Shopping for Smart Phones

.Shopping for a Smart Phone

Woman with Smart Phone, Public Domain via

There is a huge selection of smart phones on the market. When you categorize smart phones by their operating system, two are currently dominant. Google's Android and Apple's iOS platforms account for more than 90% of the market share. However, Microsoft's Windows Phone is much newer to the market and is increasing its market share. These three platforms offer a wide selection of hardware and software features.

Google's Android

Android Operating System

The Discover Android site currently list 114 different Android smartphones with details on where to purchase each one. You can filter the selections by country, manufacturer, and service provider. The site also allows you to select multiple devices and run a side-by-side comparison of the major specifications. The Phandroid site provides information about various mobile devices in the following categories: Available, Upcoming, Rumored, and Retired. They also have Android forums and application news. Android Central provides a way to shop for Android phones by service provider and accessories by device name.

This article only considers Android in the context of smart phones. However, it should be noted the Android operating sytem is also used in tablets, cameras (Samsung Galaxy Camera), car PCs (Android 6.2 Inch 2Din Car PC), tv set-top boxes, game consoles, cordless phones, and other electronic devices. [Image of Android Smart Phone Start Screen by Android Developers CC3.0, Wikimedia Commons]

Currently the Samsung Galaxy S4 is being praised as a high-end Android (Jelly Bean) smartphone. The specifications are impressive: 5" (1920x1080) display, 1.9 GHz Quad-Core Processor / 1.6 GHz Octa-Core Processor, 13 Mega pixel camera, and 2600mAh battery. AT&T and Verizon offer it for $199.99 with their plans. The CNet Review rates the phone as outstanding. Samsung created a musical short film (Hi Hey Hello) to promote the S4.

Apple's iPhone

iOS 6 Home Screen

Of course for your Apple devices you will want to check the Apple Store. If you are looking for an iPhone, the Apple Retail Store can also help you choose a carrier and a rate plan. At the Apple Retail Store you can enter your current carrier and wireless number and find out if you are eligible for an upgrade. You can also find useful information about Apple mobile devices at MacRumors, iMore, and Glydecast.

The iPhone 5 runs iOS 6. It has a 4" (1136 x 640) display, Apple Swift 1.3 GHz dual-core processor, 8 Mega pixel camera, and 1440mAh battery. You can purchase the iPhone 5 at the Apple Store where prices start at $199.00 with a choice of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon plans. [Image of iOS 6 home screen is believed to be fair use.]

Apple produced a video called "Photos Every Day" in which they claim more pictures are taken every day with an iPhone than with any other camera.

Microsoft's Windows Phone

Windows Phone OS 8

The official Windows Phone web site lists a number of WP 8 phones currently available along with their associated carriers. The site has WP phones made by Nokia, HTC, and Samsung. There is also a compare function for device and carrier network specifications. The site has a How-To section providing guidance on how to get started with your Windows Phone. There are also sections on how to use the phone's various features (photos, social networks, apps, music, video, and Office Mobile). The Windows Phone Central site provides forums, news, reviews, how-to's, and numerous accessories (batteries, chargers, screen protectors) with the ability to shop by device. [Image of Windows Phone OS 8 by Mihimaru Vista CC3.0, Wikimedia Commons]

AT & T® currently has two WP Nokia smartphones included with their wireless plans (Nokia Lumia 820, Nokia Lumia 920. Verizon Wireless® also has two WP Nokia smartphones with their wireless plans (Nokia Lumia 822, Nokia Lumia 928). T-Mobile® has the Nokia Lumia 521 WP 8 smartphone for $149.00 with no service contract. It is also available at Walmart for $129.88. This low-cost phone contains a 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor. Most other competing WP 8 phones use the 1.5GHz processor. The Lumia 521 benchmarks at about 30% less powerful than the competing devices. Of course they cut back in other areas also, but for the price it is a great phone.

The CNet Review of Nokia Lumia 920 calls it the most powerful Windows Phone (WP 8) created in 2012. It has a 4.5" (1280 x 768) display, QUALCOMM Snapdragon S4 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 8.7 Mega pixel camera, and 2000mAh battery. AT&T offers it for $99.00 with their plans. Nokia produced this popular commercial for the Lumia 920 Windows Phone.

What to do with Your Old Phone

Sell Used Devices at Cell It Used

Sites like Cell It Used and Buyback Boss might pay you money for your used device. You can get online quotes with instructions on how to ship and track your device. For newer devices they might even buy devices that are in poor condition or have broken screens.

Various service providers offer a buy-back program which might give you a credit for your used smart phone. Apple also has a recycling program for Apple devices. If your device is determined to still have a value, they will put the value on an Apple gift card. There are also a number of stores where you can recycle your mobile devices. (Best Buy, Staples). See the EPA Recycle Electronics site for a list of mobile device recycling centers. The site also has recommendations for what you should do before recycling (delete personal information, remove batteries).

Cell It Used created the following short video about cell phone recycling.