Posted: January 11th, 2013 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Podcasts | Tags: Apple TV, digital cameras, iTV, smartphones, TV | 1 Comment »
We kick off 2013 with a predictions show. What will happen this year in technology? We use our research and knowledge to try to make well reasoned guesses.
We had so much fun doing this episode that we’ll have a part two next week.
What are your 2013 technology predictions?
Listen to this week’s show:
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Posted: October 21st, 2012 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Notes | Tags: Britain, digital divide, mobile devices, Pew, smartphones, United States | No Comments »
Cellular technology is fast becoming ubiquitous, even in poorer, less developed parts of the word. From The Economist:
3.2 billion people, or 46% of the world’s total population of 7 billion, have at least one active mobile (cellular) device.
Japan, Britain and the Nordic countries have about 9 out of 10 citizens using mobile technology, which is pretty mind boggling. And infants, prisoners and certain other parts of the population are unlikely to start using mobile devices. You also have to keep in mind that many of the people not using mobile technology in developed countries are older, less tech savvy citizens.
This is particularly true in the United States, where the digital divide is increasingly one of age, not income. In the U.S., 66 percent of people 18-29 have smartphones, while just 11 percent of those 65 and older have them. And in poorer areas, the first real personal computer a person may own will be a smartphone, not a traditional computer:
Cell phones fill access gaps – 10% of cell-mostly internet users point towards a lack of other access options as the main reason why they primarily use their phone to go online, with 6% saying that they do not have access to a computer and 4% saying that they do not have any other source of internet access beyond their mobile connection.
Posted: September 16th, 2012 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Podcasts | Tags: Apple, iOS 6, iPhone 5, smartphones | No Comments »
We discuss the newly announced iPhone 5 and everything else from Apple’s announcement.
We’re very excited about the teaching possibilities of the new iPod Touch. This could be a great tool for journalism schools.
So, will we upgrade to the iPhone 5 or are we content with our current smartphones?
Listen to this week’s show:
Download the MP3
Posted: September 16th, 2012 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Main | Tags: background APIs, iOS 6, iPhone 5, smartphones | 1 Comment »
1. The most compelling reason to upgrade to the iPhone 5 is the camera. I think this is true for anyone looking to upgrade from an older smartphone. The camera technology on the top-tier smartphones has really taken off in the last few years, and the iPhone 5 should be at the top for camera quality. My iPhone 4 is the No. 1 camera in my life, despite not being as good as I’d like. While I really like the photos I get from my DSLR, the convience of having a camera with me at all times trumps the camera quality from a DSLR. The iPhone 4S was a big upgrade over the iPhone 4 in terms of camera quality, and I hope the iPhone 5 takes a bit better photos still, particularly in low light situations where smartphone cameras have traditionally struggled. There is no such thing as a camera that takes too good of photos. I don’t see a device supplanting smartphone for photo taking anytime soon, and as long as that is the case, we need much better smartphone cameras. These are devices we are using to document our lives, and these photos need to stand the test of time. If I get a new smartphone this year it will because I want to be able to better capture the important moments in my life, the spontaneous moments in life and the quirky moments I never want to forget.
2. The screen is bigger. I’ve been someone who has argued against the need for bigger and bigger smartphone screens, especially since the reason for bigger screens originally began as a way to fit larger LTE chips into phones (and the larger batteries needed to support the power draw). A lot of people have smaller hands. Older people have less dexterity and a phone that is smaller is easier to operate as a touchscreen. I’m very curios to see how the iPhone 4 screen is to use. Is it still in the usability sweet spot or has it begun to creep into the two-big range. Apple didn’t make the screen any wider, just taller, unlike other manufactures. Apple claims that just making the phone taller keeps it comfortable and easy to use because it is width that makes phones too hard to use one handed. I’ve found many of the larger screen smartphones to be uncomfrotable to reach all areas of the screen (and I’m a 6’1 adult male). Will not making the screen wider keep this phone comfortable and easy to use? A 4 inch screen isn’t that much bigger than the 3.5 inch screen in the iPhone 4S. Maybe Apple has found the upper limits of a bigger screen that remains comfortable.
3. I hope Apple keeps around 3.5-inch screens for years to come. My hunch is that 3.5-inch screens will still remain easier to use for children, people with smaller hands and people with less dexterity and motor skills. In addition, the smaller screen allows for smaller and cheaper devices. Perhaps 3.5-inch iPhones could target the lower ends of the market. Apple is keeping around the 3.5-inch iPhone 4 and 4S, but I hope they continue to develop feature iPhones that have both the new larger screen and the older 3.5-inch screen.
4. What is the Apple A6 based on? On this week’s podcast I speculated that it’s either an upclocked ARM A9 Cortex (the CPU base used in Apple’s A5) or the new ARM A15. Anand Tech is saying that it could be Apple’s own ARM core design. Apple has been making their own SoC for two years, but developing their own ARM core would be a big step forward in creating custom silicon that only Apple has access to. But in the end, it doesn’t really matter. If this CPU is twice as fast as the A5 in the iPhone 4S, while allowing for better battery life, that’s all that matters. What matters is how responsive the OS is, how well apps and games run and the total user experience.
5. A metal back is most welcome, even though the iPhone 4 and 4S are stunning devices. It’s a timeless design. But metal, especially unibody metal, is much more rugged than glass, even the Gorilla variety. The iPhone 5 should prove much harder to break than the iPhone 5. And while this metal back may be easier to scratch than the outgoing glass back, I find that metal that gets scratched up acquires a bit of a patina. It shows that you’re using your device. It shows that your device has been around and is surviving. But the metal holds up and stays strong despite the imperfections.
6. LTE isn’t something that most people will care that much about, at least in the U.S. The U.S. is a very suburban country. Most smartphones users find themselves on wifi a lot because of their living, work and transportation habits. If you drive to work and live in the suburbs, you’ll most likely be on wifi at home and wifi at work. But if you take public transportation and find yourself going out of a lot (people who live in urban areas tend to stay home less because they trade larger personal living arraignments for access to third places) LTE will be a welcome change. LTE can deliver wifi-like speeds and better. LTE development is still in the nascent stages. As LTE is deployed wider and its speeds get faster, it’ll be harder to settle for 3G speeds. But I think tablets and personal computers will benefit more from LTE than smartphones.
7. Personal hotspot just got a lot more useful. The biggest advantage of LTE is that users can now have a really fast connection for when they’re using the personal hotspot feature to share their Internet with other devices. If you’re someone who relies heavily on using your smartphone data plan to send Internet to your laptop to do work on the go, getting wifi-caliber speeds will be a big help. 3G isn’t bad, and in some situations it can be pretty fast, but there are times when you need a lot of speed.
8. The smartphone market is reaching adulthood. The iPhone 5 looks to be a great computing device, but it’s not some huge revolutionary leap over older iPhones or other smartphones. It’s just a better phone. It’s faster, has a bigger screen, has a better camera, has next generation networking and other features, all while being lighter. It’s just a better device than the iPhone 4S. Looks at how much better it is than the original iPhone from five years ago. Each new years won’t bring smartphones that totally blow away the years before, but when you look back over multiple years, you’ll see how far the market has come.
9. Smartphones will continue to improve year-over-year, just as personal computers have, but the real gains in the coming years will be from software. New APIs and features in smartphones OSes will allow smartphones to do new things and enable apps to become more powerful. iOS 6 still lacks background APIs and syncing that could really benefit third party apps. Third party apps in iOS also can’t really share data with one another. These under-the-hood enhancements are needed in iOS, and will eventually come to the platform as it continues to mature. Next year’s iPhone will be faster, have new features, etc. etc. etc. but the real gains will be in iOS 7. Smartphone OSes have a lot more maturing to do than smartphone hardware.
10. I’m glad Apple didn’t change the design of the iPhone that much. I know some tech pundits get bored using similar looking and feeling phones and want to see something radical, but the iPhone 4/4S design is a classic design. It’s incredible looking. It feels great. It makes for a very beautiful and usable product. The iPhone 5 keeps much of the same design language as the previous two iPhones, but uses more aluminum to strengthen and lighten the phone. This looks like another classic design.
Posted: September 8th, 2012 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Main | Tags: academic reading, books, college, graduate school, Instapaper, iPad, novels, online journals, smartphones, tablets, textbooks | 2 Comments »
How much longer do textbooks have in the classroom?
There has been a big push to digitize textbooks, add in more interactivity and make them available in new ways. But is the concept of the textbook itself fading?
I’m taking two courses currently in graduate school. One has a standard textbook that is only available in paper format. The other has no textbooks and all the readings are either websites or PDFs. We’re clearly in a transitory phase, but I think the future is clear: packaged textbooks are on the way out.
Class readings, however, on a desktop or even a laptop don’t present a good user experience. We’re used to and enjoy the experience of reading books and textbooks. We’re used to the crisp typography. People can get lost in books for hours.
How many people really enjoy reading a 30-page PDF on their computer? A paper textbook wins that contest every time, even if the content is identical. You can’t just lay back and enjoy reading on a laptop like you can with a paper textbook, and most laptops are much harder on the eyes than print. We can’t underestimate how much harsher traditional computing displays are on the human eye than print is.
But we now have better options than our computing forefathers. I do my course readings on my iPad. It’s high pixel density display looks very similar to print, and is easy on the eyes. It’s a pleasure to use for long-form reading, and I can carry many textbooks worth of information in a small package.
Using an app like Instapaper, I can save the Web and journal articles to read later and throw them into a folder to keep them all together. I also have a device that allows me to look up further information while I’m reading. If I come across something in a paper textbook that I don’t understand, there isn’t much I can do. On my iPad, I can get out of my readings and search the Web for answers.
Journal articles are increasingly found online, professors and researchers are starting blogs and websites and academic-focused projects are popping up all over the Web. Where once textbooks were required for learning in most subjects, the Web and the Internet give us access to information from all over the world, across disciplines and cultures.
Professors can mix and match journal articles, blog posts, podcasts, news stories, etc. to form an up-to-date curriculum. They can easily add in new readings during the semester if something comes up. The idea of a textbook being out of date doesn’t apply in a world where professors can pick and choose from the best of the Web.
As education becomes more expensive, we can’t forget the savings to students. The textbook industry is a racket that sees students pay hundreds of dollars per semester on books and get back tens of dollars after the semester is over.
The Web is full of great free resources. It’s easier for a professor to start a Website than it is to write a textbook. It’s also a lot easier to get feedback and iterate with a website than it is with a textbook.
Tablets and smartphones are helping to make this a reality in a way that wasn’t possible five years ago. Laptops aren’t good enough. They’re not great for long-form reading. The iPad with Retina Display is, and we’ll see more high pixel density displays on the horizon that help make reading on computing devices a lot more pleasurable.
One of the things that I really like about using Web readings for teaching is these readings allow students to interact with authors. A professor who makes blog posts instead of book chapters can allow people to comment on his work. Students can poke and prod and the professor can respond. Textbooks will never offer that experience.
Now imagine a student asked to read five different blog posts from five different professors from around the world. In one week, a student has the ability to interact with five different experts. Blogs, websites and social media allow for a kind of free-flowing interactivity that can bring vigor to the learning experience.
We needed better, more portable and more readable devices to make this happen. Now that we are finally starting to see them, I believe we’ll see a lot more professors and teachers assigning students Web readings. As students take to this kind of reading, we’ll see more professors writing blog posts instead of book chapters.
Maybe the next step to taking the Web reading experience to the next level is for someone to make an app that allows students to group Web readings and journal articles together by g\class and project, while also allowing for easy social annotations. The biggest thing missing from Web readings is that Web browsers don’t allow for notes and highlighting. Let’s make this happen.
Posted: May 12th, 2012 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Main | Tags: email, iOS, productivity, push notifications, smartphones, Sparrow, workflows | 1 Comment »
I no longer have email push email notifications turned on my phone.
Nor do I don’t have have my phone pull emails at set intervals. Why? Productivity and stress reduction.
The biggest problem with having your phone push email every time a new message comes in is that you feel compelled to check it. Making email work for us isn’t about checking email; it’s about processing email. Much of the email that I receive can’t be quickly processed on a mobile phone.
If I can’t process the email, what good does it do to check it and have it sitting on my mind? When we allow email to fester on our minds, it causes needless stress. We think about the contents of that email and a job we have to do, but we aren’t actually working on doing that job, so it steals our attention, even as we try to relax after a long workday.
Everything in our lives suffers from stolen attention. So why have email pushed to you when you don’t intend on actually processing those emails once and for all?
Many of us read and email but don’t act on that email, leaving us less apt to process the email later. We have only served to acquire that brief satisfaction of checking an email, only to allow stress and lost attention overtake us during all the moments we don’t process that email.
People use the unread designation that emails have as a sort of productivity heuristic. If the email hasn’t been opened and read, it should be acted on. Once opened and read, it doesn’t need to be acted on. But that’s a lie.
This isn’t to say that push notifications don’t have their place. Rather, for most people, the decision to use push notifications should be done on a case by case, project by project, job by job basis. This week, push notifications come in handy, due to the nature of the work I’ll be doing.
I’m at The Intel International Science & Engineering Fair, the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. I’m expected to responsive to email constantly and help run the event. It makes sense to use push or pull notifications this week.
I’ll be much less focused on producing something original and more focused on helping keep this science fair running well. This is a push email kind of week.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to email. When I’m back in the office next week, I don’t want my phone buzzing with email constantly. I’ll be back focused on Web work, social media and writing. Those activities are best done with some level of concentration.
In many situations, checking email is a good way to not get work done. I’m not checking email as I write this post, and I don’t have an email application open or push notifications on. I want to focus on writing this post, and at 9:30 on a Saturday night, there is no chance that I’ll receive an urgent email (usually I don’t write blog posts on Saturday nights, but I’m working this weekend and all of next week, and this is what I’m doing for some down time).
Part of making email work as part of a modern, usable workflow is taming it. Unless you’re a traffic manager or some other office job that has you managing the flow of projects or doing constant deals, you don’t need email open all the time.
I can’t get lost in programming if I’m being notified about emails. I can’t think clearly enough to write while I’m being bombarded by email. Multitasking is overrated, and constantly being connected to email is even more overrated.
Imagine if your email inbox was actually the mail you received in the post office. All day long there would be a knock at the door and a new letter. You’re sitting down to dive into a long work session and all of the sudden a new letter shows up. You check it and then try to go back to work again.
And then another letter shows up.
When Sparrow came out for the iPhone, I thought it was a great app that a had a fatal flaw — it doesn’t support push or pulling of email. Now I realize that as part of my workflow, this is an asset. I check Sparrow only when I have time to process email.
I do, however wish that Sparrow supported push emails, because there are times like this week that I do need to able to receive emails in real time. I hope Sparrow does eventually support push email, because it’s a feature that when used properl can come in handy.
But for most of the time, I’d have push turned off. Ideally checking email when I’m bored neither cures my boredom, nor makes me actually tackle my email.
In the end, what we really need are easier ways to turn push notifications on and off. There isn’t a global way to turn push notifications on and off in iOS. We’re left with a laborious process where we have to turn on and off notifications on a per app basis. This makes it very unlikely that people will actually turn push notifications off when they’re trying to focus.
Push notifications have a purpose. We cannot deny that. But we need better control on when they are interrupting us or not.
This is an issue that is still being worked out in mobile OSes, and something that has to be addressed. It also has to be easy to do, because this cannot just be the domain of power users.
Posted: May 11th, 2012 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Main | Tags: contectedness, hyperconnectedness, Internet, Paul Miller, smartphones | 1 Comment »
While I personally wouldn’t give up the Internet for a year (nor could I do my work or research), I am very intrigued by what Paul Miller is doing over at The Verge. He is trying his best to go a year without the Internet, and his dispatches from an Internetless world are a must read for any of us who study why people use the Internet or are just interested in why people use technology.
Ultimately, and clearly, I think that technology, computers and the Internet strongly benefit humanity. I would put the Internet right up there with the printing press for great technological advancements in human history. Still, we are in a weird period where we don’t know quite how to use this new technology; our social mores on mobile technology haven”t been written.
In many ways, we over these new technologies. We rely on them as a crutch, especially as one to excuse ourselves from interaction with human beings who are in the same room with us. Many people fear social occasions — parties, happy hours, conferences — and thus retreat into something that lets others know that we’re busy.
Many of us have become dependent on our phones like they are drugs. We feel phantom vibrations in our pockets where we think we have gotten a new message, email or push notifications. But we haven’t. We just don’t know what it is like to live in a world without that constant buzzing anymore, and when we don’t get that buzzing, our brains fake it for us.
We’re addicts. And for what?
Miller doesn’t even care a phone with him all the time, and the phone that he does own is really old and doesn’t support all those fancy things that buzz our pockets and keep us tethered to the online world at all times. Still, he feels the phantom buzzes:
You know when you think you feel your phone buzz, so you have to pull it out just to make sure? Most of the time it didn’t buzz, but it’ll bug you in the back of you mind, so you have to check. If you don’t, that phantom reminder will haunt you for hours. A phone alert, once sprung, is as physically tangible as the point of a gun in your back, or a chunk of Command-C’d text not pasted, still circulating in the veins of your hand. The only solution to this itch is to scratch it. And this fruitless scratching describes my entire week.
I kept on sensing text messages and phone calls, when there wasn’t even a phone on my person. I’d tell myself this, and yet I’d still pat around to be completely sure. At times my hand would even make it into my empty pocket before I recognized what was happening.
I find that utterly alarming, and I think it has nothing to do with Miller’s character. We are becoming addicted to technology, our phones in particular. Technology is here to help us, not enslave us, but when we go too long without or phones, we become restless, shaky, deprived.
What are we missing? Surely something important has happened since we last checked out phones.
To me, Miller’s year-long sabbatical from the Internet might help inform us on better ways to be connected. How do you do great work if you’re always being interrupted? I recently turned off push notifications and even pull noticiations for email on my phone. I am only bothered by email on my phone when I open up the Sparrow app.
If I don’t have time to actually process email, respond to it and make sure that it is all taken care of, I don’t view it. Merely viewing my email for the sake of viewing it makes me less productive. If I don’t have the time to act on my email, I have no business looking at it.
Unfortunately, I have to keep Outlook open constantly while I’m at work. Much to my dismay, the social mores of my workplace are that email can be used as an instant communication device. I’m expected to respond to urgent requests as they come in. Perhaps, I can begin to change this behavior, allowing myself and fellow workers to only check email a few times a day.
Ultimately, I use technology to get more done — to make my life better. When I feel phantom buzzing in my pocket and check my phone to find nothing has been sent to me, I’m not being more productive. I’m being a shaking, delusional addict. Where are my messages? Something must have happened in my world!
I’m becoming addicted to the dopemine hit of being noticied that something is happening, no matter how banal that thing is. I have to fight this. I cannot become addicted to banalities and trivialities, less my life become consumed by them, and I no longer create anything of substance.
I have a few times left my phone at relatives houses while visiting, and every time it’s a relief. During these brief respites, no one can call, text or harass me on the go. All communication has to be deliberate. I’m not anti-social, but constantly being bombarded with messages makes me less productive, and when I’m not productive, I’m not happy.
I’m hear to build things. To analyze things. To see life in its intricate details.
I cannot do that when I’m constantly being bombarded by texts, emails, phone calls and even push notifications about comments on a social network. I’ve been rolling back my notifications. I only want notifications on truly important information.
My phone works for me, not the other way around. This is why I’m so enthralled by what Miller is doing. What will he discover in this year?
Will he able to accomplish something that being hyperconnected is stealing from him? Like him, I’m working on a novel. But the thralls of the online world often keep me from working on it.
Will Miller actually finish his novel this year?
Going without the Internet for a year is certainly extreme, but we must find better ways of balancing technology with our lives. We’re here for the living. I doubt anyone on their deathbed says that they wish they checked more push notifications.
We’re learning how to make sense of this new technology, and this too shall pass. I imagine that much of the same issues arose when people started driving cars. Heck, there weren’t even traffic lights until 1920.
I’m sure the telephone overwhelmed some people at first. All of this will pass, and we’ll figure out ways to make this new technology work for us.
Five years ago the first modern smartphone — the iPhone — hadn’t even been released. Almost no one had 3G data. We’re learning, we’re adapting.
Some people will remain addicted. That’s life. But for the rest of us, we’ll figure out better ways to use this new technology.
Every time we’re bored, we don’t need to be staring face down in ours phones, poking at nothing. That’s the ultimate patheticness of it. We’re often just swiping around our screens, looking at older checked email. We’re not even experiencing anything new.
Who would have thought a man would need to seek solidarity from social technology in order to find connectedness? In the end, Miller will learn what works best for him.
We’ll evolve. We’ll advance. Enjoy the ride.
Posted: May 8th, 2012 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Notes | Tags: coworking, isolation, smartphones, social media, telecommuting | No Comments »
If this is what some offices are turning into, what’s the point of even coming into the office:
In today’s workplace, young people who have grown up fearing conversation show up on the job wearing earphones. Walking through a college library or the campus of a high-tech start-up, one sees the same thing: we are together, but each of us is in our own bubble, furiously connected to keyboards and tiny touch screens. A senior partner at a Boston law firm describes a scene in his office. Young associates lay out their suite of technologies: laptops, iPods and multiple phones. And then they put their earphones on. “Big ones. Like pilots. They turn their desks into cockpits.” With the young lawyers in their cockpits, the office is quiet, a quiet that does not ask to be broken
I haven’t worked in an environment quite like this, but I do wear headphones a bit at work (usually just one so I can hear if someone is trying to talk to me). If people are going into the office to be alone, I think they’er missing the point of being in the office. Most offices are sterile places that do not inspire creativity. The whole purpose of showing up at a place with drab walls and corridors lit by subtly blinking, dingy flourscent lights is to be by coworkers and see what they are up.
Lord knows we don’t show up at most offices to be inspired to do great work. My home office is leagues better than my work cube. It’s a place that inspires me to push myself.
Perhaps these stories are really pointing to the fundamental illogic of coming into the office on a daily basis.
Some people really like being social at work. Others like to lose themselves in their work. Maybe it just has finally become socially acceptable to lose yourself in your work and try to seek solitude.
To me, this points to the need for employers to allow people to work remotely more often. Have employees come into the office for meetings and social events. Have those times where people are in the office be centered around social interaction.
For the other days, let people work at home or a coffee shop or a coworking space or even in the office. Our goal should be to make employees as happy as possible and get the best work out of them.
Some of this hang-wringing over people talking less while being hyperconnected is a bit of “The Kids These Days.” Technology changes. Times change.
People no longer go out and get drunk at lunch while at work. Social mores change. Work has largely become a place for work, and younger workers are spending less time socializing while at work.
That doesn’t mean what was before was right. It was just what was before.
We adapt, we change and we figure out new best practices. I have a feeling that are in the middle of a great work upheaval. People don’t know quite how to use a lot of these new technologies at work or at home. But we’ll figure it out.
The kids will be alright.
Posted: May 7th, 2012 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Notes | Tags: demographics, feature phones, mobile computing, Nielsen, smartphones, socioeconomics | No Comments »
Now this I find fascinating, utterly fascinating. From a new Nielsen report:
Asian-Americans far outstrip other ethnic categories when it comes to smartphone adoption, with 67.3 percent reporting that they own a smartphone, as compared to 44.7 percent of whites. Hispanics were next, with 57.3 percent saying they owned a smartphone; 54.4 percent of African-Americans said that they had taken the plunge.
Part of this can be explained by the fact that older people are less likely to own smartphones and older segments of the population are whiter. Nielsen reports that two-thirds of people surveyed between the ages of 25 and 34 said they used a smartphone. However, we usually see wealthier and more educated segments of the population adopting IT faster, and we’re not seeing that correlate that well with smartphones.
Older, white men in particular cling to their dumbphones. I’m proud of my Dad for owning an iPhone.
It’s becoming clear to me that owning a smartphone is becoming a must for Millennials. Owning a car? Not so much.
What an exciting time to live in for computing.
Source: Washington Post.
Posted: December 7th, 2011 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Notes | Tags: AT&T, data plans, iPad, iPhone, shared data plans, smartphones, tablets, Verizon | No Comments »
Engadget is reporting that Verizon will begin offering shared data plans in 2012, allowing families and devices to share one pool of data.
There are two big use cases that people want shared data for. First, families have been sharing minutes for years, so why not data? By allowing familes to share data, more people will get smartphones. A lot of people are reluctant to dabble in using data for $30 a month (Verizon’s monthly charge for 2 GB of 3G data and the only data plan they offer on smartphones). 2 GB of 3G data is more than the vast majority of people need on their smartphones, especially first-time smartphone owners. AT&T says that 65 percent of their smartphone customers use less than 200 MB of data a month.
The second use case is for sharing data between multiple devices. Instead of purchasing a data plan for each device — say a smartphone, tablet and mobile wifi device — users could purchase one pool of data and use it across all of their devices. I used to have a data plan on my iPad, but I got tired of managing two different data accounts — one for my iPad and another for my iPhone. It was getting really expensive, and I would often use up the data on my iPad and have plenty of data remaining on my iPhone. Now the iPhone offers the ability to tether data from the iPhone to the iPad, and I do use that from time to time, but it’s a great way to drain your phone’s battery and not as good of solution as sharing a pool of data between my iPhone and iPad.
If I could buy a giant pool of wireless data and use it across a bunch of devices, I would. Instead, I have cut down on my data usage because it was getting too expensive and too difficult to manage several different accounts with the same company, all while I was having too much data on one device and not enough on another.