• Tara Grey

Is It Time To Update Your Cell Phone?

This is my article originally published in the Union County NJ Senior News/Third Wave News Sept/Oct 2021 Edition.

Once upon a time a cell phone was just used to call people. For those who are still using a flip phone or a Nokia, these phones continue to serve that purpose. However, the supporting technology for these old phones will soon be eliminated.


The world is at your fingertips with a smartphone in hand. Most of the tasks you might do on a computer can also be done on a smartphone. Some examples include:

  • Searching the Internet

  • Sending and receiving email

  • Facebook and other social networking

  • Online shopping (Tickets, Amazon, Books, Groceries)

  • Online Banking

  • Looking at photos and videos

  • Listening to music

  • Storing and saving files (using the “cloud”)

Since the smartphone is small and portable, you can have it with you wherever you go, making it a perfect way to be always connected to the people and information you need.


Of course, it’s a phone! But the kids and grandkids don’t always call, they text. With a flip-phone, the idea of texting is cringeworthy. Smartphones make it more intuitive, with a nice on-screen keyboard. Text messages can be short – no need to type a book. And you can even use the voice recognition feature to speak your words. No typing necessary!


Even better than texting, being able to see your loved ones while miles apart has become incredibly soothing as witnessed during this past year of the pandemic. FaceTime and Google Duo have given us the ability to have conversations while seeing family and friends almost as if we are right there with them. These features, made possible with the internal camera and microphone, have also given us the ability to utilize telemedicine, visiting with physicians and other medical professionals from afar.


There are two ways to access information on the Internet with a smartphone:

  • WiFi

  • Mobile Data plan

You are required to sign up for a data plan with your mobile phone carrier (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile) at the time you purchase a smartphone. This is a monthly fee that gives you Internet access when you are NOT connected to WiFi. This uses cellular data and deducts from the amount of data you have in your plan. When you are home, you want to make sure that your smartphone is connected to the WiFi in your home so that you are not using your data plan. Other places where you may want to connect to WiFi could be another family member’s or friend’s home, a hotel where you’re staying, or the local coffee shop. However, it is further important to make sure these WiFi networks have strong security measures in place.


There are many ways to save on the cost of a smartphone purchase. The first decision to make would be which phone is best for you. There are MANY options but let’s look at three:

  • iPhone

  • Android

  • Jitterbug Smart

Each of these devices has different price points and its advantages. Each device has several “generations” or models at this time, with different features and specifications and you don’t have to buy the most recent which would be the most expensive. When a new model is released, the older models’ price is reduced.


If you already have an older smartphone and are looking to upgrade, you may be able to trade in your current one for a shiny new version! Depending on the age and condition of your older device, you may receive a nice amount of cash towards your new phone.


In addition, you don’t have to pay for your new phone all at once. Most cell phone carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile) have the option of breaking up the total cost of the phone into smaller payments that are included in your monthly bill. In this case, you don’t actually own the phone out-right, but you’re working towards it. This can definitely be helpful rather than dropping several hundred to a thousand dollars all at once!


Depending on the type of cell phone you currently own and the generation of that particular phone, an upgrade may be in place. Cell phone carriers that provide your mobile data plan which give you access to the Internet when you are not connected to WiFi will be changing their data speeds. Currently, you may see terms such as:

  • 3G

  • 4G

  • LTE

  • 5G

The 3G data speed will be phased out in early 2022 and phones that only have this capability will not be able to access the Internet any longer because they won’t be capable of connecting to the higher speeds. Eventually, the lower speeds will start phasing out, and the older devices will need to be replaced as well.


Cell phones have come a long way and depending on what you are using, now may be the right time to look at upgrading yours.


Need help deciding on the right new phone for you? Need help setting it up and learning how to use it? Contact me. Schedule a smart phone session today! Call or text me at: 862-368-4893 or Email me here.


0 comments

Recent Posts

See All