We've come a long way from the "ring-em up" party line wall telephone my grandparents had. Now, you can take/make phone calls with a pocket-sized wireless that also can tap the Internet to send/receive e-mail and text messages, upload/download data and more. That's why they're called smartphones.
Verizon's recent entry into the iPhone market will hike market competition, eventually reduce costs and greatly boost software or applications available on smart phones. No matter which smartphone platform – Android, Blackberry, iPhone, Symbian, or Windows Mobile 7, tomorrow's farmers will be trading in their old cell phones for these "babies".
And here's why
The applications or "apps" as they're called hook you up to tools, like weather, news, or finance. Most of the following links are provided by Agchat.org via the Truffle Media Network.
Many smartphones ship with them pre-installed. Then, there's a fast-growing horde of specialized apps – freebies for things like seed and soil calculators, ag news, plus subscription ag management tools.
Take, for instance, Farm Progress' Growing Degree Days app, downloadable to Android and iPhones. With it, you can quickly access current growing degree day information for anywhere in the continental United States.
Agriculture Crowdsourcing apps transmit data from the field into an office database.
Agriculture Management Information Apps are mostly mobile extensions of a farm or operation management system.
Agriculture Calculator Apps help make in field calculations without having to head back to the home office.
Agriculture Information Resource Apps are primarily used as a lookup tool, either to help identify species, review a piece of regulation, or get the specifics on an issue.
Agriculture News Apps link you to ag-media news aggregators.
Weather Apps give smartphone access to weather information.
When a smart phone isn't smart
Some young people will be shocked to know that life can continue without a smartphone. In fact, the human brain might actually improvise and improve communications without it.
Many apps have a cost beyond the extra charge for the data transmission package. The data package can be an expensive convenience that may steal from saving for longer-term needs and perhaps future education.
There's another reason: Hearing specialists have long reported a hearing frequency loss pattern known as "farmer's ear". It begins showing up by age 17. It's due to long-term exposure to loud noise – tractor engines, for example.
Match that with Consumer Reports studies that reveal smartphones don't have the best voice quality. Top quality cell phones often have better voice quality and volume.
Not sure it's an issue. When you're at a farm meeting, notice how many people escape meeting rooms or find quiet areas to take/make phone calls. Before you buy a smartphone, make sure it has enough volume and clarity.
That's just being smart.
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