May 19, 2020

Top smartphones: Opening doors to a communications revolution

Melissa Rudd
Bizclik Editor
4 min
Top smartphones: Opening doors to a communications revolution
Gone are the days when mobile phones were simply geared for making calls away from the office and sending a quick text message. Technology has evolved. Today, the era of the smartphone is upon us, and the benefits it has for businesses are nothing short of substantial.

So, what is the definition of a smartphone? To put it simply, smartphones feature much more computing ability and connectivity than standard phones. They are able to run applications and have powerful processors that make accessing the internet speedier. They also have bigger memory space than standard mobile phones, earning them the name ‘compact mobile computers’.

It has taken a while for the technology to reach Africa, but now that it has, smartphones have opened up the door to communication across the continent and will only become more popular as 2011 progresses.

In South Africa in particular, the smartphone revolution is in full swing. Global technology researchers Gartner predicts smartphone penetration in South Africa will likely reach 80 percent by 2014.

With handset prices reducing all the time, research suggests that Africa, along with the Middle East, will be among the top two global smartphone markets with an estimated compound annual growth rate of 39 percent to look forward to over the next four years.

Even Maasai vets are benefiting from the use of donated Google smartphones through a Vet Aid charity project. Pre-loaded software has enabled farmers and vets to use the Global Positioning System (GPS) to monitor how animal diseases are spreading in their area and begin vaccinating to prevent them.

MTN, Africa’s largest mobile operator, has invested 15 million rand in the past two years in network upgrades to accommodate the high-intensity data requirements for smartphones.

Considering the usability and advantages a smartphone has over a standard mobile phone, buying one would certainly work out to be a shrewd investment. Indeed, the line between laptops and smartphones is continually blurring amidst advancements in technology that are allowing for better operating systems and quicker internet access via the 3G network. The need to carry around a laptop is being lessened with each development, and it is widely predicted that by 2012, smartphones will outsell laptops.

The features of smartphones vary according to model and type as just like computers, smartphones function using an operating system (OS). The below-named five are certainly among the best smartphones on the market, one that can be used away from the office for busy businessmen and women on-the-go.

RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700

Users of BlackBerries will say that for the use of email, the RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 is the best on the market, and it is hard to argue that point. The term ‘crackberry’ is now often used to describe BlackBerrys, such is the notorious addictiveness of the smartphone to its users.

The Bold 9700, powered by the BlackBerry 6 OS, is a 3G phone with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth plus secure email, picture messaging, and web browsing. It can also integrate up to 10 email accounts into one easy-to-access place, along with your calendar, contacts, and other important data so business can be conducted almost anywhere.

iPhone 4

Proudly labelled by Apple as ‘the world’s thinnest smartphone’, the iPhone 4 boasts a 960x640-pixel resolution touch screen, 3.5 inches in size. Users can read new emails from all accounts in one combined inbox, and multi-tasking is enabled.

There are thousands of third-party iPhone apps designed for business use. You can manage your sales pipeline, tap into your accounting system, manage your supply chain, or even attend a web conference.

Samsung Galaxy S

Using the Android OS, the Galaxy S allows business users to edit documents easily. It features ThinkFree Office Mobile, which allows images and text to be edited within Microsoft Office documents (Excel, Word and PowerPoint).

It also has an intelligent text input system called Swype that makes it possible for the user to trace their finger from one letter to the next with the on-screen QWERTY keypad as it recognises which letters to type, rather than single letter input.

Nokia E72

Billed as a ‘high-performance device tailor-made for seamless business and personal communication’, the Nokia E72 is built for purpose. Using the Symbian OS version 9.3, it has full support for push email, web browsing, and attachment editing. It also allows for Windows Live Messenger, made easier with a traditional QWERTY keypad.

The product’s battery life too is very desirable as it boasts nine hours talk time along with GPS and a 4 GB MicroSD memory card included, with support for a whopping 16 GB.

HTC Desire

Also using the Android OS, the HTC Desire offers support for exchange mail, contacts, and calendar making it an attractive business option.

It has a high-resolution 3.7 inch OLED screen alongside thousands of apps available for business users, including one that uses the 5 megapixel camera to scan documents and turn them into PDFs. Another app meanwhile allows a USB connection to print from the phone to an office.

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