We were presented with an interesting question last week and thought it really deserved a solid look. The question was, “What smartphone do you recommend for someone without a computer.” Frankly, we hadn’t really considered this scenario, but there might be some that have replaced that home computer with a smartphone, or even better, that want to replace it. We took a look at the major platforms and tried to put together a pros and cons list for each operating system.
#4 – Windows Phone
For a company that is stressing ‘cloud computing’ so hard, Microsoft sure doesn’t make it easy to use Windows Phone without a computer. Forget about adding music, syncing images and even getting your full sized images uploaded online. There are also no options for full device backup, contact to SIM backup or removable memory for when the device “fills up”. That said, Windows Phone is excellent for handling communications needs, social networking and editing Office documents. Just think of Windows Phone as a baby netbook. It isn’t a computer replacement, but it will do many of the daily tasks until you run out of room.
#3 – iOS
The bane of the iPhone to many is the fact that most of the functionality of the device requires iTunes. Apple is moving quickly away from this with iCloud and other online services, but not fast enough to catch some of the others. We love seeing device backups, image upload tools and pieces that help keep that precious memory clear in a replacement device. We also like the fact that App and music purchases can be made from the device. Unfortunately, without expandable memory, the iPhone just isn’t a long term viable replacement.
#2 BlackBerry OS
Many of you are probably in shock that we placed the BlackBerry OS ahead of the iPhone and Windows Phone, but we have a good reason. The BlackBerry OS transfers so easily between devices that no real “backups” are needed. Music can be saved from just about anywhere. They feature removable memory for virtually unlimited storage and their physical keyboards are very user friendly for keeping in contact with others. While they may have fallen behind, BBOS10 will come out someday, and when it does, a BlackBerry may be the next device to replace that dying laptop.
There is only one OS that has a tablet that will run like a computer and phones to match. With their mixture of amazing sync software (if you are on ICS there are even more options) and full fledged applications that will run everything that a PC can do, Android is an easy choice for replacement of a PC. Of course, that little 4″ screen might not be enough to make your PC disappear, but it is enough of a start to eventually supplement your phone with a new 10″ tablet to turn into a laptop with a simple bluetooth keyboard. The option of auto-uploading photos via Google+ to Picasa over WiFi only is a major bonus. The fact that Gmail syncs over any platform is also very simple to use. The fact of the matter is, for a solid Android based device, especially those running the latest versions of the OS, can replace a PC completely and do a very good job of it.
While we don’t think a mobile device can completely replace a full PC at this moment, we have been without a Windows or Linux based PC now for some time. It hasn’t affected our blogging, posting or anything for that matter. We get our emails, sync to our Dropbox and Skydrives, and can browse just about anything without any issues. Take a long look at your typical uses for your PC and see if there is a mobile solution that will work for you.