I purchased my first smartphone the other day. You might think I'm behind the times. (Well, maybe you don't, but my children sure do!). But actually the latest figures I found, as of July 2013, say that approximately 30 percent of Baby Boomers use smartphones (as opposed to about 50 percent of the overall population.) So I'm not that far behind the times.
When I finally made the decision to make the purchase, and came away from Best Buy with a hot little phone in my hand, I felt that I had joined some kind of exclusive club. I felt that, finally, I was . . . smart.
But now I'll tell you the real reason why I got a smartphone. I lost my digital camera. I was going to buy a new camera -- my Canon Powerpoint was four or five years old, and even though I liked my camera a lot, I wasn't too upset because I figured they've improved the technology by now. But then I started to do some research, and I reached the conclusion that a smartphone will take a photo just as well as any mid-range digital camera. And you get a phone in the bargain.
I actually talked to the salesperson at the camera counter at Best Buy. I was playing dumb (not hard for me to do) and asked him about various cameras, and I told him how I'd lost my old camera, and I was in the store to buy a smartphone. The camera salesman told me that the new smartphones take just as good a picture as all but the very best of the cameras . . . and you don't have to lug around a big heavy device.
He pulled out his Samsung Galaxy S4, and showed me the pictures he had taken the other day at the zoo. He explained how he had gone to the zoo with his girlfriend, and after he parked, he opened the back door to the car, intending to get his Nikon from the backseat. Then he stopped and thought, do I really want to have that heavy camera dangling from my neck all day? So he left the camera in the car, and used his smartphone to take pictures.
He showed me the photos, and they were bright and clear and in focus. He did point out one photo of some kind of lizard. I took this one indoors, he told me, and it's not really that good. That's one thing the Nikon will do better -- take photos in low light. But otherwise, he said, I'm completely happy with the pictures I got from my cellphone.
Ultimately, I bought the Samsung smartphone, partly because it got good reviews online (yes, I know the i-phone also gets top reviews, but I didn't want to pay the extra money.) Also, as the camera salesman pointed out, the camera offers 13 mp, instead of 8 mp on the other phones, which should give me photos comparable to my old Canon, or even better; plus it has more battery life as well as some other features that he explained but that I didn't understand.
So now I'm making phone calls, and accessing the internet and trying to get used to the camera, and researching all the apps I'm going to get. But there is one more reason why I got a smartphone. Text messaging. Now, I know you don't need a smartphone to text; but it does make it a lot easier. And the fact of the matter is, my two kids, like most 20-somethings, never answer the phone anymore. They only text. And I want to be able to communicate with my kids.
My first text was to my son. He never answers his phone. But he texted me back, literally, within 30 seconds: "Whhoooaaa ... never thought I'd get a text from this number!"
Then I texted my daughter. She never answered, either, when I tried to call her on my regular cellphone. But now she answered right away, and proving that sarcasm can be conveyed in a text, she said: "Wow, Dad, welcome to the 2000s!"