Are Smartphones And Tablets Killing The Traditional PC?

In the early days of the Internet, there was only one device that enabled you to access it. That was the desktop computer.

Laptop computers have existed for as long as desktops have, but due to hardware limitations, they never really became a viable alternative.

In a technical sense, laptops are “mobile” devices, but still require the user to be seated to use. It hasn’t been until recently that we have seen truly mobile devices.

The Rise Of Smartphones
The first smartphone was invented in 1992, three years before the term “smartphone” even existed. It was IBM’s “Simon,” which was a cellphone with a monochrome LCD touchscreen and a stylus.

It was the first phone was able to send faxes, pages, and emails and it was even capable of running third party applications.

It came with built-in features that are so commonplace on today’s smartphones that most people take them for granted, such as a calendar, a notepad, a world clock, and a way to schedule appointments.

Simon didn’t sell well and its $899 price tag surely didn’t help move units either. For comparison, that’s the same purchasing power as $1607 in 2018.

It wasn’t until Apple’s iPhone in 2007 that the modern smartphone became mainstream. IBM was able to sell a total of 50,000 Simon smartphones over its entire lifetime, a number that is dwarfed by Apple’s 1.4 million iPhone sales in the first year of its existence.

The Aging Desktop
Hardware advancements in recent years have made smartphones powerful enough to perform all the basic functions that consumers were using desktops for in the early days of the Internet.

Smartphones are also priced lower than their desktop counterparts. Sure, if you compare the price of a brand new, top-of-the-line smartphone to a much more powerful desktop PC you may find that the desktop by itself is less expensive.

But for a desktop to function you also need peripherals like a monitor, keyboard, a mouse, speakers, etc. You also need a desk, a chair, a constant source of power, and, in most cases, an entire dedicated room. One could make the argument that you need to pay for a cell phone service to be able to use all the functions of a smartphone, but that isn’t much different than paying for an ISP.

Tablets
In 2010, Apple made yet another mobile device that would change the tech world forever: the tablet. Tablets are essentially large smartphones although they aren’t typically used to make phone calls.

Due to their size, they are capable of carrying stronger hardware than smartphones and they are easier to use as a practical tool in the workplace. There are even specialized “professional” tablets that are designed with detachable keyboards and Bluetooth mice that run the same operating systems that their desktop cousins do.

They weigh less than modern “lightweight” notebook laptops, and have the advantage of a touchscreen. Their functionality comes at a steep price though, and it’s one that will be felt by your wallet. Most “professional” laptops will cost even more than the most powerful desktops and laptops.

No Clear Winner
Each option has different pros and based on how you intend to use it. Although smartphones and tablets have been quickly taking over the home user market, almost all workplaces still use the desktop computer.

The price per performance ratio is still in the desktop’s favor. It could be a very long time before mobile devices gain the functionality of a desktop while matching their price.

How to Cut Down Your Mobile Data Usage

With unlimited mobile data plans being few and far between, it is imperative to monitor and manage your data usage to prevent outrageously high cellular bills. Even if you have an unlimited plan grandfathered into your service, there are other benefits to cutting down your mobile data usage, including increased battery life on your device and faster service in general. Try these tips to keep your data usage at a minimum:

• Track your usage. It’s impossible to set a usage goal or identify problems without knowing how much data you use and how you use it. Within the settings of your smartphone, you can easily find how much data you’ve used in a billing period and even set warnings for when you approach your data limits.

• Identify what applications use the most data. This can also be done within your smartphone’s settings where you can see app usage at a glance and can also set warnings or cut-off limits at this level. After assessing how much data each application uses, you may even want to delete the most data-hungry ones.

• Take advantage of free WiFi. A wide array of businesses offer free wireless Internet service as a perk to customers, so don’t pass up the opportunity to get your high-usage needs met at no expense to you. You can even configure your settings where applications only update when WiFi is available.

• Put the stymie on streaming music and video. While you may like to show your friends the latest footage off of YouTube or listen to your playlists while on a run, these activities come with a high data usage price tag. Try waiting to view videos until WiFi is available and make your playlists available offline to listen to them at will without any costly data usage.

Just by implementing these simply usage-reducing and awareness strategies, you can greatly decrease your cellular data bill and the workload on your smartphone device. This is a win-win no matter how you look at it.

Is Antivirus Necessary For Smartphones?

July_2015_CellPhone_email_sizeChances are, you have an antivirus program installed on your personal computer. You may not, however, have the same sort of protection for your smartphone.

If you don’t, you’re certainly not alone. Being part of a majority, however, doesn’t make the data on your smartphone safe. The same threats that lurk in cyber land can attack your phone as easily as a personal computer, but there isn’t a lot of attention being given in the media and other venues about viruses on smartphones.

So, despite that lack of attention, should you install antivirus protection on your smartphones and tablets?

The truth is that you should. Smartphones are fast becoming the prime method of accessing the Internet, and the amount and nature of sensitive data on these devices puts you, your business, and even others whom you hold dear at risk.

Since many viruses are designed to gain access to personal information on devices, the risks are greater than you may think. We may not think about installing antivirus applications on our smartphones because it doesn’t address a widespread problem at this time.

In the near future, however, viral attacks on phones is inevitable. From an employer’s standpoint, the need to protect smartphones is even more important than on a personal level. With more and more business being conducted via handheld devices, a virus on a smartphone has the potential to interrupt operations, causing costly delays and compromising sensitive company data.

Security software applications that can protect smartphones are available for download. Look for one that is not just vigilant against malware, however.

It should also provide an option to remotely wipe smartphones clean in the case of a viral attack to protect company data as well as have a GPS location feature to facilitate easy recovery.

Another feature experts recommend in a security software application is the ability to limit the types of applications employees download onto their company-provided smartphones.

Security Tips To Keep Your Mobile Phone Secure

We’ve all seen the stories about celebrities getting their mobile phones hacked and having their private photos splattered all over the web.

Although you may think there is nothing of real interest on your phone, you are still at risk of security invasion. Any number of people could have motive to do so from exes to a colleague who perceives you as a threat, and even innocuous content on your phone can be taken out of context to reflect negatively on you in general.

Use some of these simple tips to protect your mobile phone and reputation:

Passwords
Your passwords are your primary defense against would-be hackers – from your lock code to email account password. Don’t share your passwords with others. Also, make sure your passwords aren’t easily guessed, such as your pet’s name or child’s birthday.

A secure password may not be as easily remembered, but it is far harder to hack. Finally, shield your phone’s screen when entering passwords in public lest onlookers take note of which buttons you push.

Clear Out the Cobwebs
In addition to creating more storage space on your mobile phone, it is just wise to remove old text conversations, photos, and other data periodically.

Back up the things you want to keep onto other devices, so you can access them later. With all of the excess stuff you don’t use on a regular basis gone, you leave less for hackers to work with if the security of your mobile phone is breached. In the event of being hacked, you would also likely lose all of those things, so backing such info up protects you twofold.

Beef Up Security
Take advantage of the lesser-known security features of your mobile phone. For example, turn off the Discoverable mode on your Bluetooth.

Look on your phone under Security to see if there are already included options, such as an automatic lock screen that activates after a certain period of inactivity.

There are also applications you can download to increase the level of security on your phone, including apps that allow you to access and control your phone remotely in the case of loss or theft.

How The “Internet of Things” Will Affect Small Business

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

Just when you thought you had the Internet mastered, something new crops up on the horizon.

One of the newest advances that will likely revolutionize the world is the Internet of Things (IoT).

If you haven’t heard of this, you’re not alone, but this idea is fast becoming a realization. Simply put, the IoT refers to how it is possible to remotely control and monitor just about anything via sensors and, of course, your Internet connection – from opening your home’s garage door from your office to the level of dog food remaining in your pooch’s bowl.

This concept recently gained definition at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference when the company unveiled two applications for iOS8.

The first was the HealthKit app, which lets users keep up with health and fitness data without wearing an actual tracker. The other was the HomeKit that can remotely control electronic devices like lights and cameras at home. [Read more…]