When you operate a small business as a sole proprietor, your smartphone is almost like a second office. It’s probably your primary connection to clients and a productivity tool for doing business on the go with apps like QuickBooks Online Mobile. With apps like QuickBooks, Evernote, and Hootsuite, you can handle invoicing and expense tracking, create documents, and manage social media postings all from your smartphone. Your choice of a smartphone is, then, an important business decision, and there are a number of factors to consider.
The operating system is the software that makes the advanced functionality of smartphones (beyond just making phone calls) possible. The operating system also serves as a platform that lets developers create smartphone apps. Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating system are increasingly similar in terms of overall performance. Virtually all basic mobile office applications are available in both iOS and Android versions. App developers still favor iOS, and new mobile applications or updates usually become available to iPhone users first. The iPhone version of apps is sometimes slightly more refined than Android versions, but discrepancies are less as time passes. The iOS includes an iPod app for playing music. If you use an Apple computer, then it’s easy to link your iPhone linked to your computer. Unlike the iOS, the Android operating system, developed by Google, is an open-source system, which means that it’s completely open for app development by third parties. Because of this, Android has quickly overtaken iOS in terms of the total number of apps available, although the apps may not all be of the same quality as iOS apps available in the Apple Store, the counterpart to the Android Market. The Windows 10 Mobile operating system, the newest entry, is much less widely used than either the iOS or Android system and has only about one-fourth as many available apps as either of the other systems. The Windows Mobile system uses Live Tiles, producing a screen much like a Windows-based PC or tablet. If you’re a PC user, you may feel a bit more comfortable with operating a Windows phone. Overall, most users consider the Windows Mobile operating system somewhat slower and less smooth operationally than the iOS or Android systems. One unique feature of the Windows system is the ability to dock your phone on a desktop computer and put the phone’s screen up on a computer monitor and operate it with a mouse and keyboard, effectively functioning as a computer-phone.
Picking a Phone
For a casual smartphone user, picking a phone is usually just a matter of personal taste. As a business user there are important practical and technical factors for you to consider. If you primarily just need to handle ordinary business tasks such as invoicing or checking email, and your business doesn’t require you to frequently be running more than one app at a time, then you probably don’t need to spend the extra money for a phone with a high-speed processor. If multi-tasking and extremely fast operation are key to conducting your daily business, then you may opt for a high-end smartphone with a top speed processor, such as the iPhone 6S. If you regularly need to access large files, look at phones with 32 GB of storage rather than the more standard 16 GB. Battery life and charging speed are two other factors that may be important for you. You can check reviews online to get the lowdown on a phone’s actual performance. If you use your phone throughout the day, find a model that offers at least eight hours of battery life. To keep your business secure, consider a smartphone with a fingerprint reader and hardware-based encryption. Before picking a smartphone, think about how you actually use your phone day-to-day in your business, and then make a choice that will best fit your needs without overspending on features you don’t really need.