Smartphones: What to look for in your next purchase

(NC) -- Seventy-nine percent of smartphone users have their phones on or near them all but two hours of the day when they're awake, according to a recent IDC Research report. For many, smartphone use is now a way of life, making it even more important to think carefully before you choose your next one. Today's market is competitive, and new phones, such as the new BlackBerry 10 smartphones are emerging.

Most phone purchases come with a three-year contract. That means consumers need to think carefully before they buy, make sure they're taking advantage of technology that will help them the most and look beyond the hype to focus on what's most important.

Here are five questions to ask when you're thinking about a smartphone purchase.

1. Is the phone you're considering taking advantage of the latest technologies?

Over the course of the next few years, Near Field Communications (NFC) will offer new ways to exchange data and make payments. Before you sign your two-year contract, make sure your next device has NFC capabilities.

2. Will your new smartphone allow you to respond quickly and accurately to incoming messages?

Before you buy a device, make sure you try out the keyboard. Not all keyboards – virtual or otherwise – are created equal. Make sure the keypad spacing facilitates precision. The new touchscreen BlackBerry Keyboard, for example, learns your writing style and suggests words to help you type faster, more accurately and with the least amount of effort. Response is not just about typing; it's also about being able to count on your browser to quickly give you what you're looking for. Make sure your new phone is taking advantage of the latest browser technology to provide you with answers when you need them.

3. Will your new device allow you to capture the important moments?

As innovation in mobile camera technology is accelerating, why capture moments in grainy pictures where everyone has their eyes closed? With advanced camera features on today's devices, you can take pictures in rich, brilliant detail where perfect smiles are captured for every person in every photo.

4. Will this new phone allow you to multi-task?

How often do you want to look at an email, while tracking Twitter and viewing a video? For true multi-taskers who are always on the move, the answer to that is all the time. Be sure your device is up to the challenge and can easily switch between multiple apps and media without the dreaded churn. With messaging inboxes like the Hub on the BlackBerry Z10, you can stay close to what's important and keep everything that matters to you in one place by peeking into the Hub from any app with just a single swipe.

5. Will your new phone keep you organized?

Most smartphones have a calendar, email, memos and tasks. Having all that information spread across multiple data silos on your device doesn't necessarily keep you organized. In fact, it can do the opposite as you exhaust search capabilities across apps to find what you need. Make sure your new device can keep all your important details organized for quick reference so you aren't spinning wheels drilling for information that should be readily available.

More than ever, today's consumers are depending on smartphones to manage their daily lives. And smartphone technology continues to evolve to meet the ever-changing mobile lifestyle. Before you jump to make your next mobile purchase, think carefully about the features that will best help you keep moving through every day.


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