Cathy Hamilton: It’s all about the apps
April 8, 2010
I was so excited on Easter because I finally got to open my Christmas present.
My gift is a smart phone — a Palm Pre Plus, to be precise – and the reason I couldn't get it at Christmas is because, well, I wasn't very smart.
I got confused about when the contract with my former wireless service provider expired (I thought it was in December but it was actually March) and, since I wanted to move to my husband's provider to get on his family plan, I had to wait three months. So, I told him to save his money and a smaller gift like earrings or new socks would suffice on Christmas morning and, OK, maybe a massage and, well, now I'm rambling and the whole story obviously isn't very interesting and doesn't matter anyway.
The point is, I am now a proud smart phone owner. Sadly, the smart part has been slow to kick in.
I was so psyched to finally upgrade my personal communication device.
My Blackberry was two years old — ancient in wireless technology years — and as slow as can be. I had to wait, 15 maybe 20 seconds for MapQuest to pop up on my Web browser. Do you have any idea what I might have accomplished in all those 20-second delays, cumulatively speaking?
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Heck, I could have found Osama bin Laden!
Assuming MapQuest provides directions to Afghanistan, that is. (Note to the Pentagon: Just an idea …)
Of course, what I originally wanted was an iPhone because all the cool kids have those, and Lord knows I've always wanted to be an A-lister.
Unfortunately, my new provider didn't have the rights to carry the popular Apple product. I was doomed to the B list once again.
Then, I saw the TV commercial for the Palm Pre. You know, the one with the attractive young woman in the short red dress and cowboy boots, flicking her map apps across the screen with one finger while she struts down a busy city sidewalk?
She looks so savvy, so sophisticated, so … well, smart! I wanted to be her!
So, I asked for and received a phone just like hers and said, "Let the smartness begin!"
The Palm has everything — music player, video camera, e-mail integration and an "intuitive" finger-flicking interface that, I'm sure, will make me smarter, in the long run. It even has a maps program with GPS that knows exactly where I am at all times.
Sure, it's a little creepy in an eye-in-the-sky, "Big Brother" kind of way, but I'm not getting any younger and, someday, I might need my phone to find my way home from the grocery store.
Best of all, are the applications or, for us in-the-know hipster B-listers, apps. As the front page of USA Today proclaimed this week, it's all about the apps, baby!
In no time, I had downloaded apps for Facebook and Twitter, Pandora and NPR Radio and a "Cool Tip Calculator" that not only figures the tip on a tab with tax, but splits the total per person at the table — a game-changer for math-challenged ladies who lunch, like me.
I didn't stop there. After browsing further through the Apps Catalog, I added the "What's for Dinner" app, crossword puzzle and Sudoku apps (to keep the gray matter finely-tuned), an arcade game, and "Where's My Car" (just in case I forget to do my crosswords and Sudoku).
But wait, there's more! Soon, I'd purchased a Spanish-English translation app, an inspirational quote app, "Russian Recipes," (just because I could) and the "Safe Sun UV Monitor/Timer," which retrieves UV indexes by zip code and tells me how long a fair-skinned woman with freckles can stay outside without risking overexposure.
(Sure, it was $3.99, but compared to my dermatologist's bill, that's a bargain!)
Armed with all the coolest apps I could buy, I took my smart phone for a test drive. As I strutted my stuff down the sidewalk, flicking my apps back and forth with one finger, calculating my time in the sun and the tip on my tacos, I felt savvy and sophisticated and, yes, smart!
Then, I slammed into a trash receptacle and fell to the ground.
Apparently, the phone is not smart enough to watch where its owner is walking. Not yet, anyway. But, I'm sure an app for that is in the works.