And I know—I was in the same position about a month ago, happily holding onto my Samsung slider (and my super-cheap cell phone bill).
But when the time has come, the time has come. If you’re going to be going venturing into the smartphone world sometime soon, here’s a guide to what you can expect in the coming weeks.
Don’t worry, we’ll get through this together.
Stage 1: Denial
I found so many reasons to postpone getting a smartphone for a long time. It’s expensive. My phone does everything I need it to do. I want to keep the internet out of my pocket for as long as possible. Plus at that point, it was just the principle of the matter. Pretty much everyone else I knew had smartphones—I was one of the proud and the few left without, and as long as my old phone was holding out, so was I.
But I knew the switch made sense for my job (and for the world I live in). I knew it would make my life easier. And I knew I really wanted one. So, I swallowed my pride and went for it.
Stage 2: Overwhelmedness
Until I bought my new device, I had no idea there were so many customizations to set up, hacks to learn, and apps to buy! Where do you even begin? I certainly didn’t know, so I asked my friends.
Bad idea. See, everyone has their own smartphone style, their own preferences and favorites. I ended up with way more advice than I wanted, or than I could even digest at the time.
To top things off, the constant connectedness is likely to be jarring at first. Email will seem like text messages—you’ll be tempted to answer each one within seconds of receiving it simply because you can. When you turn off your alarm in the morning, you’ll be only a few finger taps away from Facebook, Twitter, or your other time-sucking internet vices. Little red push notifications will constantly be letting you know every little thing that’s going on.
Stage 3: Awe
Once you get past your freeze phase, you’ll swing to the other end of the spectrum—using your phone for everything (even things you didn’t know you needed it for). I also call this the “there’s an app for that?!” stage.
During this stage, you get app-happy, downloading everything in the app store that looks remotely interesting. An app that uses a fake zombie apocalypse to motivate you to run? Of course you need that. One that lets you add cats to any photo? Yes, please. The free ones are especially dangerous. Soon, you’ll end up with a bunch of apps that you don’t even really know how to work—they just looked cool.
That’s not to say that all apps are useless. There are some really innovative ones out there that I think will prove really useful, even if I don’t use them that often. Some of my favorite unique finds have been Foodspotting, Billr, and Schemer.
Stage 4: Getting the Groove
Slowly but surely, you’ll figure out how to use your smartphone where it’s most useful (and keep it from constantly bothering you when its not). You’ll weed out the silly apps you don’t need. You’ll figure out to stop saying yes to push notifications when you get a new app. You’ll start knowing when pulling out your smartphone is useful—when you’re lost in a new city, looking for a good restaurant, making good use of time on the subway—and when it’s unnecessary and rude. Your smartphone will become a regular part of your life, but in the right way.
Maybe I still use my phone a little too much. But I’m working on it.
What do you think? What else can new smartphone users expect?