ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. - There is a frenzy that exists about the iPhone. People wait in lines, blogs are lit up with posts about the new-fangled features and the news media has an outright fascination over the release of every next generation phone.
But beyond the hype, there are actually a plethora of devices on the market without waiting lists and sometimes they come at a much more affordable price.
If you are tech savvy and spend any part of your day on social media you probably already know that a debate exists between Apple and Android loyalists. If you are aware of this debate, none of this may be news to you.
But for anyone considering upgrading their existing phone to a smartphone, or their existing smartphone to a next generation device it may be time to treat the experience like you would treat a trip to the car dealership.
"First thing we're going to need to know is what is important to your day and what is important to you. The best thing you can do to figure out which device is going to work for you, is to get it in your hand and start using it," said Mat Ace, a district manager with Verizon wireless for the North Orlando and Daytona areas.
Ace demonstrated the functions of various Android devices as well as the iPhone 5.
In case you do not know the difference, Android is an operating system meaning that it runs on devices made by various manufacturers.
One of the hottest ones on the market right now is the Samsung Galaxy S-III, which is heavily advertising it's Near Field Communication, or NFC, abilities.
NFC is a technology that allows a cell phone to securely transmit and receive information wirelessly.
Meaning users can share a contact information, websites, playlists, photos and even payment information between two NFC enabled devices.
Thanks to Master Card's paypass option, it is widely speculated that NFC will replace credit cards one day.
Unfortunately for iPhone users, NFC is not currently available on even the newest version of the device.
But Ace said this was not likely a huge selling point for consumers. Most people are looking for a reliable phone for talking, texting, email, web and of course social media.
While iPhone has made it simple to post to Facebook and Twitter on IOS 6, it's new operating system, Android phones make it simple to post to any social media application that is installed on the phone.
That means it has the ability can share instantly to Instagram, Photobucket, Pinterest or whatever the flavor of the week social media site happens to be.
Serial-texters are probably very focused on their keyboard and looking for a slide out or Qwerty keyboard as opposed to the virtual keys.
Luckily, there are several Android products on the market that still come with this function.
Ace pointed out the Motorola Droid 4, a 4G phone with all the bells and whistles of all the other smartphones that has the Qwerty keyboard in addition to the virtual one.
According to PC World, that's just one top notch phone that still comes with real keys.
Samsung, HTC, and Blackberry have highly rated products available as well.
Built into every virtual Android keyboard is a talk to text function, and the voice recognition ability is quite good.
A voice recognition option is available directly in the Google search bar and the maps as well.
Navigation is another big selling point and Apple's new mapping system has been getting slammed in recent weeks.
According to Ace, the Android phones are going to have the edge in this category because they use a tried and tested navigation platform.
"They have more experience with it since Google maps has been around long time, so they've got a little bit more time working with the mapping, so you have that benefit there," said Ace.
The cameras on smartphones have gotten quite good as well. Iphones and Android phones alike boast 8 megapixel cameras with fast shutter speeds that take photos just as good as a standalone camera.
But the best camera phone may be on a different operating system altogether.
The Nokia Lumia uses a Carl Zeiss lens, regarded by many photography enthusiasts as a premiere lens that captures pristine photos.
The Lumia, however, runs on Windows phone 8 a totally different operating system. Windows phones are available AT & T, Sprint and T-Mobile but not Verizon.
Ace said there has not been a lot of demand for this operating system.
While there isn't an Android device with a Zeiss lens, there are different variations to the camera and video functions depending on brand.
For instance, several HTC phones allow users to capture video and photos at the same time.
When it comes to speed, and how fast a phone can access the internet, Ace said that will depend on the network and to look for a carrier that has a large 4g coverage area in your market.
The best news about the abundance of smartphones, is that it is probably now easier than ever before to find one within even the smallest budgets.
4g smartphones are available for under $100 or even free with a new two-year contract.
After all this, if you must absolutely have an iPhone there is good news for you. The older iPhones, 4 and 4s, are now available for free and discounted pricing on all the carriers.
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