Every time you get a new mobile phone, they come with more gadgets than you would ever think possible, most of which you probably have no intention of using, and certainly don’t need. However, whether you’re someone who loves to have all the latest gadgets and gizmos, or a technophobe who only has a mobile phone because they have suddenly become an essential part of modern life, there are a few things you should probably know about (even if it’s just so you don’t look completely blank when someone asks you about your new phone).
Smart phones can now do just about everything your computer can do – you can have your email set up to download automatically, browse the internet, upload pictures to Facebook and videos to YouTube, all just by pressing a few buttons. This is becoming even faster and easier to do now, with the development of the new 4G networks.
The world of mobile phones is becoming increasingly complicated, and the technophobe now has little choice but to learn how to use a smart phone, since it is now difficult to get hold of a mobile phone that does not have these capabilities. As the world becomes more reliant on mobile technology, and internet on the move becomes increasingly important, it will be even harder to keep up with the latest developments in the field. You would be highly advised to get yourself a contract phone, as this will include internet access (referred to as a data allowance), so click here and find the latest deals on contract phones.
What is 4G and what does it mean for me?
Until recently, all the talk about phone networks centred around 3G, which simply stands for third generation. You may also have heard of tri-band, which is something you needed to be aware of (and to have) if you were planning on taking your mobile phone with you on holiday. Essentially, tri-band and 3G are two different names for the same thing, which is just making it more complicated than it needs to be.
3G was generally very slow to be adopted by the phone companies, taking about six years for it to become widely used after its initial release. Smart phones, however (the iPhone, BlackBerry and some Android devices), soon took advantage of the 3G network capabilities, using it to provide thousands of people with mobile internet.
In stark contrast to this, 4G has been adopted very quickly indeed. 4G, or fourth generation, is the next network advancement to come into use. If you live in a major city, then chances are you will have access to a 4G network, and your tech-savvy friends will soon be talking about it; if they aren’t already, that is. So, what is all this 4G nonsense and why do you need to know about it? As long as your phone still works, that’s all that matters, right?
What is 4G? Well, it is a new network that provides fast broadband access to the internet while you are on the move. It’s not just for phones either – you can use it with your laptop and a range of other devices too.
Are the phones actually safe to use?
Ever since mobile phones first became available, there has been controversy over whether they are safe to use. If anything, this has become an increasing concern, as the devices become more common, people rely on them more for all sorts of uses, and children are now using them on a regular basis, not just adults. A huge amount of research has been carried out in this area, and if you have kids who use mobile phones, then it is worth knowing about some of this, as it could help to set your mind at ease.
So, just what should you be aware of when it comes to mobile phones and health concerns?
- One of the most worrying concerns is the possibility that mobile phones might contribute to the development of a variety of cancers. However, many long term studies have been carried out and they show no clear evidence that this is the case.
- Thermal effects, due to the microwave radiation given off while the phone is in operation, are also considered to be a risk. Microwaves cause water molecules to rotate, heating up the surrounding area. However, the increase in temperature in the head that can result from mobile phone use is far less than that caused by being in direct sunlight. This means that mobile phones are highly unlikely to cause any damage, especially as the brain is able to deal with changing temperatures by altering the blood flow.
- The only concern that has been shown by scientific studies to be a genuine risk is the effect of mobile phone use on sleep. Over a decade of research has now been carried out in this area, and a number of studies have now shown that sleep quality is reduced as a result of using a mobile phone. However, unless they are used for a significant amount of time, these effects are likely to be negligible.
What about apps – what do I need to know?
If you know anybody who is currently using some form of smart phone, whether or not you have one yourself, chances are you will have heard of apps. These are sometimes called mobile apps, and they are small software programs that are designed to run specifically on phones. Some will also work on tablets such as the iPad. Apps can be downloaded directly to your phone from the internet, and there is an app for just about everything you can think of, plus a whole lot more that you would have never even imagined.
Many are games, but there are some that are much more useful. The specific apps that are available to you depend on the type of phone that you are using, but many apps are now available for the three major types of smart phone – Apple iPhone, BlackBerry and Android.