The Talk

The smartphone, a love story

- Last modified: April 2, 2013 at 8:54 AM

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The smartphone has gotten a bit of a bad rap in recent years. Many people curse smartphones as the downfall of modern discourse and the end to personal downtime.

But I am not here to bury the smartphone, but to praise it – if you can excuse my liberties with Shakespeare.

I love my iPhone.

With all due respect to the Windows, Blackberry and Android phones, which I’m sure are beloved by their owners as well, my iPhone is my best electronic friend.

It’s hard to believe that it was just over five years ago that I was living a normal, pre-smartphone life with no clue as to what I was missing.

My job calls for a lot of driving – often to new and strange locations around the region. Even if I took off my shoes, I’d have trouble counting how many times I’ve gotten lost in the nether regions of the Lehigh Valley driving down narrow alleys or deserted country roads trying to find a business to which I had been given bad directions.

Even in my dumb phone days, there was little recourse if I didn’t remember to bring my contact’s phone number. I could try to call back to the office and see if I could get a coworker to sort through my desk and help me – but that generally just led to frustrating a second person.

Now if I get lost, I can punch the address I’m looking for into my map app and my phone will lead me there, step by step.

If that doesn’t work, I switch to my Google app, look up the business name and within a few taps I’m calling the person I’m looking for directly.

But, let’s take the opposite scenario. Last week, I was early for an appointment. I still had a song going through my head that I had heard on the radio a few minutes before. With time on my hands, I opened iTunes, searched for the song, found the album, paid for it and downloaded in two-and-a-half minutes flat – sweet!

I never even had to get out of the car.

In fact, for you tech newbies out there, I should state that if I hadn’t known the song’s title, I could have used my Sound Hound app (Spotify is another popular option) to identify the song by holding my phone up to the speaker – not while driving of course.

I could have even looked up the entire history of the band in my five spare minutes.

Frankly, there’s no excuse to not know something – anything, anytime you want. If you have a smartphone, you can look up the information.

And if you ask Ed Kundahl of IdeaOverTen in Allentown, pretty soon there will be no excuse not to BUY something – anything, anytime you want – if you have that smartphone.

Just like iTunes has been doing for several years, Kundhal said a wide range of retailers is now tapping into smartphone technology to turn every street corner into a sales floor.

Any retailer that isn’t adopting mobile sales technology is missing major sales opportunities, he said.

I actually bought a Flyers jersey on my iPhone recently. While out for dinner one night, my husband had mentioned seeing one on sale. I ducked my phone under the table, searched for the on-sale jersey, found it and bought it – and he was none the wiser.

David Van Allen, vice president of sales and marketing for INetU, said with the growth of cloud computing, people don’t need a big bulky computer to make a sales or banking transaction – or any exchange of sensitive or voluminous information.

All of the data is out in the cloud – it simply needs an access point, even something as small as a smartphone – to reach that data.

So today I quite literally have the entire world in my hands when I’m using my iPhone. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go post pictures of my cat on facebook.

 

Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe covers technology and trends plus keeps you up to date on what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler and on social media. Reach her at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook and circle her on Google+.

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