Outsmarting your smartphone

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SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Do you ever feel your smartphone is smarter than you are? If you do, you aren't alone.

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The HTC Droid Incredible is just one of dozens of Android smartphones operating on a Google system.  Steve Bisson/Morris News Service
Steve Bisson/Morris News Service
The HTC Droid Incredible is just one of dozens of Android smartphones operating on a Google system.

"It's a pretty common phenomenon," said Mike Day. "For the last few years, cell phone companies have done a really good job of creating a need for phones that do more than call and text, but they haven't been as good at educating their customers after the sale.

"They wow you in the store with all the things a smartphone can do, but when you get home, you can't seem to duplicate all that cool stuff the salesperson demonstrated. It's frustrating and leaves a lot of people just doing the same things they did on their old flip phones -- making calls and sending text messages."

Day should know. He was a wireless sales representative and trainer for more than 10 years before joining friend Chris Wallace, an electronics guru, to form T-Squared Trainers, a business designed to help smartphone users get the most out of their devices.

"We had been working primarily with Realtors, doctors and nurses and other professionals who use the phones for work," Wallace said. "But, in doing that, we realized there was also a need among the general public."

T-Squared kicked off its first classes for individual users Saturday at the Armstrong Center, offering two sessions of "Android for Beginners." Next month's classes will repeat those and "iPhone for Beginners" and "iPad for beginners."

The two also plan to add advanced courses as demand grows.

"We realize some people find it funny that you might need a class to learn to use your cellphone, but the days of a cellphone being just a phone are long gone," Day said. "Today's smartphones are all-in-one, multitasking devices capable of doing all kinds of things.

"They have more computing power than the first space shuttle and most come equipped with 8-megapixel cameras and high definition camcorders. They can play movies or music, give turn-by-turn GPS directions, send e-mails, pay for parking or buy a drink from a vending machine.

Day said it's easy to see why a new user can feel overwhelmed.

"It's kind of like trying to drink from a firehose," he said.

Kathy Aull of Savannah agreed.

"I'm actually on my second smartphone," she said at Saturday's class. "Considering what I paid for it, I want to get my money's worth from it.

"I know I'm not doing that now, so that's why I'm here."

That theme seemed to permeate the class.

Some Android owners wanted to learn more about using voice commands; others were interested in using apps and social media. Everyone wanted to learn how to maximize battery life and manage tasks running simultaneously. Several had "what does this function do?" questions.

By the end of the two-hour-plus session, they had those answers and more.

For example, Day said, Android systems are designed to multitask, which makes task management vital.

"If you press and hold the home key, it will show you the apps you have running, allowing you to move back and forth easily," he said.

As smartphones and tablets continue to grow in popularity, T-Squared expects to expand its class offerings to include accessory sales and recommendations, blogs and podcasts. They are also planning a class that focuses solely on apps.

After Saturday's class, Mabel Teeter of Midway, Ga., said she was happy with what she had learned.

"I've had my phone nearly two years, and all I've really done until now was talk and text," she said. "This class has not only taught me a lot of things I didn't know my phone could do, it's made me a more comfortable and confident user.

"It was well worth the drive."

If You Go

The next T-Squared smartphone classes are as follows:

Aug. 6

• 9-11 a.m. - Android for beginners

• 1-3 p.m. - iPhone for beginners

Aug. 27

• 9-11 a.m. - Android for beginners

• 12:30-2:30 p.m. - iPad for beginners

• 3-5 p.m. - iPhone for beginners

All classes are held at the Armstrong Center, 13040 Abercorn St. in Savannah, Ga. Cost of each course is $50 and sessions are limited to 25 participants. For more information, go to www.learnphones.com or call (904) 257-5797.

If You Go

The next T-Squared smartphone classes are as follows:

Aug. 6

• 9-11 a.m. - Android for beginners

• 1-3 p.m. - iPhone for beginners

Aug. 27

• 9-11 a.m. - Android for beginners

• 12:30-2:30 p.m. - iPad for beginners

• 3-5 p.m. - iPhone for beginners

All classes are held at the Armstrong Center, 13040 Abercorn St. in Savannah, Ga. Cost of each course is $50, and sessions are limited to 25 participants. For more information, go to www.learnphones.com or call (904) 257-5797

What is a smartphone?

In a nutshell, a smartphone is a device that lets you make telephone calls, but also adds in features that you might find on a personal digital assistant or a computer, such as the ability to send and receive e-mail and edit Office documents. Smartphones are also defined by the ability to run third-party software, typically known as applications or "apps."

The most popular smartphones are the iPhone, the Android and the Blackberry.

Cellphone facts

• The first hand-held mobile phone, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, debuted in 1973. It was more than a foot long, weighed nearly 2 pounds and sold for $3,995 ($19,500 in today's dollars).

• Cellphones really began to take off in 2004, when Motorola introduced the RAZR, the first "fashion phone." The RAZR sold 110 million units in its first four years.

• In 2007, Apple launched the iPhone. More than 60 million were sold by the end of 2010. The iPhone 4 sold 1.7 million units in the first three days of its debut in June 2010.

• In 2008, Google introduced the Android and was soon activating 160,000 a day. That number is now 500.000 a day.

• In 2009, there were 51 million cars, 210 million TVs and 1.2 billion mobile phones sold.

• In 2010, mobile subscribers surpassed 5 billion worldwide. That's more than 70 percent of the world's population of 6.8 billion.

• School-age children are now more likely to own a cellphone (85 percent) than a book (73 percent).

• Nine of 10 men, women and school-age children in the United States have a cellphone. One in 10 has a "secret cellphone" that no one else in the family knows about.

• According to Nielsen's May 2011 survey of mobile consumers in the U.S., 38 percent own smartphones. And 55 percent of those who purchased a new handset in the past three months reported buying a smartphone, up from 34 percent just a year ago.

Source: Sybase.com

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Denali
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Denali 07/13/11 - 01:15 am
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That's wonderful for the

That's wonderful for the folks in Savannah & the surrounding area. I just don't see that it's worth it to drive 3 hours from Augusta. So, when will Augusta get the same classes?

learnphones
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learnphones 07/13/11 - 01:34 am
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We are looking to bring these

We are looking to bring these classes to Augusta, Jacksonville, Charleston, and Atlanta in the next 90 days. Please visit our website at www.learnphones.com and send us an email expressing your interest. When we set a date in your area we will email you as a reminder. Thanks for your comments and interest in T-Squared.

Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 07/13/11 - 04:37 am
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Sounds like a great idea. It

Sounds like a great idea. It does need to come to the Augusta area. Nothing against this company at all, but I an see Augusta State's Continuing Ed offering classes like this...however, maybe not as well done. Read an interview by someone who said that people should not be ashamed about being "ignorant" or intimidated by using their Smartphone...he was an aerospace engineer and HE was intimidated and felt ignorant!

WW1949
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WW1949 07/13/11 - 08:14 am
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The Apple Store already has

The Apple Store already has classes to all who buy their products. All you have to do is go and sign up. I cannot imagine going back to a regular phone after having the iphone. It is also easier to use than the droid system. Two phones with unlimited everything cost about $210.00 per month.

Mr. Thackeray
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Mr. Thackeray 07/13/11 - 12:01 pm
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The Verizon store in Evans on

The Verizon store in Evans on Washington Rd. offered classes when I purchased my new Droid. I find them very helpful and FREE!!!

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