What's 3G got that wifi doesn't on a phone?
July 13, 2012 1:36 PM   Subscribe

I've had a smart phone (android nexus one) for a few years now, but have always gotten by with wifi access only. I just recently bit the bullet on 3g access. So what new things can I do now with my phone with my newfound wandering internet access?
posted by garlic to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Your GPS signal will be much more accurate and more responsive. This is a game changer.
posted by sandmanwv at 1:38 PM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can use your phone as a GPS
You can stream Google Music or play music or podcasts from your sd card while driving (if you have an aux line or don't mind the phone speaker)
posted by rocketpup at 1:38 PM on July 13, 2012

Check out Spotify - streaming music everywhere! It works great even with a weak 3G connection.
posted by anaximander at 2:08 PM on July 13, 2012

Not just Spotify; there are a ton of music streaming services that work on smartphones. I like Mog because it uses a very high-efficiency codec that uses less data but still sounds great.
posted by kindall at 2:25 PM on July 13, 2012

In terms of streaming music, I've really been enjoying Songza. Way better quality than Pandora, ads are not intrusive, and it just seems smarter.
posted by General Malaise at 3:24 PM on July 13, 2012

I jumped in to say "stream music while driving", although others have beat me to it.

Seriously though, this is awesome. I listen to Google Music, Last.fm, Pandora, etc while driving, and it's great! My car connects to my phone (also a Nexus One) via Bluetooth, but if you have a line-in jack in your car you can also connect a wire between that and the headphone jack on your phone.

Also very cool - looking up reviews for items while you're in the store that you're considering buying it from.
posted by Vorteks at 4:21 PM on July 13, 2012

Order pizza while out so that you can pick it up on the way home and avoid delivery fees.

And yeah, maps!
posted by anaelith at 5:21 PM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can tether or use as a portable wifi hotshot.
No more printing out coupons, confirmation codes, etc. All this stuff is searchable on the fly.
Riding the bus just got a lot more entertaining.
You can now do international long distance via Skype if you are out and about.
Movies - not sure if you hang out with kids, but this is a great way to get kids to sit down and shut up while you're out.

And yeah, maps and music.
posted by crazycanuck at 10:36 PM on July 13, 2012

There's also TuneIn Radio for, you know, actual radio. Great for listening to old hometown stations, specialty internet streams, and sporting events (though not MLB, that requires their own paid app).

Slacker is another music streaming app, but it separates into genres.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 1:27 AM on July 14, 2012

If you're running some version of Android prior to 4.0, be sure to install something to monitor bandwidth if you're actually steaming with any consistency. I use 3g watchdog myself, and have it on my son's phone set to turn off 3g data (except for sms) at 95% of his allowance. We only get 500MB per month each; streaming a 128bit mp3 would get us 8.8 hours of use, while I'm commuting about 13.3 hours a month, so regularly using a serivice like this would kill me. I just transfer audio books or podcasts to my phone when I have wifi and play them (mort player) via bluetooth to my car's stereo.

3G data would allow you to use a VOIP app instead of phone service if you don't have a lot of voice minutes but have a GB or more of data.

As someone with a low limit I have to say that I mostly use 3G data for the ability to always have access to gmail / google / drop box to sync reading on moon+ reader, as well as the ability to install anything when it's convenient (bubble leveling app when house hunting to see something is out of plumb). As someone mentioned, looking up reviews for items you're considering buying is pretty great, and with some of the bar code scanners, you can even possibly see if it's cheaper somewhere else nearby.

While I don't feel it's the bee's knees, I do always make sure to be able to setup tethering my non-3g tablets to it, so I also have network on these devices quite easily. Being able to ssh into a work machine and fix something remotely instead of needing to drive home for a small emergency is absolutely wonderful, but fairly job specific.
posted by nobeagle at 7:26 AM on July 18, 2012

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