New Smartphone? How To Rock It Like A Boss, Part Three – Watch Your Back
You can just settle for letting your phone be your voice to the outside world, or you can let that little bundle of digital joy put the world at your fingertips with just a few taps. In order for you to make the most of your phone this way, you have to put some tools in the toolbox. ‘Apps’ are the tools that bring the smart to a smartphone.
When free is really not free
Google Play (formerly called the Android Market) is Google’s platform for distributing digital files and apps to mobile devices. Google only recently began screening and restricting what is available for download to your device, but in some ways it is still pretty much the wild, wild west (kinda like Craig’s List – but that’s a topic for another blog). The majority of apps on Google Play are free, but this is how the wolf gets into the hen-house. Install an Android app and there is a great possibility you will allow something nefarious to hide in the background, snooping as you use your phone and stealing your personal information, showing you annoying ads, tapping your bank accounts and credit cards for small change, or worse. The ways bad guys who want to get paid can victimize you is limited only by what you can catch them doing. Owning an Android product requires constant monitoring of your finances and the occasional total wipe and restore of your device. Or, imagine installing an app that lets someone lock you out of your phone until you pay a ransom to have it unlocked!
Android Malware Spies On You Even After Phone Is Shut Down
The downloads available from the Apple App Store and the iTunes Store (the marketplaces where you buy digital media for iOS) are screened before being uploaded and then monitored by Apple. For the most part, anything and everything that can end up on your Apple device (except email attachments) must pass muster with Apple. Most security and privacy issues are addressed before you download from the App Store or iTunes, so there is some peace-of-mind that what you are installing on your device is safe. Most apps are free; some apps cost a range of prices depending on their perceived value. Other apps give you a trial or limited feature version and allow you to upgrade for a fee. The price of admission is justified in this case because charging for an app allows the app maker to get paid upfront, instead of coming up with ways to ‘snake’ money from you later.
It is important to note: the ease of mobile life on iOS always AMAZES my Android-using acquaintances who finally switch.
Once the right choice for you becomes clear take your time and shop among the different ways you can buy. Shop your phone carrier via online or at one of their storefronts. If you are confident in your knowledge and want to avoid the sales rep mumbo-jumbo check out a general store like Target or Wal-Mart. Also, look at the purchase plans offered by carriers. Verizon lets you split the cost of your device into monthly payments added to your bill with little interest or qualifying. Cricket will finance the sale through alternative financial services, on approved credit. Be sure to shop this type of financing carefully because you might find interest and fees add an outrageous sum to the price of your phone.