Mama Owns a SMART Phone!!!
Yay! I have my first smart phone – a Windows phone called Nokia Lumia 822 and it has become a very helpful tool for me as a work-at-homer and active mom. I had a cell phone for calls and texting and as well had a Galaxy Tab (which I do like) for my data plan, but I grew eager to have a more compact device and not have to worry about carrying two gadgets around at a time, so the “tester” became a “keeper”!
It is easy to understand Windows phones for the many people have already used Windows Desktop, but for those that haven’t, getting the swing of it is fairly simple. So far I am impressed with its speed, affordability ($100 or less) and simple display. After a few weeks of using it, it has become an appendage of sorts. When my kid dropped his coins in the car, I whipped out my Flashlight XT app to find them, then later that night checked his homework using the Calculator– well, it was empowering to have such quick access! I was with a friend holiday shopping in her car and whipped my phone from my sweater pocket and we had instant voice-activated directions using the Nokia Drive app. I do have GPS in my own car, but to have that feature regardless of where I am is a treat. I would love to share more of my joy of using this phone thus far:
Groups to Stay in the Loop!
I am a work-at-home mom and a mom on-the-go, so I love when I can take the “office” with me to football, soccer, dance, or on our outings. The live Tiles on the home screen are similar to icons on other phones. They can be apps, Groups, locations, songs, photos, web pages, etc. The beauty of customizing my phone is that I can manipulate the sizes, placement, etc. of these Tiles to fit my lifestyle; my social media connections, phone contacts, events and music have become prioritized in that order, and my screen is evolving to appear as such!
The other day I was able to get the full impact of how I have evolved in less than a month! I was walking home from taking my kids to school and I had another “first time” experience (remember – one gadget!) to communicate with a PR gal I am working with, so via text we collaborated on an upcoming holiday TV segment. I needed to contact another partner to make it work. I stepped to the side, realizing that I might not have that person’s phone number at my fingertips. So, I went to my FB friend directory and tapped on my customized pink (of course) directory and find her FB account, which led to her website, which had her phone number on it! A minute later I have her thumbs up for the TV gig, update her profile, then texted the PR gal that it was a go. A perfect feature for such a scenario is the Groups app, ideal for captivating a customized group to display members’ social updates or to communicate with them (and stay updated with them) all at once. This app is also perfect for committees, clubs, BFFs, etc. I added my new appointment to the Calendar, which I have discovered is in sync with Facebook Events, my daily calendar and even with appointments I set up via email!! I didn’t expect a virtual personal assistant buzzing me reminders of my appointments, but it sure came in handy, I have discovered, especially since I have daily deadlines, appointments and errands! Yesterday, I was able to introduce a client to a techie as her consultant, and having my “portable office” allow me to engage in a 3-way conversation was super easy and still felt quite novel to me!
Social life in the palm of my hands!
The People feature integrates platforms and the most recent communication activity shows up. Looking up a contact, I see his/her Facebook status. I can text, call, send an IM, post on their Facebook wall, map their location and more. Of course how much information is displayed depends on their settings on Facebook. I feel so empowered having ALL of the information for a contact on one screen! The Family Room is a perfect place where family members can stay updated with a synced calendar, chats, events, photos, lists, invitations and even a chalkboard for users to leave must-see notes! I certainly can see that this will be standard procedure when my kids are old enough to have their own phones, but since my husband uses an Android, I am out of luck for the time being (although we still text, etc.). Speaking about kids, we checked out: Kid’s Corner, which allows you to set up a place on your phone where you can share apps, games and music with your child. The kids can have a start screen of their own and can only access the items you select. They can have the feel of having their own phone, this way! My kids have their own Tabs, so I will not need this feature, but I installed it to try it out, anyway! The phone requires a password to use it, so kids do have access to it without your presence. I look forward to the day when the kids do have a cell phone and we can be connected in the ways I am learning about.
Eye Candy/Ear Candy
One of my favorite features is the crisp, amazing shots 8MP camera that gives the option of making face-to-face calls and a front-facing camera ability for video calls. I was thrilled to play with the Nokia Lenses and Panaroma – GREAT photo quality. I have been video recording the kids who are making dance and music routines and origami tutorials, so it will be fun to post some vids for the family soon.
Both Nokia Music with Mix Radio make the music-lover in me do the Happy Dance! We always are searching for music to play on the ukulele or for the kids to dance to. I had rarely used my past phones to listen to music, so this has been super fun to integrate into our lives. We send over ideas for our songs to our music instructor (can photograph a song we like, for instance) and he is able to write the music chords for us, snap a photo of it, and then send via phone! Amazing! The phone offers free streaming of millions of tracks and you can download hours of music for listening to offline, as well. I downloaded a fun app called Sound Hound, which samples the music you are listening to (or you can try to sing it) and it will tell you the name of the song, artist and music, and sometimes even display the lyrics if the music is live on the radio. The phone’s “intuition” remembers your favorites to then determine what suggested albums (is that word still used?) it thinks you might want to sample. I have an arm band that I use to hold the phone and great earphones, so when I am off jogging, I have a much easier time and much fun with my old school funk.
Navigation at My Fingertips
I am exploring some amazing navigation and mapping tools. I really appreciate help in this area (Trust me!). Nokia Drive offers voice guided, turn-by-turn navigation. Nokia Maps allows you to see a broad area or pinpoint your location. I most appreciate My Places because when we are out and about with the kids’ teams we most often eat out for lunch. The team parents will start talking about where to go in between or after games, and I now have a special way of playing detective, as while my car is a “smart car”, I no longer need to hike back to the car and remotely share possibilities with the parents. I love that we have been able to mark the places we are pleased with under Favorites, to use for future reference. Nokia City Lens uses augmented reality called Transport to show you top sights, with reviews and directions. This has come in most handy when we are either in a shopping area or walking and want to see what is around us. I feel like I have super X-ray super power!
Microsoft is attracting mobile developers to build its platforms and is enthusiastic about what is to come. Some of the apps are still new, but because they are user-generated will take time to grow. The phone comes with preinstalled apps, but users can easily delete them and install preferable ones quite quickly. I am only sacrificing a couple apps (TweetDeck and Instagram) that I was a fan of, but I can still use my Tab for that. For now!
Try testing one out. I am still like a kid in a candy store with mine!
Disclaimer: SDBM received the Nokia Windows Lumina 822 from Verizon Wireless for review. All opinions expressed here are my own.