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Are smart phones worth it?


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Are smart phones worth it?

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  #1 (permalink)
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Hello,

I'm assuming a large part of the community here has a smart phone. I'm wondering if they are worth the cost vs. a regular cell phone. I don't have one, but my wife does. I use hers to mass delete my emails and that is about it. I have had my own business for a couple of years now, and I havent come across too many situations where one would be necessary. I'm also not on facebook, and I consider emails mail, meaning they don't need to be read instantly.
I guess I consider them more handy then necessary, more like a toy. Please comment on your experience.

Thanks

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Yes of course.... I can't imagine not having a smart phone for about the last 8 or 9 years. Even before the iPhone, I at least had phones that had internet and email...

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Big Mike View Post
Yes of course.... I can't imagine not having a smart phone for about the last 8 or 9 years. Even before the iPhone, I at least had phones that had internet and email...

Mike

Ditto that.

Rick

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  #4 (permalink)
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BTW, if you are a power user, buy Android. If you are a grandparent or under the age of 10, buy an iPhone.

Let the flame wars begin!!



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Deciding to get a smartphone is very personal. I was in business as well and never found it necessary to have a smart phone. My business was computer and network consulting for small business and personal. Like you I treated email the same as mail and would get to them when I wasn't actively engaged with another customer. In fact, when on a customer's site, in the office working on a customers problem, or on the phone with another customer I MAY answer the phone just to take a message or I would let the call go to voice mail or to another one of my employees. So, I never developed the requirement for a smart phone. That worked very well.

I sold that business.

Now I am retired and doing a number of other things. I first got my smartphone because I teach horse riding lessons and all of my clients have a smartphone and update me with lesson times, cancellation, etc via text. What a life saver that is. I get the text and either reply immediately or delay until a more convenient time. I don't get interrupted any longer.

For a while I was using a VPS for my automated strategy trading. I could leave my desk and connect to the VPS via a remote desktop app running on my smartphone and still babysit the strategy to make sure it didn't have a party while I was gone.

Nice to have feature is simple communication from friends and family via text. Don't have to invest in verbal communication when a simple yes or no is all that is needed to answer a question. I still call when longer duplex types of communication is necessary or if I just want to hear their voice.

I do very little web surfing on the phone. But I will use the web to read something from time to time. However, I will usually use my iPad that I won in a futures.io (formerly BMT) contest or computer for most of that.

Hope this helps.

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Are you asking if the device itself is worth it or the additional $ for a data plan. I definitely would never go back to 90's dumb phones. I love the iPhone but it's expensive without a contract. The Nexus 5 seems to be reasonably priced, unlocked. You could just have the regular phone plan and use wifi for data.

Like most things, technology (smart phones) are probably not necessary (like food & water) but they are nice to have, it's a convenience for me. Though "worth it" is very subjective. $100 monthly for one person can be a lot, and for another not so much.

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You can get prepaid plans pretty cheap, I stopped using contracts a while ago and started buying my phones outright and using a prepaid plan, because it was far cheaper in the long run.

I am using an LG Optimus G Pro which I bought several months ago for $450 or so (much cheaper now), and a $40 a month AT&T pre-paid plan or so w/unlimited minutes and 2GB data. Plenty of data for me since I am on wi-fi 99% of time.

$100 a month plans are just expensive financing. If you plan to keep the phone for 1 year or more, it's cheaper to buy it outright, then sell it on ebay in a year for 50% of what you paid for it. You still come out ahead by not having a carrier based $100 a month plan.

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  #8 (permalink)
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I need something to keep me connected with futures.io (formerly BMT) when I am not at my computer. @Big Mike hasn't set up his can and string yet so the Iphone is my go to in order to see what is going on around here

Oh and I am over 10 and I hope 26 can't be considered Grandpa, so

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FIVE iphones on my monthly at&t bill. The kids regularly hit me with data overages (three per month) to the point where the monthly phone bill approaches 400 or even 500 bucks. I think what Mike said is that I can buy phones outright and then use prepaid to get the budget line under control. I will look into that. Thanks guys. DB

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Looks like it is $60 a month now for unlimited minutes, texts and 2GB data on AT&T:
Prepaid Cell Phone Plans, GoPhone Plans, & Prepaid Smartphone plans from AT&T

Verizon also has $60 unlimited/unlimited/2GB:
Prepaid Phones & Prepaid Plans: Cell Phone Plans - Verizon Wireless

For data keep in mind you should be on wi-fi pretty much everywhere so 2GB should be enough for most people.

You can find better deals, check sites like Coupons and Deals: The hottest coupon codes and cash back forums where people post limited time deals. There are some special plans like as a "Wal-Mart" customer for example, etc, that you need direct links for.

Last, if you have a day job at a big corporation, many times there is special corporate rate pricing you can get, even just as an employee.

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I don't have one. The only time I need one is if I am out and want to look something up, which isn't very often. But then I just call someone on my regular phone and have them look it up for me. Equally effective.

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I've got an Iphone 4S and wouldn't give it up. I mainly use it for web browsing, GPS, calls and itunes. It just beats having a separate phone, GPS ipod/mp3 and it means I can look something up on the fly when I'm out. Just convenience more than anything as with most things in modern life.

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vegasfoster View Post
I don't have one. The only time I need one is if I am out and want to look something up, which isn't very often. But then I just call someone on my regular phone and have them look it up for me. Equally effective.


Well said ,

I bought this type of phone but one of the older version which has nothing in it only the basics + torch

Doro PhoneEasy® 510 | Doro - Easy to use mobile phones and telecom products for seniors

and the battery lasts nearly 3 weeks if you don't talk that much

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lrfsdad View Post
Hello,

I'm assuming a large part of the community here has a smart phone. I'm wondering if they are worth the cost vs. a regular cell phone. I don't have one, but my wife does. I use hers to mass delete my emails and that is about it. I have had my own business for a couple of years now, and I havent come across too many situations where one would be necessary. I'm also not on facebook, and I consider emails mail, meaning they don't need to be read instantly.
I guess I consider them more handy then necessary, more like a toy. Please comment on your experience.

Thanks

1. Email, calendar, alarm
I agree that you should not try not to read your emails instantly when you're at your workstation, as it tends to interrupt your train of thought and result in poorer time management. That said, I've found it extremely useful to have the ability to reply to emails or check my schedule instantly at certain parts of the day, e.g. when I'm commuting, waiting for the plane to taxi, at lunch or dinner etc. - that's when the smartphone comes in very handy.

2. Browser, map and GPS
These have made a huge difference when I'm moving from commuting from place to place. I have to make work-related trips about twice per day and can't live without these.

3. Tethering
Tethering (USB, bluetooth, or carrier/hardware) is also extremely important if you fly very often. I've found about half of the domestic airports to have unusable Wi-Fi networks, including major hubs like JFK, ORD, DFW. It doesn't seem to be a problem on the west coast, nor BOS (which is unreliable maybe 10~20% of the time), but still a major time sink when you spend 15-30 minutes of your life each time trying to get a Wi-Fi signal.

4. Apps
I'm not sure about Milwaukee, but if you live in a large city like San Francisco, apps like Flywheel and Uber are very useful for transportation. The Bloomberg app is useful too. Any train, shuttle schedule or note-taking app is also hugely important. Honestly, that's about it. I don't use Facebook on my phone either - but that's because the Facebook app has been crap. It's slightly better on iOS but it's still crap.


rmejia View Post
Are you asking if the device itself is worth it or the additional $ for a data plan. I definitely would never go back to 90's dumb phones. I love the iPhone but it's expensive without a contract. The Nexus 5 seems to be reasonably priced, unlocked. You could just have the regular phone plan and use wifi for data.

Like most things, technology (smart phones) are probably not necessary (like food & water) but they are nice to have, it's a convenience for me. Though "worth it" is very subjective. $100 monthly for one person can be a lot, and for another not so much.


Big Mike View Post
You can get prepaid plans pretty cheap, I stopped using contracts a while ago and started buying my phones outright and using a prepaid plan, because it was far cheaper in the long run.

I am using an LG Optimus G Pro which I bought several months ago for $450 or so (much cheaper now), and a $40 a month AT&T pre-paid plan or so w/unlimited minutes and 2GB data. Plenty of data for me since I am on wi-fi 99% of time.

$100 a month plans are just expensive financing. If you plan to keep the phone for 1 year or more, it's cheaper to buy it outright, then sell it on ebay in a year for 50% of what you paid for it. You still come out ahead by not having a carrier based $100 a month plan.

Mike


Big Mike View Post
Looks like it is $60 a month now for unlimited minutes, texts and 2GB data on AT&T:
Prepaid Cell Phone Plans, GoPhone Plans, & Prepaid Smartphone plans from AT&T

Verizon also has $60 unlimited/unlimited/2GB:
Prepaid Phones & Prepaid Plans: Cell Phone Plans - Verizon Wireless

For data keep in mind you should be on wi-fi pretty much everywhere so 2GB should be enough for most people.

You can find better deals, check sites like Coupons and Deals: The hottest coupon codes and cash back forums where people post limited time deals. There are some special plans like as a "Wal-Mart" customer for example, etc, that you need direct links for.

Last, if you have a day job at a big corporation, many times there is special corporate rate pricing you can get, even just as an employee.

Mike

I'm considering the unlocked Nexus 5 with a prepaid plan too, but what I hate most about Android phones are their keypads. It's been annoyingly inaccurate even after years of practice. I don't use an iPhone but I've found it very easy to type on as soon as soon as I get my hands on one, without any practice. I can't tell if it's the hardware latency, the software latency difference between the Objective-C and Java native code, or the predictive algorithm on iOS vs Android.



The prepaid plan is about $38.20 (200 MB) or $18.20 cheaper per month, and the phone is $250 (Nexus 5) to $450 (iPhone 5S) more without a contract, ignoring that you can resell the phone on eBay. This amounts to a $666.80 (Nexus 5), $466.80 (iPhone 5S), $186.80 (Nexus 5) or -$14.20 (iPhone 5S) savings, meaning that you are generally better off getting the plan anyway unless you make do with 200 MB. I'm willing to pay that $233.40/year differential for a keypad...

I'm still on my plan from a previous employer, I guess it saves 23% off the plan. Sprint has slightly better employee discounts than AT&T or Verizon, but the former has worse connectivity and coverage on its 4G network than AT&T/Verizon 3G.




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  #15 (permalink)
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thanks all for the discussion.

IMO it seems that people don't want to pay the additional monthly charge until they find that one app that makes it worth it for them. EX: my dad works outside and is an avid sporting clays shooter, once he found out he could get weather on his phone with radar, he was sold.......What is it with old guys and weather????

My wife takes alot of pics of our kids and can upload them to whatever site it is she uses to organize them. SHe also has a small glowing object to stare at while nursing at 11pm and 2am and 4am.......

My brother got one and says it's just a toy, and not really worth it, but he does like his facts and chicks app as well as chive

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  #16 (permalink)
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For about a year or more I patiently (and politely) hounded friends/associates for a hand-me-down (Sprint/Ting) smartphone because I didn't think I needed one. A generous person finally gave me and my mom their old phones and I proved to myself that I still didn't need a smartphone.

But I really do enjoy using it on WiFi: watching videos, browsing, radio (TuneIn), checking email (easier/lazier than using a computer).

But 2-year service contracts and "unlimited" data costs are not worth it to me.

This is where I highly recommend switching to Ting if you have decent Sprint coverage in your area. You pay for what you use. I pay $12-$15/month for my low usage. Find a free used Sprint phone, or cheap Samsung Galaxy S Epic 4G (Android Gingerbread, SPH-D700: $75) or low cost Samsung Galaxy SII Epic 4G Touch (Android Jelly Bean, SPH-D710: $120). Prices are from Swappa. Model numbers mentioned are for Sprint/Ting only. Ting is now accepting certain Sprint iPhone 4/4S models.

Here's a $25 credit toward service or a phone! Feel free to ask any questions.

EDIT: Sprint is in the middle of a major network upgrade and will be turning up their 800Mhz spectrum any day now. This will greatly improve coverage and building/tree penetration for voice/text/2G/4G LTE (not 3G as of yet). Most all current Sprint phones being used support 800Mhz. If anyone is considering purchasing a brand new phone then I highly recommend Tri-Band LTE (Sprint Spark) phones: LG Nexus 5, LG G2, HTC One Max, Samsung Galaxy S4T, Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, and Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3

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My main reason for having a smartphone is I can check prices and trade when I can't be at the computer. Trading apps are great now.

But weather and maps are much used things too.

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With plans starting at $5, Republic Wireless looks more 'un-carrier' than T-Mobile | The Verge

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I just upgraded my hand-me-down 3 year old Sprint Samsung Epic 4G to CyanogenMod which is a community developed Android Jelly Bean variant. Man what a difference! Its like I got a new phone! I can't wait for Android Kit Kat!

CyanogenMod is making news recently with their Windows-based installer. Be very careful before taking the leap. Depending on your phone not all carrier functions may be available. But if you have a really old Android Gingerbread phone or tablet I would put some effort into researching it.

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  #20 (permalink)
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A full-featured Android phone can now be bought on Alibaba for $35. Given the price trend, that means that within a couple of years all 8 billion humans will have a fully-Internet equipped, sensor enabled mobile computer within reach. What will that mean for humanity?

Personally, as traders, I believe we should strive to be early adopters. We should be ready to shake off our fossilized notions about technologies, even ones that we are attached to, and turn on a dime to embrace the new.

I am not an early adopter by any means, and my first iPhone was my fourth smartphone. Now I have an iPhone5, and although I love it dearly, it's practically perfect, nevertheless I wish I could upgrade to a 5S, because I need to understand the implications of the several new groundbreaking mobile technologies the 5S contains.

That is, I believe it is very important to understand mobility.

The way you understand is by getting skin in the game.

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Most people fixate on the price of the handset, but what you are really buying is a $3000 2-year contract for phone service. It's almost a razors and razorblades thing. Your handset cost is almost incidental in the whole equation.

I believe the US TCO on an iPhone is a little more than $3000, and for an Android phone a little less (because Android users tend to consume fewer packets, apps, and digital contents, as a matter of course.

So to put it another way, if you get an iPhone, statistically speaking you are likely to use it more. This might be a good or a bad thing, depending.

Do you embrace addictions, or eschew them?

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Quoting 
Mark Mills , the CEO of the Digital Power Group, teaches us that a medium-size refrigerator will use about 322 kW-h a year whereas the average iPhone uses about 361 kW-h a year once the wireless connections, data usage and battery charging are tallied up.

Noise compared to contract costs but I found it funny.

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lrfsdad View Post
Hello,

I'm assuming a large part of the community here has a smart phone. I'm wondering if they are worth the cost vs. a regular cell phone. I don't have one, but my wife does. I use hers to mass delete my emails and that is about it. I have had my own business for a couple of years now, and I havent come across too many situations where one would be necessary. I'm also not on facebook, and I consider emails mail, meaning they don't need to be read instantly.
I guess I consider them more handy then necessary, more like a toy. Please comment on your experience.

Thanks

I'd say in this business its very useful not just for email/calls/text, but for a redundant internet connection via tethering, and secondly if the PC goes down to provide a redundant emergency execution platform in that many brokers allow you to execute via app or mobile web. Two critical uses for me, and of course to kill time when in a trade :-)

Thanks,

Sand.

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  #24 (permalink)
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I just want to testify that I have never purchased a Smart Phone nor do I intend to. I find life a lot less stressful without obligation to cell phones.

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Dedrick View Post
I just want to testify that I have never purchased a Smart Phone nor do I intend to. I find life a lot less stressful without obligation to cell phones.

True Conversation that took place years ago
A: Get a normal cell phone
B: Why?
A: You can see who calls you!
B:Why do I need to see who calls me?
A: What if you don't want to talk to them?
B: Why would I give my number to someone I don't to talk to?
A: Dad, you win. Bye

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  #26 (permalink)
Kyoto, Japan
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: TW TOS LiveVol
Broker: TD, TW, IB, Saxo
Trading: VXX, VIX, SPY
 
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Posts: 1,304 since Oct 2013
Thanks: 825 given, 1,390 received

What you can do if stuck in the airport with just an iPhone:


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  #27 (permalink)
Calgary Alberta/Canada
 
 
Posts: 934 since Feb 2014

I am another in the never-owned-a-cellphone category...never mind a smart phone with internet connectivity.

Even as a Sales Manager in the 1990's when the novelty was there and I suppose the utility was sort of there, I resisted the use even though the contract and phone costs would have been covered by the company back then.

There was nothing in my life that required an instant response. When in the office, my nickname was "Pa Bell" as I was constantly on the phone. I treasured the few hours that I left the office on sales calls. I educated my staff as to making decisions on their own for small things...they knew what was/was not acceptable while I was away and I regularly phoned in (via pay phone) to check for messages. Nowadays I suppose I would have succumbed by now but my working days of normal jobs are a distant memory.

Land line telephone voice mail and e-mail is fine for me. When I travel, I take a small netbook with a 10" screen and full keyboard. I am a chartist....I'd go blind trying read charts on a cell-phone sized screen.

I do agree that there are certain jobs that require cellphones...lawyers, real estate salespeople and the like definitely need instant access....but not me...I like privacy and I am on the computer enough as it is.

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  #28 (permalink)
Birmingham UK
 
 
Posts: 336 since May 2014
Thanks: 7 given, 64 received

I went smart phone nearly 4 years ago with the Iphone 4 3.5" screen, shortly after it came out.

Then the Razr I 4.3" phone, very nice tough beast 18months still working perfectly.

LG G2 5.2", used for 6months as primary phone and trading, but too big to carry around in the summer so back to the Razr I, but I do carry around a Ipad Mini 4G to trade off these days


Also have a Nexus 7 3G, good to have backup plans I find. ( battery barely lasts the morning trading, Ipad all day )

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  #29 (permalink)
Singapore
 
 
Posts: 11 since Feb 2014
Thanks: 0 given, 3 received

Definitely useful if you plan to trade from it and constantly on the move or in meetings.

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  #30 (permalink)
Garland Utah / United States
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Trading: Futures, CL
 
Posts: 2 since Jun 2014
Thanks: 11 given, 1 received

I got rid of the land line and had an older cell phone that I purchased the T-mobile 1000 minutes for $100 and that should last a full year. My brother and I share it so that tell's you how much we use a phone. Now a computer and internet is a different story, I'm on it 8 to 10 hours a day. I think I can say the same for my brother. I can't see a need for a smart phone, I went for a walk with a girl friend and she was on it half the time with issues. Leave the phone at home or in the car and enjoy life....

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