Read these 10 Lifestyle Phones Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Cellphone tips and hundreds of other topics.
There are phones out there to meet all kinds of lifestyles. For children, there are phones that have simple buttons to call mom and dad or 911. For business people, there are smartphones that combine organizer and cellphone technologies. For music fans, there are cell phones that link up to music services. For gadget geeks, there are phones that do everything.
So which one is right for you? It depends on your lifestyle. But the best advice is this: If you think you need a phone that does something specific besides make calls -- take photos, play MP3s, etc. -- go for one that's got the ability to meet your needs best in that area rather than one that does everything. For example, if you really want a cell phone that plays music, go for the Motorola ROKR or Sony Ericsson Walkman phone rather than a phone "that also plays MP3s."
The smartphone combines the convenience of an organizer with the communication abilities of a phone. For businesspeople, it has quickly become an indispensible tool. For gadget geeks, it's a new toy with enough complexity to keep them busy for days.
But until recently, the big question for both the gadget geeks and busy executive has been whether to go Palm or PC.
Palm was out first with the Treo line, but there are many more brands of smartphones today on the PC side.
Which is right for you? If you're a Palm geek already, go Palm. But if you're undecided, check out the Windows phone for comparison.
For serious sports fans, the ESPN phone is good news. Looking to move its worldwide leadership of sports content into the wireless world, ESPN has become a wireless provider on its own. So to get ESPN scores, videos and other content on your cell phone, you have to buy an ESPN phone and plan. And you have to be ready to pay a lot of money. The phone -- a Sanyo 9000 -- costs $499, a steep price even with a $100 rebate. And plans start at $34.95 and go up to $225 per month. So unless you are a well-heeled sports geek, you're better off waiting for the price to come down before you jump in.
Since the launch of iTunes and iPod three-plus years ago, it was only a matter of time before cell phone trends took the music route. Music fans have been waiting for the cell phone and the MP3 player to combine into one useful tool. Today, many phones double as MP3 players, but that breakthrough combo still hasn't been seen. The Motorola ROKR and the new SLVR are both iTunes compatible, but have crippled functionality. The Sony Ericsson W800i Walkman phone has better features, but isn't iTunes compatible. For music fans, the perfect iPod phone still hasn't appeared.
For gadget geeks and snapshooters, a camera is now an essential part of a cell phone purchase. The first generation of cell phones had 640x480 resolution (2 megapixel), which is fine for cell phones but less than desireable for printing. These days, it's becoming much more common to see 1 megapixel and even 2 megapixel cameras. These phones will come closer to decent 4x6 standard print-size images. And you can expect to see even better camera phones sooner rather than later. Samsung just announced a 10 megapixel phone that rivals the best digital cameras. So if a camera phone is important to you, don't settle for less than 2 megapixels and if you can wait even for a few months, you'll likely be able to do a lot better.
For parents, giving a child a cell phone can ease concerns about whereabouts, safety and emergencies. For children, a cell phone can be a tool, but also an expensive toy.
You can keep everyone happy by purchasing a cell phone with prepaid minutes for your child's use. This way, the child has a phone to use for emergencies, but can't run up big bills.
Seeking to capture the only market left to penetrate, cell phone manufacturers are now focusing on children. But do you need to buy your child a $129 Firefly phone? The answer: It depends on your child's age and sophistication level. For children under 12, a children's phone might be a good investment, since you can limit who the child calls, etc. For teenagers, however, a standard cell phone should work and allow you to discuss responsibility with the child.
If you're taking and sending photos or videos, or even just dowloading videos to watch on one of the new high-speed networks, check your contract carefully before you begin dowloading. Some contracts cost up to $25 extra per month and allow only a few included messages or downloads before they begin charging per download. This can add up quick and no one likes getting cell phone bills for hundreds of dollars more than expected.
If you're wondering about the future of cellphones, look across the ocean -- either ocean. Both Europe and Asia are often way ahead of the US in terms of new cellphone technology. Here are some of the new services and features already released in Europe that we'll see sooner or later:
* Broadband phones: We're starting to see phone networks speed up already, but nothing like the widespread use in Europe and Asia. And along with high-speed pipes come high-speed services like TV, video on demand and GPS. For gadget geeks and casual users alike, this will be big.
* True digital camera phones: Samsung just released a 10 megapixel digital cam phone in Korea. We won't see that for a while, but you can expect to soon see phone cams rival average digital cams in terms of resolution and features. For cameraphone fans, this is good news.
* Complete convergence: Expect to see cell phones that combine high-speed pipes, full-featured still and video cams, and powerful computers in smaller and smaller packages.
Addicted to video? This is an important distinction when looking at cell phones. For video capture, which means shooting video, you need to have a phone with a camera that shoots video and can then transfer it via email or sync. For video playback, which means watching videos, you do not need the camera. For gadget geeks, the phone with camera will be the only choice. Most others will want to be educated enough to make a choice.