Bob Fabian's LIFE Courses

To make them easy to find, I'll put links to my presentation slide at the top of this page. The slides will always be here before class, but maybe just before. (Additional material follows below.)

Session Three (pdf of presentation slides)

Session Two (pdf of presentation slides)

Session One (pdf of presentation slides)

Smartphone Basics


There’s an almost endless array of smartphone options, opportunities and prices. This three-session offering will provide a basic introduction to the smartphone world. What are some of the key smartphone features? How do people take advantage of those features? How to select a smartphone? How to select a service provider? What applications, or “apps,” are worth considering? What is required to effectively manage your smartphone? The goal of the course is to give participants a basic understanding of the smartphone choices they have. The focus will be on Android smartphones with a careful eye on associated costs. While information will be presented by your moderator, questions and comments will be welcome.

Dates:     May 22 – June 5 (3 sessions)
Time:     Tuesdays, 2:10 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
Location:     VIC103

My Thinking

Used to be, if you wanted a phone in Toronto, you called Bell Canada. You could order residential or business service, but there was little real difference in service. Then it all began to crumble. Now there's an almost unlimited range of choices. You can stick with the old-fashioned land line or switch to a new Internet based service, ... or cut the cord and use a wireless phone. Going wireless is increasingly important, and there has been an explosion of wireless choices.

There are now hundreds of millions of wireless phone users in the world. Even the market for new wireless phones runs to hundreds of millions per year. There's big money to be made in that business. Multiple vendors are competing for market share in the high, middle and low end wireless phone markets. It can be more than a bit confusing, especially for those of us who grew up with one choice - what Bell Canada offered.

A small wireless phone course for LIFE members seemed to make sense. Almost all wireless phones are now smartphones, either Apple or Android flavored. Android clearly has the largest market share, though Apple generates considerable market buzz.  Given that, and given my background, focusing on Android smartphones makes sense.

The goal for this three-session course is to help class participants figure out what smartphone is right for them, and what applications, or "apps". should be installed. We'll start with basic information about smartphones, service providers and the SIM cards which link them together. Everyone wants phone service on their smartphone, but what about text messages and Internet access? It's all available, in almost all corners of the globe, but the prices vary widely.

Smartphones can be obtained that are "locked" to a single service provider, or "unlocked" and therefore free to be used with (almost) any service provider. Locked smartphones are typically paid for through monthly service charges for a fixed number of months. Unlocked phones are typically purchased independent of any service provider, with no contractual lock-in. Approached cautiously, unlocked phones can have lower overall cost of ownership.

That's all by way of background. The key questions focus on the possible features of a smartphone and the possible uses to which it might be put. The smartphone is really a  computer that connects to the world in a number of different ways. We'll consider those possible connections and the possible benefits each might bring. And then we'll get to the interesting stuff, the apps. There's an app to tell you how to get places. There's an app to remind you to take your pills. There's an app to play games, or to watch Netflix. There's an app to count your steps. There are literally thousands of apps that can run on a smartphone.

Clearly, no three-session course can answer all smartphone questions. The hope is that the course can provide enough information so that class members can make informed decisions about the smartphone to select and the uses they want to explore.

Bob Fabian
2018.03.05

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