Posted by Lauren Christ | Under Business, Gadgets, Internet, Mobile, Public Relations, Social Media Tuesday Jan 29, 2013
Or text me. Or email me. Or Facebook message me.
Around 2002 I got my first cell phone. It stored contact numbers (all of which I knew by heart anyway) and made calls. Not long after, I was going to college out of state and had to switch wireless carriers. So I got a flip phone with text messaging. College and a flip phone? I was obviously moving up in the world.
Fast forward to 2008 when I started working on the U.S. Cellular account at Moxley Carmichael. Now I had owned about 6 or 7 different phones, and I thought I knew what made a top-of-the-line cell phone.
I was wrong.
Over the past four years, I’ve learned about the latest technology from handsets and tablets to 3G versus 4G LTE. I’ve been on ride alongs with Field Network Engineers, who took me and the TV or newspaper reporter to see the inner workings of a cell tower. I’ve had to keep up with the unbelievable speed with which wireless technology changes – and gets even better – every day. It can feel overwhelming at times. There are always new cutting-edge devices. There’s always a “hot new phone” on the market, and it’s part of my job to know about it.
And it’s not just about handing out your digits and getting a few phone calls anymore, Carly Rae Jepsen; it’s about getting texts, emails, Facebook messages, Tweets, Instagram photos, YouTube videos, Words with Friends comments and more, more, more – however you prefer to communicate.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, U.S. Cellular regional vice president Tom Catani said to me as I was deciding whether or not to switch to the latest-and-greatest phone: “A phone is a personal choice.”
As a PR professional, I couldn’t be happier hearing my client practicing what his company preached. In 2012, U.S. Cellular launched the Hello Better campaign to encourage people to say goodbye to dysfunctional wireless relationships and say hello to a better experience. A mobile phone is supposed to make life simpler and easier to get things done. It’s just common sense.
And, so was Tom’s advice. You have to find the phone that’s right for you and your lifestyle and your profession. And, for me, that means moving along with the times and getting used to new technology. But that can be fun. Here are a few of my recent experiences that may give you a some thoughts to consider if you’re looking for a new phone – or if you got one as a Christmas gift and are struggling with the transition.
In early December, I dropped my Android-powered HTC Hero on a tile floor and smashed the screen. I love HTC phones. I find them to be very intuitive and easy to use. With access to half a million apps from the Google Play store, I could do everything from file an expense report for work to synch a family grocery list to look up a TV interview posted online – yet it was simple and straightforward to use. This is the device that taught me not to be intimidated by smartphone technology and to embrace it!
The timing was perfect for me to get a new phone because U.S. Cellular was launching a 4G LTE network in the Knoxville area on Dec. 12. With 4G LTE, data speeds are up to 10 times faster. So I got the Samsung Galaxy S III, a 4G LTE capable Android-powered smartphone. It took me a few days to get used to the Samsung in place of my tried-and-true HTC, but the phone has so many cool features, it made it fun to explore and learn more about it.
The 4G LTE speed is phenomenal, and I now have the ability to talk and access the Internet at the same time – which I think may come in handy if I’m trying to look up a news article a client is telling me about as we talk. The Galaxy S III also has a really nice camera – “an 8 MP camera with zero-lag shutter speed to capture moving objects without delay.” You can easily video chat from the phone too, which I was going to use to Skype with my sister on Christmas while she was in Mexico if she could’ve gotten Internet service.
Recently, I decided to switch to the Samsung Galaxy Note II – not because I didn’t like the Galaxy S III, but because, after all, I had to jump at the opportunity to try latest-and-greatest. This phone just looks cool. The screen is huge – a 5.5-inch HD screen, and it has a built-in, removable S Pen, or what I’d call a stylus. Lots of people take notice and ask me about it, and that’s great for me as a PR professional because it gives me the perfect opportunity to talk about my client, U.S. Cellular.
One thing that helps me transition to a new phone is personalizing the basics: Set your wallpaper to an image you like. Delete any pre-loaded widgets on the home screens that you don’t think you’ll use. Reposition shortcuts to the apps you like the best on one of your home screens so they’re convenient – perhaps even arrange them exactly as you had them on your old phone. That will help it feel not so new until you adjust to the major differences. You can always rearrange them or add widgets and such later.
The Note II is incredible. Here are my favorite features thus far:
- The screen size: Many people have said to me, “Wow. That phone is huge. I’m not sure I’d want a phone that big.” Well, they don’t know what they’re missing. Whether I’m checking out the photos from a client event or watching a YouTube video of a Moxley Carmichael client on the news, it’s so big and clear and easy to see. It’s especially easy to read and edit Word documents on this screen, so I can review updates to a news release from anywhere, which makes my life a lot easier!
- In the world of public relations, I need to be able to communicate fast and at all times – with clients, reporters and my colleagues. With 4G LTE speeds and the phone’s “blazing-fast” quad-core processor, the Samsung Note II makes it easy to respond to emails, take notes, edit documents and more. This is the right phone for me to keep me connected and give me peace of mind that I won’t miss anything.
Why is your phone a good fit for your lifestyle? What’s your favorite feature of your phone that you didn’t have 10 years ago? How do you use your phone to communicate and stay on top of things for your job?