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Archive for March 1st, 2009

T-Mobile G1

Tall, dark, and handsome with a strong chin- capable of heavy lifting, serves your every need without question, looks great in black leather…do you have a picture in your mind? Yes, it’s my new T-Mobile G1, the first smartphone built on the open source Android platform and competing directly with the iPhone and Palm Pre. Now I’m not saying the G1 is the best choice for everyone, but I opted for it because I wanted a full QWERTY keyboard and yes, I like the “chin”, the slightly curved bottom that some have complained increases the profile unnecessarily.

I’m really not the type of person who just has to have the latest tech and always wants to be plugged in. But I do like things that work and enable me to do things I otherwise couldn’t – especially in my alpaca business. And that is the main reason I decided to upgrade to this kind of phone.

If you’re like me, you travel quite a bit – to shows, events, auctions, etc. Sometimes I fly and really don’t want to lug around a laptop. And though all traveling breeders use the cell phone to coordinate with others if convoying or showing, upgrading to a smartphone gets you PC-like functionality that can help you optimize every opportunity to showcase your animals and services.  Here are some really cool things that my phone (I hesitate to even call it that anymore) can do for me:

– E-mail: I have all my email set up on my phone so I don’t have to rely on time in the hotel business center. That means I can always respond in a timely manner to queries. Don’t you hate it when you don’t get a response to your emails? I do, so I always like to respond promptly.  Another reason I like the full QWERTY keyboard that is unique to the G1 among its peers.

– IM: I’m not a big IM-er. The whole typing with your thumbs thing just seems to invalidate those typing classes I took in Junior High School. But it does come in handy. I attended an auction in person and “chatted” live with a friend who was watching from a different viewpoint and instantly sharing opinions.

-Photos: When I go to an event, I always store up on pictures of my latest cria crop and also photos and files on animals I have for sale. Why limit yourself to a printed flyer on your pen? If someone has additional questions, I can whip up the info, pull up additional pictures, or even access my website or alpacanation site to get the data via the real web browser.

-Built-in camera: I have a great camera – a Canon Rebel XTI 10 megapixel digital SLR. I can take a picture of a fly from across a field and blow it up until you can see its antennae in high res. But do I take my camera with me anywhere ? No way. The thing weighs a ton and has the footprint of a breadbox. My phone, however, has a 3.2 megapixel camera. So maybe not as high a resolutionand iffier on lighting and focus but as Farmer Doggett would say in Babe, “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.”.

– GPS:  How handy is this when you’re trying to find the venue in a strange town?  Besides GPS, there is also a downloadable app that allows you to send your location to someone else so  they can find or direct you if you’re just at your wits end or have broken down and need help.

– Full broadband Web Browser: Not the wimpy mobile version, but a browser just like you’d see on your PC, that you can scroll with your finger. At auctions or shows, I can instantly look up an animal on ARI to see its pedigree, or bring up my own website for customers. And when you’re on the 3G network, the speed is pretty darn impressive.

– Lots of apps on the marketplace: There are a ton of optional applications, not just games, that you can download from each smartphone marketplace. For the G1, it’s the Android Marketplace. It never fails to impress me how many creative and smart developers are out there, constantly churning out new things. I’ve downloaded a notepad app that allows me to keep free form notes to myself, an app that searches for business close to me (restaurants, gas stations etc). They even have apps that allow you to use your camera to take a picture of an item’s bar code and then does price comparisons across the web and nearby stores to let you know what the availability and lowest price is. There’s also an app that allows you to “mark” where you parked so you can find your trailer in that endless sea of other white trailers.

– iPod substitute: Yes, you can listen to music and even watch movies and video on these phones. I’ve heard that sound is not quite as good as an iPod but I’m just not as picky as some of those technogeeks and having this as an option when waiting at the airport is kinda cool. You can also read books at online libraries or listen to an e-book, if that’s your preference – but I think the screen is too small for reading.

– Video calling: It’s coming! I’m told the next generation will all have video call capability. Although the very idea kind of fills me with horror (those 6 a.m. phone calls you answer in bed)- I can certainly see how it would be very handy. How about when you’re looking at an animal and want another opinion? Call someone and video stream.

So does this mean I exist with my eyes or ear glued to my phone and loaded with every app imaginable? Absolutely not.  I really hate it when I see people walking around totally connected to their phones and totally oblivious to what is going around them. I can’t stress enough that fun as it is, it’s just a tool.  However,  having that functionality at my fingertips does make me feel all warm and giggly.

We’re still in the honeymoon phase right now. I’m sure the first flush of enthusiasm will fade soon. In fact,  my eye has already started to wander to something that I think would come in very handy on those long trips and airport waits.

C’mere, Kindle baby.

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