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Discussion Starter #1
Do you have one?

How much has it helped you/made your life easier? and in what way? Do you justify spending the monthly fees on it or do you get it through work?

I have been eyeing the new iPhone, sure it's nice to have but to me it's more of a want vs. need thing. Do I want one, absolutely. Do I need one? Not at the moment.
 

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I like some of the features of a smartphone but am not willing to pay for a data plan, so I've been using a simple cellphone for calls and an iPod Touch for smartphone features, which requires having a WiFi connection. You can actually do the same thing with an iPhone, a Nokia E71, or other smartphone that allows you to use WiFi -- just get a voice-only plan and use WiFi connections for your smartphone applications. The disadvantage of course is that WiFi is frequently unavailable and often costs money.

I just came back from a trip to Washington DC, where 80% of the population appears to be using smartphones, mostly Blackberries and iPhones. It was amusing and a little creepy to stand on a Metro platform and see all these people staring down at their phones and tapping away, oblivious to the world around them.

To me, the chief advantage of a smartphone is also its chief drawback: not only are you always available by phone, but by email as well. It can be helpful if you are traveling in the midst of a busy time at work and need to keep up with your email, but it can also lead to a lack of "down" time and it encourages employers and colleagues to expect you to be available 24/7.

I do find a smartphone useful in daily life: the iPod/iPhone has an app that shows me when the next bus will be passing by at the top of my street, and tells me how frequently the Metro trains are running on my line. I love the mapping capabilities -- even the iPod Touch, which doesn't have GPS, can use triangulation of known WiFi spots to show you where you are. It's remarkably accurate. Once it knows your location you can just type in a word like "pizza" and it'll populate the map with all pizza places in your area, and you can tap on any one to get the phone number (with the iPhone you can make a call as well). You can also use the iPod Touch to get turn-by-turn mapped directions that work even when you're out of range of WiFi (you have to use the Maps app to map out your route when you're connected to WiFi, but it saves the directions and you can follow them all the way home without being connected. It's not quite like GPS, more like a printout of Google Maps directions, but I've used it on several trips and it's great.

Data plans are far cheaper and more generous in the US than in Canada, so I'm boycotting data plans here; I'd rather not support overpriced plans and can use WiFi to meet my needs until/unless the rates come dow.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
brad, you touched on several good points regarding the smartphones. I could see people like marketing executives or real estate agents using them and taking advantage of their numerous features to make things more efficient...for the rest of us consumers, it is more of a toy than anything, albeit a productive toy for some folks.

Regarding the GPS and maps apps/features...my understanding is the iPhone needs to get signal from the network to give accurate position and locate points of interest...but that will incur exorbitant roaming charges when you are overseas so does it somewhat defeat the purposes?

I feel more comfortable bringing my portable GPS or paper maps when travelling rather than getting a surprise 3 or 4-digit bills in the mail when I come back.

I really like some of the apps for Iphone, i may get an older iPhone for a good deal and just try things out.
 

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You're right about the roaming fees for GPS etc.

Much as I love the idea of an iPhone (and truly love my iPod Touch), I'm actually buying an unlocked Nokia E71 which has many of the same capabilities (but with a standard keyboard, no touchscreen). When traveling in the US and Europe, my plan is to buy a pay-as-you-go local SIM card so I don't have to deal with the roaming fees. That's inconvenient from the standpoint of not having a fixed phone number, but when Google Voice becomes available to us Canadians that problem will be solved: you give out just one phone number to your friends and colleagues and it will ring on any phone you own no matter what its "real" phone number.

Virtually all my business travel and much of my vacation travel is in the US, and I'm really tired of paying $3/minute for cellphone calls when I'm there. Plus we go to France every two years to visit friends and family.
 

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I have a Blackberry. It's for work. On-call 24x7. Ugh. I guess you could say it's made my life worse. I'm looking forward to the day I can quit my IT job and get a simpler (though less paying but by then I wouldn't need such a high salary) job that doesn't have an electronic leash.

On the personal side of things, I wouldn't mind a smart phone. I've had an idea of what exactly I want since I first saw the Palm Pilot so many years ago. Unfortunately the current smart phones don't do entirely what I want yet but they're getting close. To be fair though of the devices, some of the functionality I want are services that which the phones can participate in now, it's just that the services aren't in place yet (or no one has thought of them yet.)
 

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I have an iPod touch, which gives me most of the "smartphone" features whenever I have a wifi connection. Thankfully, I have wifi at work, at home, and at most places in between. My mobile phone is a basic model from Virgin Mobile on a prepaid plan (I don't use it enough to warrant a monthly plan).

I'd like to get an iPhone so that I only have a single device to carry around, but I abhor the idea of paying a monthly stipend to a cell phone company for the privilege of using one. My plan is to pick up a used iPhone (there are plenty on eBay and Kijiji) and use it on the 7-11 "speakout" prepaid system. The 7-11 prepaid wireless uses the same network as Rogers, so an iPhone will work fine on that system even if it is "locked" to Rogers.

An iPhone with a monthly plan costs over $2500 spread over three years. A used iPhone on the 7-11 prepaid plan should cost less than $500. Somehow I don't think the benefit of wireless data for three years warrants the $2000 price difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Word is Telus and Bell may offer iPhone services as well. It will be a good move for them to take a bite out of the GSM market that Rogers/Fido have dominated in Canada for so long. I will see how that goes and if prices will go down before making the jump.

I could see Telus getting anxious about this, the Winter Olympic is fast approaching and the potential revenues from international delegations with GSM phones are there.

Speaking of Fido, i do believe they don't have the system access fee and they bill by the second so they are an attractive option for the frugal folks who also want to dabble in the latest and greatest.
 

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I have had an Android phone for a couple of weeks (Google's smartphone operating system). I was worried that it would make me feel chained to my desk, but instead I've found the opposite. My job is very slow during the summer. Having the email by my side means that I can run errands, take a walk outside etc, and still be available to solve problems when they arrise. We'll see if I still have the feeling of freedom in September when my busy season starts!

As for the data plan, I don't think that any amount of useful is going to justify the price I pay. But I pretty much knew that going in. So far the entertainment and productivity value isn't quite what I had hoped for, but the operating system is still new and growing fast, so I think that it will become more useful once more Canadian and/or touchscreen apps become available.
 

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I have a Nokia N95-8.
My mobile office for me. Email, pdf's, stock orders, 5 m-pixel cam for my rental apartments before handing over the keys, great FREE 3rd party software.
 

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I have a blackberry, and would love to dump it for the iPhone.

I use it mostly for personal/personal-business purposes. I find its saved me quite a few times as I'm able to access email with it throughout the day rather then when I get home from my day job. I use it for texting and email primarily. I'm better able to manage my personal-business stuff and its shown by way of increased revenue and better reviews since I upgraded from a regular call only phone.

The downside is definitely the data plan cost. I have an everything unilimited plan; data, text, minutes, which costs me $120 including GST and Telus' monthly access fee.
 

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I am another user of the HTC Touch. This phone is absolutely great! I have no actual business need for the phone at present (I will in the future) but I still find it very very useful for daily life. I got it in Feb 2008 before the iPhone was released and I don't regret it at all. I use it for all of the following:

- Facebook (Kinoma Play, Skyfire)
- Twitter (Kinoma Play, Skyfire)
- Youtube (Kinoma Play, Skyfire)
- RSS feeds (Kinoma Play)
- Full web browsing including flash (Skyfire)
- News feeds (Kinoma Play)
- Remote streaming access to multimedia on my home computer - music, pictures, videos (Kinoma Play, Orb)
- Online radio stations (Kinoma Play)
- mp3 player (Kinoma Play)
- camera (built in)
- GPS using internet GPS software (live search mobile, google maps mobile, etc)
- Full GPS software that doesn't involve any data (iGuidance)
- Finding points of interest (live search mobile, google maps mobile, Yelp [Kinoma Play], iGuidance)
- Reminder notes / to do lists (built in)
- Voice recordings - record all meetings with my doctor, etc so I can go back and see exactly what was said (built in)
- Text messages sent to me from Google Calendar when my appointments are coming up (built in)
- Lots of games (been collecting windows mobile games for years)
- Calculator (built in)
- Unit conversion - speed, weight, etc (ConverterCE)
- Tracking expenses using budgeting software (Pocket Finance Diary)
- Bible - 4 versions of it (Olive Tree)
- Phone (obviously built in)
- texting (built in)
- weather updates (built in)
- instant messaging (palringo - includes msn, gtalk, yahoo, aim, etc)
- free long distance (skype, google voice, fring)
- flight tracking (Kinoma Play)
- all my email accounts, how could I forget? (built in)
- other google services - finance, 411, notebook, docs, spreadsheets, search, images, etc etc (Skyfire)
- watch / stopwatch / timer / alarm (mostly built in)

Unlimited data + voice mail + caller id + 200 txt msgs only costs $15/month. That's on top of my regular voice plan ... but I have a great deal on that too. All our bill for 2 cell phones with all these features + fees + high speed internet at home + taxes comes to about $110 per month. I think it's worth it. This is with Bell Aliant btw.

On the other hand I don't recommend the phone for the technically unsavvy. Windows Mobile isn't the best OS out there. It locks up or crashes every few days so I have to restart. A minor annoyance. I had to upgrade the ROM on the phone myself to enable the GPS functionality and get faster data rates + a newer version of windows mobile. The windows mobile interface is pretty crappy compared to the iPhone. However, if you get the Kinoma Play software it basically makes your phone as easy and fun to use as an iPhone. It should be the operating system for the phone instead of windows mobile :)

You can also get unlimited tethered data to your laptop if you are willing to break a few of the terms of your contract a little bit ... which I'm not but I've heard of people who do this. I really would like tethering ... but I'll have to wait until it is allowed on my current plan or it becomes a lot cheaper.

Finally, one more plug for Kinoma Play. This is truly the best software ever made for windows mobile. Other than the things I already mentioned that I use it for it can do the following:
- make playlists including any content imaginable all mashed together, not just musc or mp3s (music, streams, videos, youtube, orb content, pictures, much more)
- picasa web albums on your phone
- a unique guide (Kinoma Guide) containing tons of podcasts, video comics, and tons of original content from places like ABC, CNN, NBC, National Geographic and on and on.
- audio books (using Audible)
- built in app store for downloading more cool apps
- clould backup and storage of files using box.net
- Flickr
- Image search (google, yahoo, bing)
- last.fm scrobbling (can't actually play music from it yet, but I'm sure that will come once last.fm allows it)
- Google Reader
- uploading pictures you've just taken to Facebook, Picasa, twitter, etc
- uploading videos you've just taken to YouTube
- integrated history of all content you've been looking at
- built in launcher for all other programs you have installed on the phone
- yes, it's that good. Spend the $30 if you have windows mobile ... now :) There is a free version (Kinoma FreePlay) that is really great ... but the pay version is still way better!
 

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I have an Iphone and I love it. It is my office away from the office. I was with FIDO before. I signed up during the CITY FIDO plan before Fido got bought by Rogers.

I have Unlimited incoming outgoing calls - $45
I have Unlimited Canadian Long distance - $20
I have biggest data plan and I have not gone over - $30
Visual Voice Mail - $15
System Access - $6.95

All in with tax - $134.02

Is it expensive, not really with what I do with it. I am very happy with the unlimited long distance and calls my business involves me being on the road a lot and on the phone a lot. Before I had unlimited I had $800 monthly phone bills when I was busy. I manage a building out in Oshawa so the long distance became a necessity as well. Now I use it to call my parents and customers that are far away.

Due to the email access I have now set up an email for tenant complaints. This makes it much easier for me to track.

All in all as cheap as I am this is one phone and service I think is good value for me.
 

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I don't have one either, but then I am in my RV parked on a beautiful beach in Baja, Mexico! Arrived yesterday after the 4,000 km drive. here until early March. RV fee 100 pesos or about $8.00CDN @ day. Huevos Rancheros for breakfast with fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee for $5.00CDN.
Life is good!
Free wifi on the beach at the moment, does that count?
 

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I have a cell phone. My wife has a smart phone (Blackberry something or other). Our respective companies cover all the bills on these things so we have no idea how much these things cost.
 

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I don't have one either, but then I am in my RV parked on a beautiful beach in Baja, Mexico! Arrived yesterday after the 4,000 km drive. here until early March. RV fee 100 pesos or about $8.00CDN @ day. Huevos Rancheros for breakfast with fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee for $5.00CDN.
Life is good!
Free wifi on the beach at the moment, does that count?
Who cares if your phone is smart when you are living the life of riley :p
 
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