 27, 2009


I have an iphone. I, too, had previously refused to get anything but cheap phones, (because I am basically a large 7 year old, but I have not yet fallen in a creek with this phone! so maybe now I am like, a real grown-up) but find it indispensable. In addition to many uses listed above:

- maps, as mentioned, but specifically public transportation maps when visiting unfamiliar cities. I've also found subway trip planner apps to be extremely helpful.

- translation apps. I like to read books, often in coffee shops, parks, or otherwise away from my computer. I hate skipping over the italicized French bits without at least a rough translation.

- naughty photos. Sometimes I really need to email a picture of my unclothed self right that minute and hooking up the camera to the computer isn't convenient.
posted by little e at 9:40 PM on November 27, 2009


Switched recently from the Blackberry Curve to the Nokia E71x. I use it as a portable computer of sorts - web browsing, email, social networking, and so forth.

I also use it as a mini e-reader (thanks to the Wattpad application. I keep a selection of books downloaded to my phone's memory card so I can catch up on my reading during downtime.
posted by Telpethoron at 10:01 PM on November 27, 2009


I have an iPhone 3GS. I use these features extensively:
GPS/maps service- for getting around in a place I"m not too familiar with.
cell phone- obviously
MMS- i usually see my friends face to face rather than call, so little messages that need to be sent are convenient this way.
camera- I see too many things I need a quick pic of. It does video too
calendar- my whole daily planner is contained here and backupped on my Mac
Alarm clock- I have no other alarm clock other than my phone
notes- handy little jotting program
voice recorder- i can record a bit of a song, or use it when I do free lance journalism
Twitter and wordpress blogging app- for updating my social networks on the run
games- for not being bored
Internet connection- finding out important facts on the move is nice, like restaurants, online prices, etc
iPod- i keep a large amount of new music on my iPhone, which I have with me more often than my computer
i've read a few books on it too, I'm fine with reading on the screen.
posted by Jason Land at 3:01 AM on November 28, 2009


i finally got a cell this past august. i went into cvs and paid $9.99 for it and just put minutes on it when i need them. i use it for calls, of course, and texts. i didn't realize i could use it as an alarm clock. now i will.
posted by sdn at 8:20 AM on November 28, 2009


Well, in terms of sheer hours of use, I suppose "music player" is my phone's primary purpose, but that's not very exciting.

I have learned that what the phone can do well plays a huge factor in how you end up using it. Having had a number of phones before with painful crappy web browsers, I never thought I'd use a browser much on my phone, but the iPhone's Safari is really, really, really good, which changed all that. So now looking up train times, movie times, store hours, metacritic ratings, wikipedia bet-settlers and pretty much anything else is painless. I've even checked things on MeFi a few times when I needed to remember what someone recommended.

I do use a couple of web apps for list and project management, and I play a few games when killing time in airports. I have the Kindle app and a few books. But my real killer apps, in terms of I don't know what I would do without them, are pretty boring: regular old e-mail and SMS.
posted by rokusan at 8:38 AM on November 28, 2009


Oh, and I usually watch a movie or two on long flights or in departure lounges. Kills the battery quite a bit, but anything is better than watching Mr. Falcon again.
posted by rokusan at 8:39 AM on November 28, 2009


I have a regular-phoney-style cell phone. I use it for texting, taking mediocre pictures, setting alarms/reminders, and on the rare occasions someone calls me, as a phone. (Since you're in the market for a new phone: my current phone is a Motorola ZN5, and it blows. It is slow and dumb and clunky. It's my second Motorola, and the first one wasn't particularly impressive either. I'd get a new phone, but I'm cheap.)

The people I know with iPhones use them for damn near everything, and I can't deny that they're incredibly useful.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:40 AM on November 28, 2009


Doesn't have to be an iPhone to do everything; I have an HTC Hero that runs Android, and my favorite app is Google Sky.
posted by Mngo at 10:29 AM on November 28, 2009


Wow, I forgot how fast the turnover on the AskMe front page is. Great answers all: I now have a much better idea of what I could do with a phone. Time to go carrier-hunting.
posted by Decimask at 1:20 PM on November 28, 2009


I have an iPhone. It basically contains my entire life, and if I ever lose it I'll be screwed. I use it for:

- Phone calls, obviously.
- Text messaging (my mom loves to text).
- The internet, when I'm waiting for something (in lines, waiting for the bus, etc.) or if I need to look up information.
- The wonderful, wonderful Wikipedia app. It's extremely useful in those situations where you're discussing something with friends and no one knows the answer. I feel like having it handy means I end up learning something new every day.
- GPS when I'm lost.
- Lists. I have a grocery list apps and a wine app, and I keep random notes.
- Music, podcasts, etc.
- Email!
- Camera. The best camera is one that you always have when you need it, and the iPhone camera is actually better than I would have expected. It's not what you'd want to take on a big trip, but it's wonderful to always have it handy when you see something interesting.
- The Shazam app will "listen" to whatever song is playing and tell you the title and artist. Surprisingly handy.
- Calculator, level (really!), unit converter....

Basically, it's having the internet+ everywhere you go. It's amazing just how much you come to rely on it, and you can make arguments for an against that but I think that overall it's really improved my life.
posted by you're a kitty! at 4:46 PM on November 29, 2009


I currently use my phone for calls, text, and the occasional photo when there's no other camera handy (the direct-to-Flickr feature is pretty cool). I don't have a need for web or e-mail on a phone in general, and I certainly don't want to double the price of my monthly plan to add data.

Lots of smartphones advertise "wifi capable" in the list of features. Could I stick with my phone and text plan but use a Droid, for example, on my home or office wifi network? Do service providers still charge minutes or data usage if there's a wifi network open and available?

I'm on Verizon Wireless if that matters.
posted by Cheesoning at 11:47 AM on November 30, 2009


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